Siddall out to end run of four seconds

Laura Siddall
Laura Siddall
A mix of former champions and new faces will grace the Challenge Wanaka pro field tomorrow in what is expected to be mild conditions.

Challenge Wanaka stalwarts Braden Currie, Dylan McNeice and Laura Siddall return once again, the last hoping to break her streak of four consecutive second-place finishes at the event.

But she was feeling confident at yesterday's press conference.

"I love this place so much but it has been a bit of a bogey race.

"Whatever race you step up to you want to go for that win and that's certainly what I'll be doing.

"I'm pretty excited to hear that gun go on Saturday."

McNeice, who finished fourth last year, said he was just getting back to full speed after some time off over Christmas and New Year.

The three-time champion believed he would need to be quick out of the gates in order to cross the line first ahead of Currie.

"Braden ran a 1hr 13min half-marathon last year which was absolutely ridiculous.

"If I want to beat Braden I have to out-swim and out-bike him by about four or five minutes."

Currie himself planned on going out all guns blazing.

"I think it'll be fast from the get go. We've all got different strengths, uber-bikers, uber-swimmers, so it'll be a bit of a mixed bag."

While the trio are odds-on favourites to take the glory, they may face some stiff competition from American newcomers Meredith Kessler and Andrew Starykowicz.

Kessler, a five-time champion of Ironman New Zealand, arrived in good spirits before tomorrow's race.

Sidelined for much of 2017 while pregnant, Kessler did not waste any time getting back into racing once her son was born, and began racing just four months after his birth.

Now, she felt like was back into her stride.

"I feel like I'm really in parenthood and I've gone through the highs and lows of getting back into racing.

"I'm like a caged animal, I guess, so I'm looking forward to going out on this course and going as fast as I can."

Starykowicz is one to watch on the bike, as he is the world record-holder for the fastest ironman bike split of 3hr 54min set last April.

But with "legs bigger than his [Currie's] torso" he said if he was going to win, it would have to be on the bike.

This year's event is the second the pros have raced a half ironman - 1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run - while tomorrow's event is the first to not feature a full ironman race at all.


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