Gina Crawford scores a hat-trick of Wanaka wins

Gina Crawford wins on home soil in arguably triathlon's most beautiful race

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CRAWFORD BACK IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

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The women’s Challenge Wanaka race was dominated wire to wire by three-time Challenge Wanaka champion Gina Crawford of Christchurch, newly returned to full-time racing after giving birth to her first child six months ago. The 30-year-old Crawford exited the water in 54:21 and was never headed, reaching the finish in 9:44:06 after holding off a hard-charging Britta Martin on the run to take her fourth Wanaka title.

"It’s just great to push yourself to the line and see how far you can go," Crawford said. "It’s great to be back, I’ve missed racing."

After a strong bike, Crawford arrived in the transition area well clear of fellow Kiwi Julia Grant and Germany’s Britta Martin, a rising triathlon pro now based in Nelson. Crawford stormed onto the run course and burnt through the first 3km in 11 minutes on the way to a determined and speedy marathon.

Behind her, Martin (winner of last year’s Challenge Wanaka half-distance race) was having a strong run and gaining ground but could overhaul her. At the finish Crawford had two and a half minutes on Martin and another 10 minutes on third place.

Read the men’s coverage here.

RESULTS
Challenge Wanaka
21 January 2012
(3.8km swim/190km bike/42.2km run)

WOMEN
1 Gina Crawford (NZL) 9:44:06
2 Britta Martin (GER) 9:47:39
3 Simone Maier (GER) 9:57:42
4 Candice Hammond (NZL) 9:58:39
5 Julia Grant (NZL) 10:01:49

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Image: Getty