Glory for Tyler and Melissa in long-distance ADIT

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  • Massive success: More than 2,400 participants took part in the triathlon.

    Tyler Butterfield kept it in the family, while Melissa Hauschildt kept it all to herself as the duo took the top honours in the long-distance races of Abu Dhabi International Triathlon (ADIT). 

    Bermuda’s Butterfield followed in the footsteps of his wife Nikki, who won the 2012 women’s discipline here, while for reigning champion Australia’s Hauschildt, it was her second consecutive triumph in the competition.

    In the short-course race, Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee and his brother Jonathan shared a symbolic dual finish after a dominant performance.

    The British duo crossed the line in front of a buoyant East Plaza crowd holding the Yorkshire flag together in a record-shattering three hours, 12 minutes and 21 seconds.

    In a hotly contested long-distance battle, Butterfield exhibited superior endurance to win in front of Bas Diederen and Sylvain Sudrie in 6:43.00 after escaping the chasing pack with an outstanding running display.

    “I am not sure where I found the energy for the run,” the 30-year-old said. “I had two gels left for the run, and in the end, it worked out well.”

    The result saw Butterfield join wife Nikki on the ADIT’s roll of honour. It also capped of a remarkable few weeks in his life.

    He said: “We have a little bit of family banter, and that is what keeps us motivated. We just had a son [the couple’s second child] nine weeks ago, and she has been really helpful. She is a big part of this success.”

    Hauschildt had to be in similarly inspired form as she reeled in Jodie Swallow following a fast start, then drew on her energy reserves to pass Yvonne van Vlerken near the end after earlier relinquishing the lead. 

    The 30-year-old revealed the depth of stamina she had to exhibit to register a finishing time of 7:24.50, saying: “I think it was the toughest race I’ve ever done.

    “I dug so hard and did not want to lose it as it would have put me off for the whole season if I had lost.”

    The Brownlees were the star names as a sold out, 2,400-strong field of professional and amateur competitors assembled for the fifth running of the marquee ADIT event.

    “We made the decision [about the dual finish] on the course,” Jonathan said. “We did not know how it was going to go, as we have both been a bit unwell this week [with an upset stomach].

    “We did not want to push it in the heat, and with a long season ahead. Alistair could have probably pushed harder on the bike, and on the run I could have had a bit more. But he is always tough.

    “Hopefully, I will be back next year. I enjoyed the entire event.”

    In the women’s short competition, German Svenja Bazlen poweredto victory ahead of Annabel Luxford and Lisa Marangon.

    The short triathlon course began with a 1.5km swim in the glistening Corniche waters, followed by a testing 100km bike ride which took in two laps of the Yas Marina Circuit, and a final 10km run back to the finish line in the shadows of the iconic Abu Dhabi city-centre skyline.

    Those marks were doubled for the long distance, with the sprint event including a 750m swim, 50km bike ride and 5km run.

    Alistair Brownlee had been carrying an ankle injury for much of 2013. He seemed to have recovered from the problem on Saturday as the brothers emerged from the swim alongside fellow Briton Rhys Davey, well clear of the chasing pack.

    Davey was dropped as they approached the Yas Marina Circuit on the bike, with the Brownlees tied together as they re-entered the Corniche for the run.

    Alistair claimed victory in last year’s event. But, cheered on by supporters enjoying a carnival atmosphere in the fan zone, the brothers decided to share the spoils in their first race of the season.