Hurst's win was just what the doctor ordered

21:03, Mar 02 2014
Karapoti classic
Martine Barnes takes a plunge at the start of the Elite Women's section.
Karapoti classic
Ben Mitchell, 9, became the youngest person ever to complete the Karapoti Classic.
Karapoti classic
Anton Cooper, of Christchurch, won the Elite Men's division with a new record time.
Karapoti classic
Kim Hurst of Upper Hutt makes her final crossing to win the Elite Women section.
Karapoti classic
The Weekend Warriors begin their race.
Karapoti classic
Eden Cruise, 14, was the top Wellington finisher in the Elite Men's race.
Kim Hurst of Upper Hutt (#101) leads out the Elite Women in the start of the Karapoti Classic, Upper Hutt. Hurst won the women's event in record time.
Rob Kilvington heads towards the finish in the Elite Men's section of the Karapoti Classic.
Wellington's David Hicks and his 2 year old son Jack completed the 20 km Karapoti Challenge.

Kim Hurst had the numbers 2.46 written on her handlebars.

It was the time she set herself to not only win the Karapoti Classic on Saturday but to break the course record.

At every point on the Upper Hutt course she was under race record time, and the only riders slowing up this mountainbiking machine were men.

Mark the Silverstream GP down as one to watch leading up to the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Her 2hrs 45mins 29 sec for the 50km race saw her win by 11mins 39sec and slash 2min 6sec off Jenny Smith's 2007 record.

Bubbly, modest and proud, Hurst said she was thrilled to defend her title, the trophy for which had sat all year in the waiting room of the Silverstream Medical Centre that she co-owns.

"This is a goal I set myself 365 days ago, so to pull it off is great," Hurst said. "I thought I had a 2:46 in me and I had it written on my handlebars. That was to keep me focussed.

"I knew where I had to be to make it work and I was pretty much just under all the way around."

Such was the quality of her ride, Hurst's time would have earned her 14th in the elite men's race

"A few of my [male] friends ahead set goals of trying to complete Karapoti without being caught by me."

Hurst represented Great Britain at the world junior championships in Cairns (16th) in 1996 and the European championships in Italy (9th) the same year.

Then a career as a medical officer in the Royal Air Force took precedence but in late 2009, on the advice of friends, Hurst came to New Zealand, settling in Upper Hutt.

Hurst, 34, will become a New Zealand citizen in November and at this point looks a shoo-in for Rio.

Her programme for the rest of the year is headlined by two overseas events. In July she heads to multisport week in Canada "which is like doing Karapoti each day for a week" and then the world 24-hour championships in Scotland in November.

"I finished second in both last year so I want to go one better."

Hurst spends 10-12 hours a week on the bike, maybe less than some of her rivals but only as much as someone working 40-plus hours a week in a surgery can afford.

Rotorua's Katie O'Neill chased in vain after Hurst, with Manawatu's Margaret Leyland (2:59:41) third. There was an interval back to the Wellington pair of Jill Westenra and Sasha Smith.

As expected Canterbury's Anton Cooper strolled home in the elite men's race in 2hrs 7min 57sec, six minutes clear of Feilding's Mathew Waghorn. Rising star Eden Cruise, a year 10 student at St Patrick's College Town, was pipped for third by Rotorua's Carl Jones.


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