Brita Martin wins the Orbea Auckland Half Ironman
Story by: www.spotzhub.com - Photo by: Marc Palmano - Shuttersport
With a second place finish at Challenge Wanaka in January, Britta Martin is looking in great shape so far this year, with her most recent victory by more than 10 minutes over Belinda Harper at the recent prestigious Orbea Auckland Half Ironman.
Brita Martin during Challenge Wanaka
Martin kept to her training plan and didn't target the race with a full taper. "I didn't taper and wanted to use it as a hard training session and to get more race experience and a hard effort. But I still ended up getting nervous before the race and tried to do the best I could," said Martin.
With Belinda Harper leading Martin from the 1.9km swim by 3 minutes, Martin made her move on the 90km bike ride, turning the tables to lead by 40 seconds into the half marathon run which she covered in 1:29:42.
"The race was a typical race for me again. I came out of the swim a long way behind Belinda Harper. Unfortunately I am a weak swimmer, but I am trying everything to change it at the moment. Once I am on the bike, that's where my race normally starts. I tried to go quite hard at the beginning to close the gap as soon as possible. My legs weren't that fresh, but were ok."
The Auckland Half is a favourite for those who have raced over the years.
"The course was awesome, quite hilly with a couple of longer climbs, & that is probably where I made up most of my time. At the turnaround point at 60km, I saw Belinda around 2 minutes in front of me. That was good, because at least I had an idea where I was. When I came into transition 2, I saw her just leaving. I know, that I am a strong runner, so I knew that I would have a chance to catch her on the run. I had really good legs, so I passed her after about 1km and just concentrated on my race all the way to the finish," said Martin.
With race organisers welcoming one of their biggest fields yet, with the usual impressive line up of elite athletes, this was a good race for Martin to win, "I really enjoyed the race. It is a beautiful course and the weather was great as well. It's always good to win a race. It gives you a bit of a confidence boost and you know where your training is at. I normally train on my own and don't do that many races. So you never really know, how you go. It's good to go out there and do a race, especially when you win it. You learn something from every single race," said Martin.
The Auckland Half Ironman was just a stepping stone for Martin's up and coming races, "My next big goal is Challenge Roth in July. I will completely concentrate on that and will hopefully do a good race. I am really looking forward to it. I will do a couple of smaller races along the way, but that will be my main goal for this winter," commented Martin.
Martin believes that having just sorted out some major issues this year, she has taken a big step forward, "Challenge Wanaka was my first Long Distance Triathlon without any big dramas, like injuries and other problems. So I was really happy with that race. It gave me a lot of confidence and I will try to keep improving from there. But besides that, Ironman Nice last year was a big achievement for me, where I finished in third position, even though I suffered from a stress fracture in my foot. But I am very excited for my next races and to see what will happen in the future...,I am going overseas again this winter with my main race being Challenge Roth. I will hopefully achieve a few of my goals. I am very much looking forward to it. I guess, we will see what happens."
Martin's coach is Dan Lorang from Germany, which dates back to when she was still living in Germany, "It is a bit difficult, because I never see him, but I am very happy with his training plans. It is working for me and he knows me as an athlete really well. Besides that my best support person and mentor is my partner Robin (Reid former NZ Rep cyclist), who understands me very well, because he is an athlete himself, so he understands the mental side of it very well. That helps me heaps. He knows how to handle me, leading up to a race, which is not always easy. Furthermore, there are a few people in Nelson, who give me a lot of support and that help me heaps. I couldn't do it without their help and I am very thankful for that.".
Nelson is a real hot house for many of the country's top multisporters, cyclists and triathletes, with Martin finding the region ideal for training, "The weather is very good, most of the time. You can start your rides and runs right from your doorstep and the terrain is awesome. You have got hilly and flat rides and runs to choose from. In summer, there is a lot happening, like sea swim races and all different kinds of events. The only problem is the distance to the major races. Even other races in New Zealand are always a long way away and it is very expensive to get to. And because we only have two Ironman Distance Races in New Zealand, you have to travel a long way to get to other races. That's the advantage of Europe, where you have so many races to choose from just a few hours away. But besides that, nothing can beat Nelson. I absolutely love it and couldn't think of a better place to live and train at the moment," Martin concluded.