Nat qualifies for iconic Ironman event

Marlborough triathlete Nat Price is heading for Hawaii.

The 31-year-old produced a superb effort at the recent Ironman New Zealand event in Taupo, ensuring qualification for the prestigious Ironman World Championships scheduled for Kona, Hawaii in October.

Nat won the female 30-34 category and was third overall among all the female age group entrants, finishing in a time of 10 hours, five minutes and 55 seconds.

The gruelling event comprised a 3.8km swim, which she completed in 1.01.44, a 180km cycle leg, covered in 5.34.13, and a 42.2km run, which she cut out in 3.22.05.

Nat said that, considering it was her first “proper” Ironman, “I did what I wanted to do and more”.

“I qualified for Kona and made top three AG, with fastest female AG run too.

“All elements can be improved on though … if I had realised how close I was to [breaking] 10 hours I may have pushed a bit earlier on the run, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

“I was 10 minutes short of the 10% I need to consider a pro license so that’s certainly something to aim towards.”

With the Taupo race being postponed from March 6 due to Covid levels, many athletes struggled to reset their training schedules.

However, Nat just “got stuck in” telling herself, “if the town of Taupo could make a miracle happen and change the date, then I would be ready”.

“The swim was warm in comparison to the Marlborough Sounds, where most of us do our open water swim training during summer.

“Ironman NZ is well known for its deep water, mass start and I wasn't looking forward to it. A lot of my visualisation pre-race was around how to deal with this and what I would do if I lost my goggles or my wetsuit got pulled open. Luckily neither of those happened and I actually swam in clear water for a lot of it.”

Helped by a tailwind on part of the cycle leg, Nat felt strong going into her favourite discipline, the run.

“I got into my stride fairly quickly on the run and as I caught up with [fellow Marlburian] Dylan [Hodson] within the first kilometre, he was so happy to see me pass by … with no idea of what place I was in, I was running to feel, enjoying the cheers of teammates and spectators alike.

“Coming into the finish chute, I heard the commentator say that I was the third place female overall and the smile [in the photo] says it all. What a day!”

Nat is looking for supporters/partners to help with going to Hawaii and asks anyone willing to help to get in touch via her Facebook page Nat Price - Triathlete.

Dylan Hodson appears to be enjoying his first Ironman. Photo supplied.

Three other Marlborough athletes made the trek to Taupo and came away with outstanding personal achievements.

Dylan Hodson, competing in his first Ironman, placed 26

th

in the 35-39 bracket, finishing in a time of 11.23.21.

“Well, that was an experience,” he said. “I’m happy to say I am now an Ironman.

“It’s such an awesome event. I had a good swim and felt pretty good on the bike. The run, as always, was my nemesis but managed to push through and hold my composure … going sub 12 was always the goal."

Running alongside the Ironman NZ was the Ironman 70.3 event, basically a ‘half Ironman’ covering a

1.9km swim, 90km bike and half marathon run

, in which Marlburians Chris McMurtrie and Paul Beckett took part.

Chris [4.51.43] managed seventh place in the M30-34 section and 45

th

overall among 517 competitors. Paul beat his personal best by 15 minutes, finishing in 5.20.34. He was 155th overall.

“I am always humbled to race here and be involved in these events,” said Paul. “Especially when half the world can’t even go for a brew with their family.”