Favoured Hammond sets sights on title hat-trick

MURRAY HILLS
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2013

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Cambridge triathlete Candice Hammond is eyeing a three-peat in the women's section of the New Plymouth half ironman tomorrow.

Winner of the inaugural event in 2011, Hammond repeated the dose 12 months ago and will start a warm favourite when the race begins at Ngamotu Beach with a 2km swim followed by a 90km bike and 21.1km run.

The Wells New Plymouth race is a perfect fit for Hammond.

"It fits in well with my training for the New Zealand ironman in Taupo on March 2," she said. "There's a three-week buffer. It's good to test the legs and body."

The 28-year-old said she raced in Challenge Wanaka on January 19.

"It's the same distance as Taupo. I had a bit of down time training wise after that, but I've kept busy . . . I work on a farm [sheep and dry stock] and my partner and I having been doing up a rental for mum and dad."

Hammond, who won last year's event in 4hr 45min 54sec, said the New Plymouth course was challenging.

"That's the beauty of it. I love doing it. The cycle is challenging, I always forget just how tough it is with the wind and hills. But it's beautiful country," she said.

"I was a bit hesitant when I heard about the tsunami warning . . . well, for about an hour anyway. It's fine, I'm looking forward to coming down."

Hammond said the run along the Coastal Walkway was special. "There's always good support and that helps. The community gets behind the race."

Hardest for Hammond to beat could be Hamilton's Erin Furness, who like Hammond, is trained by Cambridge's Keegan Williams.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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