Thompson basks in winning feeling

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  • One to watch: Nicholas Pilgrim had a podium finish in the Tokio Millenium Re Triathlon at Albuoy’s Point (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    One to watch: Nicholas Pilgrim had a podium finish in the Tokio Millenium Re Triathlon at Albuoy’s Point (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

  • Christopher Hands, who placed tenth overall, cools down during the run

    Christopher Hands, who placed tenth overall, cools down during the run

Matt Thompson found himself in unfamiliar territory after crossing the finish line in first place in the Tokio Millenium Re Triathlon at Albuoy’s Point.

Although Thompson has several visits to the podium this season, he had never won a local race until yesterday, breaking his duck with an overtaking manoeuvre on Alan Potts with about a mile to go in the run.

Thompson, a Canadian who has lived in Bermuda for 12 years, went on to finish ½minute ahead of Potts for an overall time of 1hr 08min 27sec.

“I’ve been on the podium the last few events but this is my only win,” Thompson said.

“This was a see-what-happens race for me. I banked off a good swim and kind of let it unfold.”

While the swim, by his own admission, is the weakest of Thompson’s three disciplines, the 47-year-old built his victory on solid foundations after making a strong start to the race.

“I’m not really known as a swimmer,” said Thompson, who had splits of 12:58 for the 750 metres swim, 34:01 for the 10 kilometres bike and 20:39 for the 5k run.

“I dualed with my training buddy Geoff Smith [who finished fifth]. We came out of the water together.”

It was Nicholas Pilgrim, 15, who led the race out of Hamilton Harbour, with a time of 10:57 in the swim — two minutes ahead of Thompson, who came third in last year’s race.

Thompson closed the gap in the bike, however, with just a few seconds separating the pair at the start of the run.

With Potts, 39, having a strong run despite being unable to hold off Thompson, Pilgrim had to settle for third with an overall time of 1:09:42.

Karen Smith was barely challenged in the women’s race, finishing in 1:10:41 to come fourth overall.

Smith admits she was still feeling aches and strains from her previous weekends competing at the Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga in Tennessee and the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam.

“As soon as I started my run it felt like the last few miles of a 10k as opposed to the first few miles of a 5k!” she said.

“I struggled a bit to get my speed up because I still had some fatigue in my legs from the past two weekends.”

Michelle Pearson, who represented Bermuda in rowing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, was the second-fastest woman, finishing ninth overall in a time of 1:16:14, while Maddie Durkin was the third woman and sixteenth overall in 1:20:00.

In the Senior Team Male event, Team Tokio’s Nick Taylor, Dave McComas and Sean Kelly were victorious in 1:08:19, while world champion Flora Duffy, Ashley Estwanik and Martina Olcheski-Bell, of Tokyo 2020, won the Team Female event in 1:06:20.

Pete Crayford, Mike Parrish and Virginie Salzard, of Marshans, were the top Senior Team Mixed event, in a time of 1:15:48.

•Tyler Smith prepared for his move to the senior ranks with a 29th-place finish in the Elite Men’s race at the Funchal ETU Sprint Triathlon European Cup on the island of Madeira, Portugal, on Saturday.

Smith, the son of Karen Smith, finished in 57 minutes flat in his final major race of the season in a field of 64 competitors. The Bermudian, who turns 19 tomorrow, was required to compete in the race to gain eligibility to represent the island at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

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Published Sep 25, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Sep 25, 2017 at 1:15 am)

Thompson basks in winning feeling

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