LAUNCESTON multi-sport athlete Ben Mather consolidated his lead in the Freycinet Lodge Challenge to run away with a comfortable victory yesterday.
In what was an eventful final day, runner Daniel Clarke, 30, had to be airlifted to the Royal Hobart Hospital after suffering a head injury from a fall on the run leg along the Wineglass Bay Track.
He was treated at the scene by paramedics for 20 minutes before being taken to hospital in a stable condition.
Mather started day two six minutes clear of Hobart's Alex Hunt, and the fight between the pair continued until the mountain bike leg, where Mather used his prowess to push away and stretched his lead to more than 10 minutes.
Mather finished the eight-leg, 190-kilometre course in eight hours, 10 minutes and 44 seconds - 16 minutes ahead of Hunt.
``I am very satisfied,'' Mather said post-race.
``I felt good today (yesterday) and I am happy with my race overall.
``I probably just had one bad leg yesterday (Saturday) and that was my mountain bike, but I definitely can't complain.
``I have been doing quite a bit of work on my paddling and I think I only lost a minute to Alex, but once I got out of the water I was happy as I was sort of in my domain.''
Ukrainian Maria Plyashechko dominated the women's event, beating Hobart's Meghan Johnston in 10:29:05.
Avanti Plus Launceston (7:20:27) won the men's teams title, and the women's team race was taken out by Avanti Launceston Contessa (8:58:06).
Race director Tim Saul said racing was good and fast all weekend despite the windy conditions and he suggested that the event could grow beyond the 600 competitors who participated at the weekend.
``I think we can make a few changes and accommodate more people because you are not actually talking about that many people on the track,'' he said.
``If you have another 10 teams, it is 40 more people, but it is only an extra 10 people running at the one time.''