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Cheryl's race report - Weihai, China

19 Sep 2014

In October 2014 Cheryl Hirschberg travelled to Weihai China for the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Champs. This is her race report:

The whole event for me was somewhat of a surreal experience. I had never imagined competing in such an event when I first began enjoying events with the triathlon club some eight years ago, and never had I considered representing my country in a sporting event. It just goes to show anyone at any age if they enjoy the sport of triathlon, and have the determination to train hard can achieve.

Arriving in China was an experience in itself, and where the event was held was actually a lot more westernized than myself or the team had anticipated. The temperature was what we all had to adapt to over the week leading up as we had all trained through the New Zealand winter so it was a real change to be running in up to 30 degrees.

The four km swim in the Yellow Sea was made up of two, two km loops where we exited to the beach and then reentered. The bay was quite sheltered, but tidal and the course was well marked with smaller buoys in between the big ones. Easier to sight when we breathed to the right. I had a great swim got onto some feet and the first lap flew by. Exited the first lap with quite a few men that had started 10 minutes before us so knew I was on track. We only knew 30 minutes before that it was a wetsuit swim as the water temperature was close to the 24 degree cut off for non wetsuit on that day. I was relieved to be in my wetsuit as this was only my third ever swim event in the sea.

Came out of the swim and had a long run to transition where I took my time to get a gel into me, and more sunblock on my shoulders. Then onto the bike straight up a long steepish hill, hardly any flat to get clipped into your pedals. The bike course was 120kms three 40 km loops. Lots of hills which really suited me, and the training I had done at home in the Pohangina valley. The streets were lined with school children all out chanting for us to ride hard. I won’t forget all the sideline support we had. Even an American supporter ran beside us up the last part of the largest hill encouraging us all the way. We had a tunnel to ride through which was about 400 metres long, and gave a welcome respite from the heat for a moment.

Then the run which consisted of four 20 km laps. The first lap was the hardest coming off the bike, and then I managed to gather my form to get my running technique together, and got through the next two laps.I had to dig deep for the last run home in the oppressive heat. Having only water offered on the course, and no electrolytes was a difficult change for all our athletes, but I managed to carry everything I needed, and crossed the finish line carrying the New Zealand flag.

At that time I didn’t know where I had placed, but knew I had been passed in the run by the Australian athlete in my age group. When they called my name to go to the podium for the medal ceremony in my age group, as I had placed third it was quite an emotional moment. All the training and support from my family, and coach Aimée Perret had been worth it. A bronze medal for NZ, a very proud moment.


27 Aug 2014

Kelly Carter travelled to Edmondon, Canada in August 2014 to attend the Aquathlon World Champs and ITU World Triathlon Grand Final. This is her race report:

The beginning of my journey to worlds began on March 14 2014 where I qualified at the Wellington Triathlon to represent NZ Age Group 30-34 at the ITU World Grand Final in Edmonton Canada 26 Aug – 01 Sep 2014.  Meeting the qualification criteria was very unexpected and all of a sudden my dream of representing my country became very real!

Under the guidance of my coach Murray Healey I trained through winter focusing on mainly swim and run speed as I had lost a bit of this training for NZ Ironman the year before.  I decided to enter into the Aquathlon event (750m Swim/4.6km Run) to break up the trip, get familiar with the course and get rid of some nerves.  I had never done an Aquathlon or two big races this close together so it was a bit of gamble on how my recovery between races would go. 

Aquathlon 27th Aug

The Aquathlon was on the hottest day of the week with my race starting at 1pm.  The swim was in a lined chlorinated lake.  I found it easy to sight and exited just behind the front group.  The long 500m transition went smooth for me and I was feeling good going into the run.  The run was on a fast sealed surface around a loop track.  As there were many other age groupers on the course I had no idea where I was placing.  It wasn’t until I was about to head back to my motel that I heard my name called out for the medal ceremony.  When I checked the results it was only then that I realised id won GOLD!

Standard Distance Triathlon 1st Sep

On a very cold early morning I was feeling good for the standard race, I managed to get on a few feet in the swim however after exiting found it very difficult to warm up. Early on the bike the legs struggled even though the bike course was enjoyable, hilly and fast.  The run was predominantly on a trail, I found it challenging to hold a good fast pace but I finished 29th and 3rd Kiwi home in my age group so was happy with the end result, a personal best for me at this distance. 

As a first timer things seemed a little overwhelming after qualifying – coming up with the money, fitting training around work and sorting out race admin but any stress was alleviated quickly by communication from Tri NZ and House of Travel Events. 

Representing NZ in Triathlon through age group racing is very achievable; it is an experience I would recommend to all.  It is a great way to travel the world and form amazing friendships with like minded athletes.


Photo credits: Podium photo from

Kelly on the stand photo thanks to Barrie Eccles via the club Facebook page (



Jaimee's report Edmonton 2014 world triathlon events

26 Aug 2014

Jaimee Leader travelled to Edmondon, Canada in August 2014 to attend the Aquathlon World Champs and ITU World Triathlon Grand Final. This is her race report:

In August I travelled to the World Triathlon & Aquathlon Championships in Edmonton, Canada.  It was an honour to again represent NZ at a World Championships event and return home with the 2014 World Junior Aquathlon Title.

It was a great experience to be competing at this World level in the Elite 19&U races, against athletes several years older than myself. My racing schedule consisted of 3 races over 6 days which was always going to be a big workload but with two more years in this age group my focus was to gain as much race experience as I could.

One of my main goals was to perform well in the Aquathlon which was my first race (750m swim/5km run). It was a very hot humid day and I stood on the start line ready to give it all I had. There was such great support over there from many NZ athletes and supporters on the sidelines and this really helped me over the last few kilometres of the run, it was an amazing feeling to cross the finish line and take out the World Junior Aquathlon title over some of the predicted podium athletes from Brazil. The experience of standing on top of the podium receiving my gold medal and listening to the NZ National Anthem is one i will remember forever. Two days later, still feeling very fatigued from the Aquathlon but ready to race again i followed this win up with another solid race in the Elite 19&U Triathlon where i placed 9th in my 17years age group and 29th overall.  My last race of the World Champs was a Triathlon super sprint team event, where I was called up into a U23 NZ team who placed 12th in a fast paced race against some of the World best U23 triathletes.  I owe much thanks to family for all their support, to my wonderful Coach Samantha Warriner (Sweat7 Coaching) and my sponsors who I am so grateful to have continually encouraging me. It was a hugely rewarding experience to travel with the team to Canada and be racing at this Elite World level, representing NZ and Manawatu and bringing home a Junior World Champs title. 

Jake's report - Edmonton 2014 world triathlon events

25 Aug 2014

Jake Jackson-Grammer travelled to Edmondon, Canada in August 2014 to attend the Aquathlon World Champs and ITU World Triathlon Grand Final. This is his race report:

The Edmonton triathlon course would have to be one of my favourite courses that I have raced, the swim organisation of the race was great. The race venue was set in Hawrelak Park, which is very beautiful and close to the Saskatchewan river. The swim was in a manmade lake that was chlorinated for the race

August 25th

Another hot and sunny day in Edmonton meant it was great conditions for training. I managed to get my bike put together and ready to race. I went down to the race venue to have a look at the course and collect my race pack, the aim for the rest of the day was to go through my swim, bike and run race distances at a decent pace. This went well as I went down to the nearby pool and swam a 750m in 10:50, followed by a few smaller sets and drills. Later in the day I took the bike out for 4 .5km laps of the block, I rolled around the course in around 28 minutes or 43km/h followed by a comfortable 5k run in just under 18 minutes. I was happy with how the day went as my body and breathing were starting to feel good. The aim for tomorrow will be to try the wetsuit out and swim/run a lap of the triathlon course.

Aquathlon World Champs, 16-19yr Age Grade race, 27th August 2014

Today I competed in the aquathlon world champs (750m swim/4.6km run), I finished 9th in the 16-19 age group, my swim was not bad, it proved a good warm up for the race tomorrow as it is the same course as the triathlon swim course. My swim time was 10:40, after this it was a long 500m run into transition and onto the run, I really struggled with my breathing throughout the run, not gaining any places. I think it was due to not being able to practice running straight off a hard swim. Anyway I was pleased with the swim, and with the added bike, which is my strength, on Friday the run should be a more respectable time. I have really enjoyed my time in Edmonton and around the race venue, the lake is nice and at most points you are able to stand up in it, the bike is almost all hills so will be tough whilst the run is flat and on gravel trails alongside the river.  A highlight from today would be riding with the Brownlee brothers whilst doing a few easy laps of the park.

Triathlon, 16-19yrs Age Grade race, 29th August 2014.

Conditions were perfect for racing, low wind, no rain and 15 degrees. The race started with a field of about 90 athletes which meant I had to fight to get to the first buoy, this didn’t go so well as I got kicked a couple of times and pushed around while swimming around the buoys. The swim was okay but not great and I exited the water in 10:45 minutes, after a long 500m run into transition where I passed quite a few athletes, I then exited transition and headed out on the bike. The bike is my strength and by the end of the first lap I had already gained 1 minute on the leaders, the bike was tough as it was mainly hills, however I pushed hard and managed to come off the bike in the top 10 with the second fastest split of around 42 km/hr. I then had a decent transition and set off on the run which was mainly smooth gravel tracks alongside the river, this made for slow times but I did really enjoy the run. I worked my way into 4th only to be passed at the end for 5th place and a top 10 run split. This was pleasing as I had had very little run mileage leading into the race due to an injured archilles.

The entire event was very well organised and a great venue which I really enjoyed. Thank you to my sponsors Biofarm Organic Yoghurt, Scott Avanti Outlet Store and Vitasport Isotonic Sports Drink. Thank you to Manawatu Triathlon Club for helping me get to the World Champs, I really appreciate your support.

Jaimee Leader's race report - National Secondary Schools Champs 2014

15 Apr 2014

Jaimee Leader was one of our club members who attended the National Secondary Schools Triathlon Champs in Gisborne 26th-29th March 2014. Here is her report from the events she participated in.

On March 26th I headed up to Gisborne to compete in the NZ Secondary Schools Triathlon Nationals. I was entered into both the U19 Triathlon and U19 Aquathlon representing PNGHS. Gisborne was a great place to hold the 2014 Tri nationals as differentiating from the lake to the sea was a good challenge for many of the triathletes. Leading into the race I was looking forward to the swim being in the sea and the test I would face if the sea was rough, I have enjoyed this type of course at previous races in the Contact Tri series. My first race, the individual Triathlon went really well. I had a strong swim in the rough sea and surf conditions, trying to sight the buoys was certainly a challenge but I stuck with it, did not give up and worked with the waves. I came out of the swim with a huge lead and continued to extend that on the bike which was on a flat course out and back. It was a matter of time trialling each discipline and playing it smart for the rest of the race.

It was great to have my coach Sam Warriner giving me advice from the sidelines. I really enjoyed the surf and both cycle and run courses, as they were flat which allowed me to keep a fast pace throughout the race. Finishing with a strong run I was so pleased to take the title by nearly 11 mins from the next competitor. Day two was the Aquathlon. This is a new event to the National Schools calendar and it was great to be able to race in this the next day. With rough seas again, the swim was changed to a 2-lap course of approx. 300m each so there was a lot more running in and out of the surf involved. Adapting to this was no problem, I always try to learn to control the controllable’s and find a solution for every situation. I came out in the lead from the swim and headed out onto the run feeling strong and only a little fatigued from the day before which I was happy about. I led from start to finish and was so pleased to take out another win and claim both of the NZ secondary school U19 Womens titles in Triathlon and Aquathlon.

Samuel Phillip's report on the National Secondary Schools Champs 2014

14 Apr 2014

Samuel Phillips was one of our club members who attended the National Secondary Schools Triathlon Champs in Gisborne 26th-29th March 2014. Here is his report from all the events he participated in.

National Schools Triathlon Champs 2014 in Gisborne.
On Wednesday 26th Triathlon Champs. It was my first trip to Gisborne and I am pleased I took those sea leg tablets. I stayed in a house with other Palmy triathletes and their parents. Wednesday night was a big pasta dinner and an early night ready for race day. It was an early start that morning to make sure I had time for breakfast to settle, warm up and race at 8am in the individual youth triathlon. Dad and I arrived down at the beach, I couldn’t believe what I saw…huge swells, it looked scary and rough. I am very new at open water swimming and this wasn’t making me feel very confident. Mum 
would have hated this.. just as well she was back at home, Race time and it is on….the current is really strong, its cold and all I can think of is the huge waves crashing in. Phew I am out of the water, I felt proud that I had at least completed the swim even though I was now near the back of the pack. My new bike felt good to ride, transition was a little slow because I was shaking and the run felt hard after having swallowed a little too much sea water. My placing was a little disappointing but I felt proud and so was my Dad that I had come a long way towards overcoming my open water swimming fear. The rest of the day was spent supporting the big turnout of Palmerston North athletes. Some great results were achieved.
That night was back for more Pasta and another early night in preparation of the Aquathon the same time the next day. The morning brought pretty much the same sea conditions. Big breakers were not my friend and I felt fearful to get back in the water. Dad and Andy were really encouraging and forceful, ”you have to harden up” was what was said. Again not a great race position but finished mid pack and another experience at sea swimming, I realised it doesn’t just get easier after one swim. That afternoon was spent relaxing, playing heaps of tennis and hanging with the Palmy crowd.
Saturday morning came and after packing the car I had the Open Water Swim to look forward to….joke. A few competitors had already decided not to compete after the last couple of day’s sea conditions. I felt that I needed to do it and it didn’t matter where I finished as long as I completed it. The whole experience was definitely about growing and learning as a triathlete. I loved the atmosphere and as always the people we are around are so encouraging.
I would like to say a huge thank you to the Manawatu Tri Club committe, to Dave and Andy for the training, to Andy and Lenka for helping me and my parents with everything they can, Kylie Mulcahy and Nikki Pritchard for their support and also my Mum and Dad who make this all possible for me.
Samuel Phillips

Jake's report from Auckland camp for the TriNZ Youth Squad

07 Apr 2014

In December 2013 Jake Jackson-Grammer attended a camp in Auckland for the TriNZ Youth Squad at the Millennium Institute. Here is his report from the camp:

The focus of the camp was mainly on running and swimming, tests included 25m/100m swim time trials, a 600m run time trial and a 60 second static cycle to determine average wattage per kg. In between doing these tests the athletes were greeted by athletes such as Hamish Carter and Adrien Blincoe, this was exciting and useful to be able to talk to professional athletes and what their advice to younger athletes was.

To finish the camp all athletes participated in an aquathlon (200m swim/1500m run).This was hard as the previous two days had been challenging. Overall the camp was beneficial to me, I received advice from world level athletes and learnt more about strength and conditioning as well as nutrition.

Jake Jackson-Grammer

NZ secondary schools triathlon champs Gisborne 2014

29 Mar 2014

Well done to all club members who competed in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Triathlon Champs in Gisborne 27-29th March 2014. Here are some results for club members (apologies if anyone's results have been missed):

Under 14 Female Triathlon
Place Name Division
5 Dana Purdy Individual


Under 14 Male Triathlon
Place Name Division
3 Adam Martin Individual


Under 16 Male Triathlon
Place Name Division
2 David Martin Individual


Under 19 Female Triathlon
Place Name Division
1 Jaimee Leader Individual


Under 12 Female Aquathlon
Place Name Team
17 Jessica Ogden Palmerston North Intermediate
18 Zoe Croton Palmerston North Intermediate
  Emma Leader Palmerston North Intermediate


Under 13 Male Aquathlon
Place Name Team
17 Samuel Phillips Palmerston North Intermediate


Under 14 Female Aquathlon
Place Name Team
3 Dana Purdy Freyberg High School


Under 14 Male Aquathlon
Place Name Team
6 Adam Martin Palmerston North Boys High School
16 Dineth Rajapakse Palmerston North Boys High School


Under 16 Female Aquathlon
Place Name Team
20 Gorgi van Lienen Palmerston North Girls' High School
23 Abby Leader Palmerston North Girls' High School


Under 16 Male Aquathlon
Place Name Team
3 David Martin Palmerston North Boys High School


Under 19 Female Aquathlon
Place Name Team
1 Jaimee Leader Palmerston North Girls' High School


Under 19 Male Aquathlon
Place Name Team
14 Ioan Fuller Homeschool


Under 13 Male Open Water Swim
Place Name
15 Samuel Phillips


Under 14 Female Open Water Swim
Place Name
3 Dana Purdy


Under 14 Male Open Water Swim
Place Name
14 Adam Martin


Under 16 Male Open Water Swim
Place Name
3 David Martin


Full results can be found here:

.kiwi triathlon Wellington 2014

08 Mar 2014

Report from Wellington .kiwi Triathlon – 8th March 2014

Around twenty two local club members attended Wellington last Saturday to compete in the .kiwi tri event. Along with about 460 other athletes. Events ranged from 1:2:1 to full Olympic distance triathlon. The U19 National Sprint Event in which we had four young people entered in was also held. With Jaimee Leader getting on the podium (3rd), and Liz Stannard (4th) females were well represented. David Martin was close to the front for both swim and cycle legs but faded slightly in the run getting a very commendable 9th with Ioan Fuller 16th.

This was the first ever inter-club event as well – they will be working on changing the points system but this is their first attempt. Clubs got points for the numbers entered and peoples placing’s in the age groups. Obviously the larger clubs had an advantage with this however we still managed a commendable 3rd place. Wellington was first; Auckland second. I am yet to see how the points were calculated.

The weather was predictably not calm. Water was choppy making swimming the long course tricky – especially when we had to swim about 4-500 metres to the start pontoon – and then some (like me) had trouble sighting the marker buoys in the choppy water. However not raining throughout and the day warmed up after the 7.30 am start. The cycle around the bays was attractive (if you had time to look) but also gusty with a nice tail wind one way and grinding head wind the other. You certainly had to watch coming around the headlands when the wind was a bit gusty. A huge number of marshalls are needed for the cycle course so Wellington is to be commended for their organization where everything seemed to run very smoothly.

The 3:9:3 event saw Manawatu in dominant form with Adam and Andy Martin 1st and 2nd in this event with Georgi Van Lienen and Dana Purdy 1st and 3rd and Sam Phillips 2nd U13 Male. In the Olympic distance we had a number of top 3 age grade placings (see results sheet) with AJ Cornwall being our top male finisher in 32nd place and our top female finisher being Kelly Carter in 17th.

Well done to everyone who competed and the many family and friends who provided moral and verbal support throughout the event. Next large national event is the Auckland Barfoot and Thompson International (ITU) event on 5-6th April. Let me know if you are competing so we can acknowledge and track your success.

Barrie Eccles (reporter)


Here's the full results for the Manawatu Triathlon Club competitors at the tri:


Peter Scott 7th Male all ages 13:14

3:9:3 Youth

Gorgi van Lienen 1st Female 39:43
Dana Purdy 3rd Female 41:52
Sam Phillips 6th Male 41:40 2nd
Luke Scott 11th Male 46:52
Dineth Rajapakse DNF

3:9:3 Individual

Nina Booth 18th Female all ages 56:16
Adam Martin 1st Male all ages 37:26
Andy Martin 2nd Male all ages 38:28
Kevren Ford 16th Male all ages 49:51

Trophy Individuals

Cheryl Hirschberg 2nd (F50-54) 44th Female 2:59:32
Kylie Mulcahy 3rd (F35-39) 32nd Female 2:40:39
Kelly Carter 4th (F30-34) 17th Female 2:33:14
Gemma Fisher 9th (F30-34) 43rd Female 2:58:36
Barrie Eccles 1st (M60-64) 86th Male 2:49:46
AJ Cornwall 3rd (M40-44) 32nd Male 2:21:49
Paul Plieger 6th (M40-44) 42nd Male 2:26:25
Dave Scott 8th (M50-54) 59th Male 2:33:38

U19 Womens Sprint Distance National Champs

Jaimee Leader 3rd 1:08:26
Lizzie Stannard 4th 1:09:11

U19 Mens Sprint Distance National Champs

David Martin 9th 1:03:11
Ioan Fuller 16th 1:07:18
Jack Finlay DNF

2014 Tri Series 

Sam Phillips All Series – Future Tri (under 13) 3rd
Barrie Eccles (M60-64) 2nd

Triathlon News 19th February 2014

19 Feb 2014

This article written by Grant Spiers appeared in the Manawatu Standard on 19th February 2014:


On Sunday 16th The Club held the Manawatu Toyota & TBI Health Women’s Triathlon & Duathlon at the Lido Aquatic Centre. We were lucky in picking a perfect sunny windless day which enticed over 170 Women to enter.  Georgi Van Lienen easily took line honours and is shaping up to follow in Jaimee Leader’s footsteps.

The Club has produced a lot of top athletes over the years from Kris Gemmell, Kieran Doe, Chris Sanson, Sue McMaster and again we have some great athletes coming into form with Jaimee Leader, Elizabeth Stannard, David Martin, Georgi Van Lienan and Sam Phillips.

A lot of these athletes started off doing the summer “Crank It - I tried a Try” Triathlon which the club runs every Monday night at Freyberg High School. Last week we had over 600 kids turn up in windy cold weather and I would expect this Monday’s event to easily beat last year’s record of 700. If you want to get your children into an activity, bring them along to this event – You never know – They may turn out to be World Champions if they stick at it. Two of our top cyclists Simon Van Velthoven & Jessie Sargent started out doing small tris like this and look where they are now.

A lot of club members attend the Tuesday night Super 7 Fun Runs and most of the top 20 places are dominated by Tri Club members. Doing Tris exercises a lot of different body muscles & produces a great aerobic base which over time turns you into an faster runner, cyclist & swimmer.

Saturday morning Triathlon training has re-commenced and we meet at 8.00a.m at the Lido Aquatic Centre on Park Road. Cost is only $5.00 which gives access to the Lido pool & gym. We cater for all types so come along and learn how to swim, bike & run. Dave Scott runs the training sessions.

On the 4th March we start our Higgins Dash & Splash series at the Lido. This is a fun event where you can run or walk 2.5k or 5k followed by a 150m or 250m swim. If you only want to do the run / walk this is also fine. To enter just turn up at the Lido from 5.40pm. Cost is $5.00. Racing starts at 6.15pm.

Jaimee Leader continues to shine and was crowned the Queen of the Blue Lake 2014 having won the Blue Lake Multisport race, even beating her coach Sam Warriner. 
On the 2nd February Jaimee competed in the Oceania mixed relay team at Kinlock which included Dan Hoy, Tayler Reid, Jaimee Leader and Nicole van der Kaay. This talented team took overall line honours.  
On the 9th February Jaimee competed at the Pegasus Tri in Christchurch racing against some of NZ’s top female competitors including Nicky Samuels and managed to get 5th overall in 30.16. Only seconds separated 3rd to 5th place. 

Our next event is the Manawatu Toyota Club Triathlon Club Champs on the 9th March and this race will be used to determine who our Club Champions are for 2014. This event is open to anyone who wants to try a Tri and will be held at Linton Army Camp.

For more information on club events go to or like us on facebook.