No one was surprised when Alex Hunt crossed the line ahead of his rivals to take out another Freycinet Challenge.
That’s four in succession now without fail – just in case anyone’s lost count.
Anyone but Hunt that is.
He treasures them all.
But it’s the three before his breakthrough 2015 win at the multi-sports weekend that has kept the 27-year-old grounded and motivated to keep coming back each year.
“The first time is always going to be the best – especially as I had three second placings before, so to finally win it was awesome,” Hunt said.
“But this one was pretty good still. My brother had a good race, so it was nice to kind of share that with him.”
“It’s hard to compare to the last other three.”
Hunt finished both days of the combined 25.5km trail run, 20km kayak, 80km road cycle and 40km mountain bike course in seven hours, 33 minutes and 34 seconds.
To put it into perspective, only seven entrants clocked a faster time than the now celebrated solo male winner.
That is, they were teams of four competitors, each doing just one leg each rather than four like Hunt.
Shortomotives Warriors did it the quickest (7:03:23), but a little more than half an hour better.
“I guess in terms of my personal performance, with this course being the same as last year’s, I think timewise I compared pretty much the same as last year,” Hunt said.
“I know I was a little bit quicker on day two, so that is always the aim to be quicker.
“But often it’s hard to compare the times of years because of the conditions.”
The Hobart competitor has not enjoyed a challenge more so than peeping over his shoulder – at least early on – and seeing his brother Robbie Hunt trailing behind.
The younger of the siblings earned outright second place in a time of 8:18:04.
Callum Fagg made ground on him to finish two minutes and 22 seconds faster on Sunday, but still well behind overall in 9:02:28.
Simon Parraton and Tim Warren rounded off the top-five individual performers, both men running down the Coles Bay courses under 10 hours and just one minute and 54 seconds apart.
Georgia Nesbitt, who is a multiple-time world rowing championship medallist, clocked a time of 10:08:28.
She was the only open female to race at the weekend, but the 26-year-old did upset Jodie Willett last year to win to officially go back-to-back.
Peter Barrett won the male veteran category (40 and over) in a smashing 8:29:06.
Tony McIntyre proved the master of the over-50s, taking 9:01:48 to finish the courses.
Jack Viney and Tom Gibson as Moox2 claimed the two-person male contest by three minutes over Underwater Seals pair Nathaniel Jackson and Ryan Posselt.
James Ried and Sally Alps as Alps & Amici had an even closer battle for the two-person mixed title, heading off Flex Health Therapy couple Cameron McDougall and Jo Ryn Tan by only 46 seconds.
The battle of the schools also went down to the wire.
Launceston College nosed out Rosny College by just 53 seconds on Sunday to win overall by four minutes and 42 seconds. Four Friends were a distant third.
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