McNamee defies the odds to finish fourth at T100 in Singapore

McNamee tore his hamstring in last month's T100 opener in Miami
McNamee tore his hamstring in last month's T100 opener in Miami

Irvine triathlete David McNamee savoured a fourth-place finish at T100 Singapore that came against all the odds, writes Sportsbeat's Tom Harle.

McNamee was competing in the second stage of eight in the revolutionary new World Tour, pitting 20 of the world’s best triathletes against each other over 100km with $7 million on the line.

The 35-year-old tore his hamstring in last month’s World Tour opener in Miami, meaning expectations for the gruelling race in Singapore’s Marina Bay were significantly lowered.

In sweltering overcast conditions, McNamee showed sheer steel to make eight places on the run and finish a superb fourth.

“I’m more than shocked to be honest,” said McNamee. “I didn’t think I’d end up in the top ten today. It’s been quite a struggle since Miami, I haven’t done much running since then.

“Today I was just very clever, kept everything under control on the run and that paid dividends. In the second half of the run I could keep up a strong pace whereas a lot of people fell apart.

“I haven’t done anything fast since Miami but you didn’t need to run super fast in these conditions. It was about being strong and that’s what I’m well known for being a strong athlete. If there was one race I could come to in not my best form and still kdo well, this would be it.”

Belgium’s Pieter Heemeryck and Kiwi wildcard Kyle Smith were among the athletes to struggle on the run leg.

McNamee credited fellow triathlete Lucy Buckingham and her coach Mark for giving him a boost on the brutal run leg.

“You’re so tired that you start thinking random thoughts,” said McNamee. “I was all over the place a bit mentally. Thankfully Mark and Lucy were there giving me proper splits.

“They were giving me exact splits and in the last lap, it was them that told me I still had a possibility of getting fourth or fifth. Before I saw them, I was more than happy with sixth but they were very much, ‘there’s still something to play for here’ and they give me that extra little boost.

“It’s probably the hardest course we have on the circuit,” he added. “It’s not just the conditions, the bike course is very tough and the climb we have to do three times on the run.

“I love the toughness of it. It’s great to see so many spectators, especially on the run, it’s great to see so many people enthusiastic about the sport. I thought there would be nobody here. But the fans were great and they distracted me from the pain.”

McNamee will now hope to press on towards his target of finishing in the top ten of the T100 rankings in the inaugural year of the tour. The T100 Tour now heads to San Francisco on 7-8 June.

He said: “After Miami, I was really struggling to mentally know whether I could compete or not at this level or this distance. I’m more known as a long-course athlete but there’s something about this distance I really love, even if physiologically it’s not my strongest.

“My aim going into this year was to finish in the top ten overall in the T100. That’s a realistic but tough target.”