Top gun: Jonathan Herring said the bike course will make for faster times in this Sunday’s Tokio Triathlon. *Photo by Ras Mykkal
Top gun: Jonathan Herring said the bike course will make for faster times in this Sunday’s Tokio Triathlon. *Photo by Ras Mykkal

FRIDAY, JUNE 8: With Evan Naude out, Jonathan Herring is being tipped to take the Tokio Millennium Re Triathlon on Sunday.

Kristyn Tobey Robinson is off a solid performance in Connecticut and will be looking to win back-to-back women’s titles.

Race director Adam petty said nearly 300 competitors would hit the start line in Hamilton. A total of 115 adults will compete for top individual honours while there are 36 adult teams and 12 teams in the Senior Schools Challenge. An additional 44 athletes are doing the children’s duathlon.

Petty said Herring should be the one to beat in the men’s race but other contenders for top five places should be Neil de ste Croix, Mark Wilcox, Andrew Davis and Kent Richardson.

Petty said that while Robinson should win the ladies race, others vying for top five positions should be Sinclair Packwood winner Joanna Shillington and Laurie Orchard.

Herring said: “I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve been putting in a lot of work on my running. I’ve been trying to do as many bike races as I can without impeding on my running.

“I had a pretty good race a couple of weeks ago in Nevis but died in the heat, but “I’m pretty disappointed Evan won’t be here because he’s a great athlete who puts in a great race every time.

“I just want to test myself and do well on Sunday.”

 Herring liked that the course has changed for 2012.

“It should be better all around and safer and faster. Last year we did this whole loop up Reid Street – it was pretty manic.

“Tokio always puts on a good race so it should be fun.”

Robinson said she was pleased with her performance in Connecticut and is looking forward to defending her title.

“It’s a great race in town with lots of crowd support and I’m looking forward to it. It should be a good and hopefully there is no rain on Sunday.”

Robinson said she loves racing at Clearwater Beach, the venue for most triathlons, but the Tokio Triathlon in Hamilton brings an entirely different atmosphere.

“Clearwater is away from traffic and really safe, but the Tokio race is really fun.

“I’m excited for this race course because it’s different than last year. On the bike course you can really buckle down and go for it.”

Robinson said the challengers could come from the new triathletes coming up the ranks as well as the vets who are steady.

“There should be a lot of people to contend with so it should be a lot of fun.”

Robinson was second in her age group in the Rev 3 event and was in the top seven overall.

“It was raining there and I was a bit gun shy as I went down on my bike a few weeks ago. I wanted to do an Olympic distance event and that’s been my focus this year.”