Emily Marfell has “lost count” of how many Marlborough Women’s Triathlons she has contested, but she will no doubt remember the 2019 version with special affection.
After several previous podium finishes the Marlborough doctor ran, cycled and swam her way to her first victory in Sunday’s event, which was sponsored by The Sisters and attended by 170 competitors.
Asked to recall how many times she has lined up for the iconic race, Emily struggled for the exact figure. “I’ve been trying for far too long … I’ve lost count, I put seven on my entry form but I’m not sure.
“I’ve never been in to win really, it’s a case of being here and showing up.
“But it was nice to string it all together today and not do anything silly.”
A slick transition from run to bike helped Emily get her nose in front early on the cycle leg.
“Everything went right [in transition] … I didn’t trip over or anything but the swim was so tough … I am a terrible swimmer and you just have no oxygen left when you jump in the pool. I had to breathe every stroke, it was just a case of survival.”
Emily finished in 51 minutes 22.4 seconds, three minutes nine seconds clear of second-placed Lexi Timpson.
The surprise package of the event was 11-year-old Neve McKenzie who led the field into transition after a stunning run leg along the banks of the Taylor River. She finished third overall in the smart time of 55.12.
“It’s a fun event, I just like it because anybody and everybody shows up … that’s what I’m most proud of, having showed up lots of times.”
The event, New Zealand’s oldest women-only triathlon, was contested for the 37th time. Unlike traditional triathlons, it was run in reverse order; starting with a run/walk, leading into a cycle and finishing with a short swim.
It comprised a 5km run, mainly along the Taylor River bank, followed by a 14km cycle leg up to the landfill on Taylor Pass Road and finished with a 100m swim at the Aquatic Centre.
Emily Marfell took out the veteran 40-49 section, Sara Stocker won the open category, Lexi Timpson claimed the schoolgirl grade while her mother Marianne Timpson won the 50+ category. The pair combined to take out the mother and daughter category.
Pelorus Preschool Hardcore (Stephanie Quilter, Amanda Smith and Michelle Grenfell) won the business teams section while Leah Drowley took out the walkers race.
For other results go to www.marlboroughwomenstri.co.nz