Josh Hemara is a NZL Age Group Triathlete. He finished 4th at Ironmaori in Napier -New Zealand last December 2018, on what was a massive display of resilience in a race that was anything but easy. Rain, strong winds and mechanical issues left him 1'30" away from podium.
But that was not the only motivation for Josh, who among many others, came to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the only indigenous half ironman triathlon in the world and one that keeps transforming hundreds of maori lives every year.
I’ve had a decent break since coming back from World Champs. I’d put in a big 6 months worth of work leading up to that, so my body and minded needed to be normal for a little bit. I still managed to get about 3-4 week of somewhat consistent training in before IronMaori, but I still felt good.
With the swim out, I knew my race wasn’t going to go quite how I’d hoped.
Unfortunately on the day the swim was cancelled due to concerns over the cleanliness of Pandora Pond in Napier. While everyone was in the same boat, this is my best discipline in triathlon. In the past I’ve been able to make a decent break from the rest of the field which have gone on to be a huge help in me winning this event for the last two years. So with the swim out, I knew my race wasn’t going to go quite how I’d hoped.
We traded this for a 1.5k run, so there was a bit of congestion when we came into T1.
Josh's weapon for the bike segment.
I managed to get out of transition in 2nd but hit a mechanical issue with my bike early on. The night before we’d realised that I’d accidentally brought a worn skewer for my back wheel. This meant that the back wheel wouldn’t stay straight and would end up rubbing the frame once the skewer slipped.
I managed to get out of transition in 2nd but hit a mechanical issue with my bike early on.
I managed to correct this quickly but had no idea how long it would be until this happened again and I’d already lost about 8-9 positions by the time I got back up and running.
I spent the first 30k of the bike really pushing the power to catch back up to the leaders and managed to catch on to 3rd place and could see 2nd place as we came to halfway on the bike. When the three of us took the 180 degree turn to head back I had the same mechanical issue. I got back on the bike but it happened again straight away. I had to try this 3 times before the bike skewer stayed put. I lost a few spots during this and again tried to reel them in.
We battled some crazy side and head winds on the way back and my plan of catching 2nd and 3rd and hanging on was out the window and I was on my own, lonely for the final 25k of the bike.
My legs weren’t too bad when I got into T2 but I knew I had to hold back on going out too quick at the start.
I opted for trying to hold 4min pace and didn’t dip below this very much throughout the run.
While I gained on 3rd place through the run, 2nd and 1st were out of reach and I didn’t gamble enough to put myself in a position to race for a podium finish.
I’m still really happy with how the race went considering all the changes and mishaps but thankfully this isn’t a distance I race often, and it’s back to standard and sprint distance racing after this.