Local triathlete Kevin Henderson took part in his 15th Ironman New Zealand, finishing the race under the 15 hour mark.
The annual event which is the world’s longest running Ironman was held last weekend in Taupo.
Henderson finished 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42km run course in 14 hours 55.18 minutes.
The 64-year-old barefoot runner said he entered the race wanting to break the 15 hour mark.
Despite the setbacks, he managed to achieve his target.
“I went into the race wanting to break the 15 hour mark and I did that, just, finishing in 14.55.18. No two races are ever the same and each year my priority is just to finish, and if you have a good day, then that’s even better,” Henderson said.
“Unfortunately injuries played a huge part in my overall race, especially the run. I had to hold back a lot so I could finish and didn’t want to run the risk of doing any further damage to my ankle and shoulder.
“Always good to finish every race you do, especially to reach the milestones and join another legendary group. In this case the group that have done 15 races.
Henderson’s training programme stayed the same but altered depending on road conditions, weather and other events.
He said he was pleased with how his body felt and “knowing without my pre-race niggles, my time would have been much better”.
Ironman New Zealand is special to Henderson, who first competed in this event in 1989.
“It’s a special family of people you are competing with who share a love of triathlon and this is the only one I can do, which makes up for the ones I can’t. I did Ironman NZ when it used to be in Auckland and now that the event has moved to Taupo it is a real bonus,” he said.
“Every year it is great to catch up with old friends as well as the fantastic volunteers who really add to the event and then of course lots of activities to do after the race.”
Now that Henderson has 15 Iron New Zealand races under his belt, he is hoping to finally get his son Thomas to compete alongside him in next year’s event.
Thomas, the former national rep, had to postpone competing this year due to the impending arrival of his second child.