Triathlete Matt Randall on track for double
Former Olympic track cyclist Matt Randall has achieved the first leg of a gruelling sporting double.
Randall finished fifth in his 35-to-39-year age group at Ironman Melbourne on Sunday to qualify for the world championships in Hawaii in October for the first time.
He'll now try to qualify for off-road triathlon's world championship, or Xterra, which is also held in Hawaii just two weeks later.
It's a rare double which is considered one of the toughest challenges in triathlon.
To achieve it, Randall will have to finish in the top three of his age group at Xterra Rotorua, just three weeks after competing in Melbourne.
"I'm confident I can go and do the job, but I'm not resting on my laurels. Last year I did the double just to see how I'd go, with no intentions of qualifying for either and I had a good race at Xterra, but felt flat, I definitely felt Ironman in my legs, as opposed to previous years where I just went to Xterra to smash Rotorua," Randall said.
"I'm just worrying about doing one race at a time, just get Kona sorted, which I've done, and then I'll go to Xterra and if it happens, it happens. I'm going to Kona no matter what happens. If it's not the double this year then I'll be chasing that another year."
Randall achieved a personal best of 8hr 58min 53sec in Melbourne across the 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2 run.
The Melbourne event was raced in cool, overcast conditions, with a flat swim and a two-lap out and back ride on smooth motorway tarmac.
The run was a point to point course from St Kilda along the beach to the finish.
"My goal was to qualify for Kona and go sub-nine [hours]. It's the Asia-Pacific champs and pretty full on - sub-nine and you'd win your age group in any Ironman in the world, but you only get fifth there, there were some hitters there."
Randall will now compete in the New Zealand off-road championships, a demanding two-hour race which includes a 1km openwater swim, 26km mountainbike ride and 11km trail run at Rotorua on April 12.
He's previously finished second there in 2012, and placed 10th in two previous visits to the off-road world championships, in 2011 and 2012.
"Most people, after they finish Ironman don't want to do anything for a month and I can understand that. The first time I went to Xterra, I saw the double and I saw the guys that were doing it. I don't know why I get trapped into doing super-hard things, but it seemed like a cool thing to do and it's an opportunity to be the best in the world at something."
- The Southland Times