Pain-free Whyte up for challenge

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2012
Jamie Whyte
FAIRFAX NZ
CHALLLENGE NAILED: Southlander Jamie Whyte celebrates winning Challenge Wanaka in January.

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Southland triathlete Jamie Whyte is excited about returning to Challenge Wanaka next month after finally overcoming a knee injury that has affected much of his year.

Whyte has struggled to recover from a tear in his patella where it joined the quadricep muscle, something he picked up while trying to defend his title at Challenge Wanaka in January, when he finished runner-up to Australian Aaron Farlow.

Backing up just a few weeks later at Ironman New Zealand, the injury never really had a chance to heal and Whyte paid the price.

After a disappointing performance at Challenge Roth in Germany, he cut short his northern hemisphere season, missing Ironman Canada to begin rehabilitation in New Zealand.

That included the use of a slightly controversial procedure called a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection into the patella, where nutrients from the blood are injected directly into the affected area.

"It seemed to do the job. It kept me pretty quiet for a month or so afterwards because it's pretty sore but once that inflammation died down I was able to get back into running straight away," Whyte said. "Even then it took a while for the pain to completely disappear."

There was finally some good news this month when he raced pain-free for the first time since Wanaka, finishing third in the Taupo half-ironman.

"It wasn't the best result I've had but it was a good result considering the year I've had with injury, that's for sure," he said.

"It was really pleasing to get through it.

"It was probably two or three weeks before the race that I thought the injury had finally disappeared and I can get on with the job at 100 per cent."

Whyte's focus was now on another strong performance in the Wanaka long-distance triathlon, which takes in a 3.8km swim in Lake Wanaka, followed by a 180km bike and 42km run on January 19.

He will be based in Queenstown from December 27, as he prepares to take on a field that will include defending champion Farlow and triathlon legend Chris McCormack, who has won more ironman-distance events than any other male racer.

While Whyte has finally overcome his injury issues, his partner and fellow professional racer, Fiona Eages, hasn't been so lucky, dislocating an elbow after falling from her bike recently.

After speeding from the finish line in January to be a groomsman at a friend's wedding in Queenstown later that day, Whyte and Eagles now have a wedding of their own to plan, with the couple getting married in New Plymouth the weekend after Challenge Wanaka.

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- The Southland Times

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