By Kent Gray/ in Taupo
James Corbett stood out like the Tri NZ elite squad member he is while Tauranga’s Conrad Visagie and Aucklander Charlotte Brown lifted the respective men’s and women’s age group tapes at Saturday’s New Zealand Aquathlon Championships in Taupo.

But it was a man more than 30 years the senior of the trio of whippersnappers that stole the show on the opening day of the Seven Oaks Kinloch Triathlon Festival.

Brent Foster, a two-times Commonwealth Games representative in the pool turned world class triathlete and noted Ironman, made a spectacular return to aquathlon with 4th place overall in the 1km swim, 5km run open category race.

In his first competitive swim-run since claiming the 2008 Aquathlon world title in Mexico, the 56-year-old Aucklander stopped the clock in an impressive 34:12, finishing behind only elites Corbett (29:05) and Henry Bramwell-Reeks (31:03) and Tri Tauranga’s Visagie (32:56) who was first age grouper home for a comfortable win in the 20-24 category.

Bramwell-Reek’s sister and fellow GBR elite Poppaea was second in the women’s race won by Brown in 35:16. Poppaea Bramwell-Reek was 15 seconds adrift with Courtney Fitzgibbon rounding out the podium in 35:59.

Foster’s comeback was the storyline of the Tri NZ Suzuki Series race however as the 1986 Edinburgh and 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games swimmer waltzed to victory in the 55-59 age group ahead of Mark Blake who was an impressive 9th overall in 36:44. In doing so, Foster punched his ticket to August’s World Triathlon Multisport Championships in Townsville.

“Yeah, yeah keen, it should be great,” Foster told of qualifying for Townsville.

“I’ve got a few friends going, some of them are doing aquabike, and of course there is long distance tri and a lot of events but for me the swim, run is perfect.”

Those same friends proved the prompt for Foster to target Townsville.

“There’s a few buddies who give each other a bit of rib, you know, how fit you are, so you’re like, I’ve got to step up the game.”

Foster did just that on Saturday, closely following Corbett out of Lake Taupo with both credited with 11:57 splits for the 1000m swim. He was chuffed to hang onto Corbett’s feet in the water but could only marvel at the Aucklander’s foot speed on the mostly grass track run, a 17:09 split for the 5km compared to Foster’s still none-to-shabby 22:52.

“Yeah, I had to swim up to him [Corbett] but real good to come out of the water with him. He flew on the run, he looked magnificent, so I was just working on my breathing on the run, just trying to get my heartrate…just keep it going.

“A great course here in Kinloch and wonderful to be back into it.”

For Corbett, it was a useful hit-out ahead of next Friday’s Oceania Cup sprint in Wanaka. The 21-year-old isn’t done yet in Taupo though as he’ll race Sunday’s sprint triathlon. The feature races on Sunday are the 40th Erin Baker Triathlon over the standard distance and the second of the Tri NZ Suzuki Series races of the weekend, the NZ Aquabike Championships.

The aquabike is a qualifier for October’s World Triathlon Age Group Championships in Malaga, Spain.

Meanwhile, Tauranga’s Lulu Johnson and Fielding High School’s Alec Ball were crowned U19 NZ Aquathlon champions with St Kentigern College’s Neve McKenzie and Hawke’s Bay’s Jyde Low capturing the U16 titles.

Neve McKenzie.
Lulu Johnson.
Jyde Low.
Alec Ball.

Comments are closed.