Nelson triathlete Mandy Stephens had three goals going into Sunday's ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships in the Spanish town of Vitoria-Gasteiz - to finish in under nine hours, to be in the top half of the 40-44 age-group field and to be the first New Zealander to finish in that age group.
She achieved all three with an eighth placing from a field of 35 in a time of 7hr 53min 10sec to finish seven minutes ahead of the second Kiwi. "I'm really thrilled with the result," she said.
The race started with a 4km swim in Lake Ullibarri-Gamboa, followed by a 120km bike ride on the plains of Alava and through small historic villages and concluded with a 30km run over four laps of a course in the heart of the medieval district of Vitoria-Gasteiz.
"I felt good in the swim, although it was a bit choppy in the middle and we all think it was a bit longer than 4km," she said.
"The bike was amazing, all through quaint villages and a few cobblestones.
"The run was hard on your legs, but good."
The elite men's race was won by Australian Chris McCormack, with Caroline Steffen, of Switzerland, the first woman to finish.
Stephens' next challenge is the Aquathlon World Championship in Auckland on October 17.
- © Fairfax NZ News