Tauranga athlete Hannah Wells is back on the start line of this Saturday’s Tauranga Half, looking to defend the title which kick-started an incredible year for her.
Wells was unbeatable in 2019, winning all nine events that she competed in, including three IRONMAN 70.3 events in Taupo, West Sydney and Sunshine Coast, Challenge Wanaka and the Auckland Marathon.
A stellar year made more remarkable given it was Well’s second season as a professional triathlete, and she was balancing training with a four day a week job as a medical researcher.
Wells is a post-doctoral research fellow at Massey University, in the field of biotech engineering, where she spends her time dissecting sheep arteries looking for an alternative to human grafts.
After her sporting success last year, Wells will become a full-time athlete this year.
“I am going full time this year for the first time, so am excited to see what that brings, I hope to start the year with a few good results in the half distances around Oceania, before maybe moving to the full distance for the first time, which I am really excited about.”
She says there is no secret to her 2019 success and she’s in good condition for 2020.
“There's no secret, just consistent training with no injuries, good planning and doing all the extra things right such as nutrition, prehab/rehab, strength training and looking after general wellbeing.
“I am in a build phase at the moment and things have been going well. I am feeling fit and ready to race.”
She loves starting her year with the Tauranga Half.
“It’s a home race for me so I love racing here. It is a beautiful place to race and there's plenty of support out on course, especially being a multi-lap bike and run course, and I love that.
“The Tauranga Half has been around for over 30 years now and is one of the iconic triathlon races in New Zealand, so it’s great to be part of that.”
Hannah Wells recognises that there are some strong challenges to her Tauranga Half title defence.
“I haven’t seen a start list yet, but I know Lisa Roberts and Rebecca Clarke are racing. They will both be tough competition.”
Tauranga Half 2019 winner Hannah Wells, centre, with Amelia Rose Watkinson, left, and Rebecca Clarke, right. Supplied image.
Lisa Roberts from Tucson, United States has been a multisport professional for 11 years, competing in over 70 full or half-distance triathlons in this time.
She is a six times iron distance champion and multiple record holder, making regular appearances on podiums around the world.
Rebecca Clarke was third in last year’s Tauranga Half behind Wells, and comes into Saturday’s event in good form after a third in the Western Sydney 70.3, and fourth in the Taupo 70.3 in December.
The 2020 Tauranga Half takes place on Saturday, January 11, at Pilot Bay.
It’s the headline event for the Mount Festival of Multisport.