Aaron Royle and Katie Hewison emerged as the surprise winners of the 2012 GE Canary Wharf Triathlon in London.
The Men’s Race
Aaron Royle took the crown after an exciting sprint finish in which Beijing Olympian Shoemaker pushed him every step of the way down the home straight.
Royle came through the first heat in style in first place that set him up nicely for a tilt at the title in the final. As the crowds gathered at Canary Wharf, Royle carried his early form into the decider and put in an incredible performance to claim the champion’s trophy.
Australian Royle, who took the title formerly held by compatriot Brendan Sexton, said: “These sort of races are always going to produce something very exciting. It’s exciting for the crowds here but it’s hard work for us, but also a fun race because it’s different and very fast.
“Although I led most of the way it’s hard up at the front and I certainly wasn’t comfortable on the way round, I had to work hard. At the end, I knew someone was coming but I was too scared to look behind to see who it was.
“Along the back straight I was a little bit worried that if they caught me there, I might not be able to hold on but once I got to that top corner, I was going to give it everything to make sure I could hold them off.
“The atmosphere has been great, this is my second year here, last year I got fourth and had a blast but to come back this year and win has topped it off.”
Second-placed Jarrod Shoemaker, who recorded a disappointing time of 17.16mins in a shortened heat, said: “I had an awful first heat, I was on my own for a lot of it but I said to myself that it was just a warm-up. In the race, I wanted to go for it, have fun and be smart and it worked out great, the end was so close.
“I knew I was catching him (Aaron) but I knew he would go for it, so it was a lot of fun.
“This race is unbelievable, there is such a great atmosphere and where else can you do something like this?”
Third-placed Aaron Harris, who took the 2011 British Triathlon Super Series title, said: “The swim was okay, but there was no way I could have caught up with those three guys, as they are really good swimmers and they worked really well on the bike. Towards the end, I was confident I could catch them when I turned the corner, I thought not this again with another Australian ahead of me.”
The Women’s Race
Katie Hewison, the reigning ITU Duathlon World Champion, beat off strong competition from former ITU World Cup winner Blatchford and South African 2012 Olympian Sanders, to take the coveted title.
A thrilled Hewison said: “I am in shock. For me it was all about having the hardest swim that I could and if I am in the pack, I am a happy girl because I am a strong runner, that’s my strength. I focused on running as hard as I could and when I got near I couldn’t believe I was going to win.
“To race here with all the support is amazing there is a great atmosphere and to race in heats and then finals is something different too, it’s all really fast.”
Liz Blatchford, who was leading after both first and second transitions, said: “When I came out the swim and I was on my own on the bike I wasn’t sure whether to go on my own or wait, but I decided to wait for the group and then go for the run. Katie is an amazing runner so I am not surprised she beat me as she is fantastic on the run.
“This race is so much fun, it really gets the adrenaline going and to race at this time of night is so different to what we are used to but I love it.”
Third-placed Gillian Sanders, who will next month once again compete in London at the 2012 Olympic Games, said: “It was really, really tough. The intensity of the short race is something else and I am not really used to it and with the heats it takes a bit out of your legs, so a totally different format but I liked it, it was great.
“I used today as a really hard training session as part of my preparations for the Olympics coming up in five weeks’ time. I am training hard at the moment so my legs are quite tired, but it’s great here. The course is technically challenging and because I live in London, it was a great race for me to do. It was fun having all the city workers out cheering for us too. Tonight was awesome.”
Hewison came through the first heat unscathed in fourth place with a solid effort that set her up nicely for a tilt at the title in the final. As the crowds gathered at Canary Wharf, Hewison carried her early form in to the decider and put in an incredible performance to claim the champion’s trophy.