The annual event designated as the 2019 TriNZ Half Iron Championship was held on Saturday.
This was Stoddart’s 10th year of participation in the championship and Anaru’s ninth.
Cook Islands Triathlon Association president Roland Neururer said the duo competed under some tough conditions.
“There was a large field with over 600 on the road in various disciplines. It was a really tough day and both were shattered at the end of it. The weather was perfect,” Neururer said.
“Both Geoff and Taki had good swim's and bikes, but very poor runs (both 30 minutes longer than usual) on the 21.1 kilometre run due to injuries. Both were in survival mode for the entire run.
“Taki’s back injury flared up off the bike early on the run and Geoff's knee and calf packed in, so both ended up walking quite a bit and consequently our times were well below our best. The heat was incredible and made an already hard day tougher. Both were glad to finish and get into the recovery tent.”
Stoddart finished the raced in 5 hours and 35 minutes while Anaru recorded a time of 5 hours 56 minutes.
“Although tough and not our best results, it was an enjoyable atmosphere with perfect weather, a large field and many supporters along the course,” Neururer added.
The championship produced two new champions with Mike Phillips and Hannah Wells taking out the men’s and women’s elite races.
The Tauranga Half started with humble beginnings in 1990.
Inaugural race director Bruce Trask in a statement leading up to the 2019 event said – “we thought if we got 100 people in total, we would be doing okay.” When the gun went off at 7am on January 2, 1990, more than 230 individuals and 80 team swimmers plunged into the tide and headed into a maze of boats clustered in the mist.
According to statement from the organisers, the Tauranga Half has developed into an iconic event in the triathlon and Bay of Plenty community, with crowds lining the café filled streets of Mt Maunganui to cheer on the athletes.
The roll call of winners from the Tauranga’s Half 30 year history reads like a “who’s who” of the sport in New Zealand with past champions including Cameron Brown, Braden Currie, Jo Lawn and Samantha Bradley (nee Warriner).
There have also been several international athletes’ record Tauranga Half victories including Australian’s Craig Alexander, Melissa Hauschildt and Kate Bevilaqua.
Many former winners returned for the 30th anniversary including inaugural women’s winner Karen Williams.