It's all going swimmingly for this iron lady

MURRAY HILLS
Last updated 05:00 08/01/2014
Leah Barnfield
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ
TOO FAST: New Plymouth’s Leah Barnfield left her rivals behind, winning her age-group at the Tauranga half-ironman.

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New Plymouth's Leah Barnfield is pretty quick . . . in the water, on her bike and with her running shoes on.

Last Saturday, she excelled in all three disciplines as she powered her way around the Tauranga half-ironman course to win the women's 25-29 years age-group in a personal best time.

Barnfield's time of four hours, 52 minutes and 35 seconds for the 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21.1km run bettered her previous best of 4hr 54min 24sec on the same course a year ago.

"I'm pretty happy with the time," she said this week. "I was happy with the whole day, particularly my run. The swim is definitely something I can work on."

She finished the swim in 38min and the bike ride in a touch over 2 hours.

"The swim felt okay, but when I looked at my watch, it seemed slow. The bike felt really good, I just kept ticking over," she said. "My run time of 1hr 36min didn't feel quick, but it was."

Barnfield is no stranger to long distance multisport events. She's completed four half-ironman races in Tauranga, two in Wanaka as well as the Wells New Plymouth half-ironman - once as a solo competitor and twice in a team.

She's also competed at the worlds, finishing 31st in her age-group in the half ironman race in Las Vegas last year.

"That was a tough day, but I got there . . . five hours, 37 minutes. It was a tough course and a lot hotter."

There's little time for Barnfield to rest up - she plans to race in the Auckland 70.3 half-ironman on January 19. It's all part of her buildup to her first full ironman race - Ironman New Zealand at Taupo on Saturday, March 1.

"That's going to be a bit of a challenge. But I enjoy the sport, I wouldn't do it if I didn't like it."

She plans to step up her volume of training after Auckland. "Longer rides and longer runs. I'll do one long ride of six hours and one long run of three hours once a week. I train twice a day, five days a week. The other two days are light, maybe just a swim."

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