Triathletes ready for Taupo test

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Triathletes Mike Hanson (left) and John-Henry MacDonald prepare to head off on a final bike training session.

By Mick Jensen

The hard work and hours of training have been completed and another Taupo Ironman is set to challenge two Mid Canterbury triathletes.

Netherby butcher Mike Hanson will compete in his 6th Taupo Ironman, while fellow Ashburton resident John-Henry MacDonald will line up for his eight consecutive race.

The pair are mates, both are 47, and they have been training together for Saturday’s race and some previous races.

They crossed the finish line with the same time of 10h:47m:08s in 2019, a time that placed them 20th in their 45-49 age group category and 177th overall.

The full ironman race is a gruelling 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run.

John-Henry MacDonald said he first entered the race in 2013, but had not expected to return year after year to tackle it.

This year he was looking for a time below 11 hours, something he had achieved in his previous two starts.

His favourite discipline was the swim leg, where he usually gained a 10 to 15 minute lead over Mike Hanson, who then clawed it back over the run leg.

Mike Hanson said he was in “good nick” and relishing the gruelling challenge again.

He said the training buddies had been doing 4km swim sessions in a nearby irrigation pond a couple of times a week with other triathletes.

Run training “took them everywhere”, including along the Ashburton River trails.

Bike training had also been varied, with the last training session an 80km plus road trip out to Methven and back.

Other Mid Canterbury athletes competing in the Taupo Ironman include Simon Chapman and Nicky Giera. Locals in the Half Ironman include Roger Willis and Ronnie Campbell.