The men’s race was much closer than 2014 however, with local athlete Dougal Allen pushing hard all the way. McNeice completed the 3.8km swim in a new course record 45:33mins, but Allen rode a sensational bike leg of 4:30:50, smashing Richard Ussher’s 2010 record by almost 12mins to claw back a lot of the ground he lost in the swim. It wasn’t enough however to catch McNeice, who won in 8:37:14.
“It was a lot harder than last year,” said McNeice afterwards. “Dougal rode so well and I honestly thought he was going to catch me. He pushed me and I ran that first lap [on the run] too hard. I really felt it in the last 15km but I think that got me the title so it was worth the risk.”