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Wells chasing threepeat of titles in Tauranga Half

Hannah Wells. Photo: Supplied.

Hannah Wells is back on the start line at this Saturday’s Tauranga Half, aiming for a threepeat of titles in the iconic multisport event.

The event has special significance for Wells as it is her home course, with friends and family set to be on the sidelines.

She says the Tauranga Half is her local race so it is always special and a privilege to be a part of.

“And with such limited racing at the moment due to COVID it means even more to be able to line up here at home with so many others. We are very lucky here.”

Since winning the 2019 Tauranga Half, Wells has been practically unbeatable. She won all nine events that she competed in 2019, and continued this good form in 2020 winning the Tauranga Half, Ironman 70.3 in Geelong, and finishing second at Challenge Wanaka to Czech Republic athlete, Radka Kahlefeldt.

After a COVID enforced break for most of 2020 due, Wells was back to her best in December, winning the Rotorua Suffer event, and smashing the course record by 21 minutes in the process.

When discussing her preparation for the Tauranga Half, Wells says she had a pretty quiet winter with no travel or racing.

“I stepped training back a bit while we were waiting to see how things would unfold around the world. We made the decision to allow the winter to be an off season and have stepped up the training over the past six weeks to prepare for our New Zealand season,” she says.

“Training has been going really well since and I have entered into the NZ race season feeling fresh and ready to go. So I am really looking forward to putting the form to the test out there.”

There are several strong challenges to Hannah Well’s quest for Tauranga Half threepeat, including one of the world’s best Ironman athletes - Teresa Adam, and last year’s runner up - Rebecca Clark, confirmed to be on the start line at Pilot Bay this Saturday.

Wells is fully aware of the strong challenges she faces.

 “Teresa and Becs are very classy athletes and I expect we will be pushing each other out there on race day. It should be a great battle to watch. It is great to have other quality female pro athletes to race here in NZ and it gives us all a great opportunity to develop as athletes without relying on international racing.”

Auckland’s Teresa Adam is one of the world’s best athletes at the full Ironman distance. She won Ironman NZ in 2020 in course record time, and is a two-time winner of the Asia Pacific Champs.

Last year’s runner-up Rebecca Clark is another strong contender for the Tauranga Half title, while the likes of Melanie Burke and Emily McNaughton should feature prominently.

Wells is looking forward to this year’s course changes with the bike course now taking place on the Toll Road, as opposed to Ocean Beach Rd from Mount Manganui to Papamoa.

“It is going to be flat and fast and I love that we get to race a new course. It is great the organisers are keeping things interesting for the competitors and giving us a new unknown. It will be great to race something new.”

The 2021 Tauranga Half takes place on Saturday, January 23 at Pilot Bay, Mt Maunganui. It is the headline event for the Fulton Hogan Mount Festival of Multisport which has events for people of all ages and abilities.

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