Multisport stars Richard Ussher and Braden Currie took overall victory in the 2013 Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge as the fifth and final day took over the city and outskirts of Hobart on Sunday.
Racing for Team discovertasmania.com, Ussher and Currie, both from New Zealand, did not cross the finish line first in the urban challenge but their impressive lead from the first four days in the wilderness proved unassailable.
“We didn’t really have our heads in the game today and we made a few silly mistakes but we’ve had a great week, and there have been some amazing places around Tasmania we’ve seen,” said Ussher.
“Racing with Braden has been fantastic; we’ve been pushing each other all week. And, now we can just relax and enjoy ourselves.”
Currie admitted that going for the win wasn’t easy and added: “it was pretty tough out there today, I was definitely feeling five days of racing.”
The morning started with a run along Mt Wellington summit and finished by the water in Hobart’s dock area.
Grabbing line honours on the final day were former Ironman champion Guy Andrews and triathlete Ben Allen who finished well ahead of the pack. And after a bout of food poisoning yesterday, Andrews was looking strong and fresh when he crossed the finish line, with a big smile on his face.
“The whole course was fantastic; I think one of the best. The west coast is amazing, starting in Launceston then finishing here in Hobart. And today, we had such a good day, couldn’t ask for better weather. I’m ready to go again”, said Andrews.
Teammate, triathlete Ben Allen, a first time competitor in adventure racing, is wrapped with the experience.
“The satisfaction of getting through all the challenges, and some were so gruelling and really difficult,” said Allen. “You think it’s not possible, but with your teammate there encouraging you all the way, all of the athletes being encouraging, it’s a huge reward and I’ll look at it as one of my highlights.”
The pair didn’t place in the overall standings due to Andrews pulling out for most of yesterday’s stage.
The two Olympian’s Courtney Atkinson and Kenny Wallace, racing for Team Red Bull were surprised by what they achieved over the five-day adventure race but found it tough to compete with experienced adventure racers.
“We finished really strong today and it goes to show with adventure racing, that you never give up. This morning, we thought we were out of the race, but then we came good. A week ago, I never would have thought we would be competing so close for a podium finish,” said Atkinson.
Wallace admitted that it was a tough week but he kept, “going and going” but “prefers kayaking to running”. He went on to say, “it’s a great event but I am wrapped it’s over!”
Enthusiast winners, Team Backcountry Adventure Addicts, David Leggo and Jarrod Mitchell, finished first for the second year running in their category.
“We put a bit of pressure on ourselves this year after last year’s results, we wanted to finish well and we got there,” said Leggo, “but I’m knackered!”
The adventure racers weren’t the only one’s competing in Hobart today. The Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge Adventure Run also took place in the capital city. The 6.5km ‘fun run’ gave the community a chance to be involved with the Challenge and help raise funds for the Mark Webber Foundation that supports both the Whitelion and Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal charities.
Results – Overall Standings
1st Richard Ussher / Braden Currie, Team discovertasmania.com – 19:59:00
2nd Alex Hunt / Mark Hinder, Pure Tasmania – 22:41:30
3rd Jarad Kohler / James Pretto, Team Swisse – 27:37:05
4th Ken Wallace / Courtney Atkinson, Team Red Bull – 28:59:51
About Day 5
Day five of the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge takes in the sight of Tassie’s capital city, Hobart. Starting at the summit of Mt Wellington lookout platform, the 5km run along the South Wellington track is spectacular but rough and steep.
From there the competitors transition into a 10km mountain bike leg, another run leg followed by another 28km mountain bike leg around the North West Bay River in lush bushland that feels like it is miles away from the capital city.
The competitors continued on their mountain bikes to Blackmans Bay for the only kayak leg of the day. The 12km distance leg, with various check points, weaved through several beaches including Kingston Beach, Taroona Beach and ending at Long Beach.
From Long Beach, competitors transitioned into the final leg run at Battery Point and straight through to the finish line at the Henry Jones Art Hotel in the heart of Hobart. Competitors covered a distance of over 71kms.