Hannah Wells ready to step up to IRONMAN New Zealand Challenge

Wednesday 24 March 2021

Hannah Wells knows what it takes to be at the top of her game, and to cross the finish line first, having won her last four IRONMAN 70.3 races.
 
Wells has stood on the podium at every IRONMAN 70.3 she has contested since 2017, and now has set her sights on her next challenge, racing at Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand this weekend.
 
“I’ve done quite a number of IRONMAN 70.3 races now, two to three seasons of racing professionally at that distance,” said Wells. “With COVID and the situation at the moment it’s quite a nice time for me to find a new challenge and make the most of racing, it’s worked out well for me to do my first IRONMAN this year.
 
“It’s probably just the long miles that has changed, the rest of my training has remained pretty similar,” she said. “My coach has a lot of experience coaching people at full distance, I have a lot of good, smart people around me, I just do as I’m told, it’s all pretty new to me.”
 
The postponement to Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand affected Wells like so many other athletes, but she’s taken it all in her stride.
 
“It’s been an interesting little journey for the last few weeks, I’m feeling really good actually,” said Wells. “To be honest the last three weeks has meant that I’m hopefully going to be arriving to race day maybe in a better position than if it had gone ahead on the original date. I’m really excited to finally be able to race, and thankful that we can race.
 
“I think the extra few weeks has been beneficial to me, I’ve managed to get a few extra quality run sessions in which has lifted my running even more so that’s really good,” she said. “It has been a mental challenge, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t initially, once I got my head around the fact that it had been postponed we were able to re-plan, it has been really handy that extra time to make sure I’m ready for race day.
 
“It was pretty hard because initially we didn’t know if it was going to be postponed or cancelled. That was quite a tough 72 hours of uncertainty, all the work had been done and I was feeling better than I ever have in my life to be honest,” said Wells. “The prospect of not having a race to make the most of that was a little bit hard to swallow, we were crossing our fingers and toes that a new date was going to be able to happen. I was very thankful when we heard that it was going to go ahead, it was tough initially and now stoked that I had a little bit of extra time to prepare for the race.”
 
Stepping up to her first IRONMAN has meant a change in training for Wells, with the Tauranga based athlete spending a lot more time on the road and in the water as she prepares to head to Taupo.
 
“It’s been a bit of an unknown for me being my first IRONMAN, new training for me and the big miles are pretty new,” she said. “I’m not usually a huge volume athlete, so we’ve had to manage the load pretty carefully. I think we’ve done a pretty good job, I have a number of big sessions under the belt now, hopefully all the hard work is done and I’m ready to go.”
 
As well as looking forward to the challenge of racing an IRONMAN, Wells is looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere out on course.
 
“I think IRONMAN New Zealand has such a cool atmosphere, I’ve been there a number of times watching, it’s such a cool event and the community gets behind it,” she said. “The event has a huge history, with the Maori welcome there’s a lot of feeling. To be a part of it as my first IRONMAN is going to be very special. I’ll know a lot of people out there on the course being a New Zealand race, it’s going to be a pretty special day and I feel very lucky being a part of it.”

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