This year’s 19th HuttValleyNZ.com Crazyman was meant to be another husband and wife field day for Tineli-sponsored Richard and Elina Ussher. But when both failed to start following a late return from racing in China, the race appeared wide open.
Nelson’s Helen Chittenden has had a low profile, but followers of her running career would have noted a few good results, including a Buller Half Marathon win a few years ago.
But it was her kayak performance that sparked her race, as she raced to a two-minute advantage . But it was Chittenden who showed out first, finishing the kayak section just over two minutes ahead of recent Xterra winner Nic Leary.
Leary took control on the run. But only just. The Palmerston North mountain bike specialist was suffering the affects of a virus and declined to mount her mountain bike for the final 36km to the finish line.
This left Chittenden with an automatic lead, and the 33-year-old cruised the final mountain bike for a comfortable 18-minute win in 5hrs 33min 36secs. Nelson enjoyed a successful day in the Capital City, with Irene Minchin claiming third behind Wellington’s Megan Lowen, while father and son pairing Ben and Rob Davidson took out the corporate team section in the associated duathlon.
On a glassy Wellington Harbour 40-year-old Glenn Muirhead was first to finish the 13k kayak from Petone to Eastbourne, hitting the beach just over a minute ahead of Wellington rep runner-turned-multisporter James Coubrough, and Napier standout Rick Martin. But Muirhead faltered on the 18k run over Mt Lowry to Wainuiomata.
Coubrough wasted no time in capitalising on Muirhead’s demise. The former Wellington champion runner and recreational kayaker finished the run with a 10min lead.
But someone forgot to tell Hamilton’s Neil Parkinson. Once into the final 36k mountain bike section the 27-year-old totally dominated the race, riding nine minutes faster than Muirhead and a massive eighteen minutes faster than Coubrough to claim his first big win on the national multisport scene.
Parkinson crossed the Lower Hutt Town Hall finish line eight minutes clear of Coubrough, stopping the clock in 4hrs 32min 03secs. With a winning time just a few minutes slower than Ussher recorded the previous year, Parkinson has announced his arrival on the national scene.
In third place Glen Muirhead couldn’t quite make up what he lost on the run, finishing three further back in third place. But the 40-year took consolation in smashing the veteran men’s record, clocking 4hrs 43min 43secs to win by a massive 46min.
Full story and results here.