Triathlete works up a sweat

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A Queenstowner has been baking in a sauna to prepare for the world’s premier off-road triathlon.

Jason Hall, 24, is tackling the Xterra World Champs in Hawaii this Sunday.

He says Hawaii’s heat and humidity will be tough.

“I’ve been getting in the sauna, just trying to get my body used to it.”

He’s stoked the 1.5km swim will be in rough water – “I surfed in Dunedin so if it’s rough it’s good”.

Hall, who’s set to turn pro, has come a long way in two years.

In 2014, he was finishing four years at Dunedin’s Otago University, where he admits “I was deep in that culture – drinking and all that”.

Auckland-born Hall, who moved Queenstown in May last year, competed in triathlons at school but gave up due to burnout.

What turned him round was when his dad entered him in the inaugural Queenstown International Marathon in late 2014.

After just five weeks’ training he finished fourth in the marathon in 2 hours 48 minutes.

“Then I got the bug.

“I went back to Aussie and my mate said, ‘you need to get back into the triathlon scene’.”

Hall did his first half-ironman in Geelong, Australia, early last year – “I was like, this is epic”.

In March this year, two weeks after finishing second in the Challenge Wanaka half-ironman, he did his first Xterra off-road race, Motatapu, compris-ing a 2km swim in Lake Wanaka, 47km mountain bike leg and 15km run around Arrowtown.

By finishing first in his 18-24 age group he qualified for Sunday’s Hawaiian race.

Then in his first race in six months, Hall won his 18-24 age group competition, with four minutes to spare, at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Mooloo-laba on Australia’s Sunshine Coast.

Depending on when he gets his pro licence, Hall’s first pro race will probably be either the Western Sydney Ironman 70.3 late next month or Ironman 70.3 Taupo in December.

He accepts he might be up against faster triathletes in the pro ranks “but you only get faster if you start competing against them”.

“I’d like to think that I’d be able to top-10 in most races I go into and then the ones where the field isn’t as hot, that’s where you’d like to see a podium come out.”

Hall says Queenstown’s an ideal training base – its winters toughening him up compared to other triathletes who only train in “really nice conditions”.

Meanwhile, he admits he’s made a huge change in his lifestyle.

“Now I’ve got no social life – but it’s all good.”

scoop@scene.co.nz