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.

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Sport360° view: The ADIT showcased Abu Dhabi at its best

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Drenched in sweat but soon to be basking in glory, in Tyler Butterfield and Melissa Hauschildt the 2014 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon got a pair of long-distance champions this superb event deserved.

Both called on super-human levels of endurance as they toiled for upwards of seven hours under the relentless sun.

In a field boasting Ironman world champions, they drained every ounce of effort to finish on the top step of the podium on a day which showcased Abu Dhabi at its best.

The UAE is a place where aspiration meets boundless ambition. Where rapidly-developing, top-class sporting occasions stand as equals or better than those elsewhere.

What other triathlon can boast a course as breathtaking as one that takes in the shimmering Corniche waters, multiple laps of the outstanding Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit and finishes with a run that is backdropped by the iconic towers of the East Plaza skyline built up by the success of the booming Abu Dhabi economy?

The ADIT continues to grow at a tremendous rate, attracting a first ever sold-out field of 2,400 professional triathletes and amateur enthusiasts from 68 different countries for its fifth edition.

None arrived with a higher profile than Great Britain’s Brownlee brothers. The pair possess gold and bronze from London 2012, plus a quantity of hard-earned International Triathlon Union World Championships victories that would threaten to overflow any trophy cabinet.

Alistair triumphed last year, and was so enthusiastic about the meeting that his younger sibling, Jonathan, came along this time.

The pair live the kind of structured lives elite athletes need to thrive. Every aspect of their training is chalked out to the finest detail. They are a mini-industry, boasting a series of high-end global sponsors since their achievements at the London Olympics.

That their coaching team would entrust the pivotal first race of the season to Abu Dhabi speaks volumes. In their dual finish, the event also gained an iconic image exhibiting the latest chapter in this remarkable sibling rivalry.

The names may not be as recognisable, but the ADIT would be nowhere without the ever-growing number of amateurs who decide to get up at dawn and plunge headfirst into a stamina-sapping race.

A well-oiled organising team ensured the operation ran smoothly. Competitors were serviced by a diligent medical team, guided round a well-marked course and heralded for their achievement.

This same attention to detail was applied to Friday’s Junior Triathlon, ensuring the value of healthy living was shown to the next generation.

A fan village pumping out thumping music and expert commentary also kept the entertainment levels high off the course.

Speaking before yesterday’s event, Alistair Brownlee offered the idea of a future night race.

Attendance levels, while growing, are far from being fully tapped. An event under lights could pique local interest in a world-class event at their doorstep. Food for thought for the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority who continue to exhibit a knack for staging genre-leading occasions.

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Brownlee brothers share the spoils in Abu Dhabi duel

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Level pegging: The Brownlees dominated a strong Abu Dhabi field.

Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee and his brother Jonathan shared a symbolic dual finish after a dominant performance in the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon short-course race.

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

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 event.

"We are very Yorkshire proud," Jonathan said. "We did not know how it was going to go, so we made the decision [on the dual finish] on the course."

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

In September's ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, a long-term ankle problem saw Alistair drop off the pace as his 23-year-old sibling Jonathan – who took Olympic bronze two years ago – was beaten to first place by Spaniard Javier Gomez.

Alistair showed no sign of injury on Saturday as the brothers emerged from the swim, alongside fellow Brit Rhys Davey, well clear of the chasing pack.

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

Alistair had claimed victory in last year's event but, cheered on by supporters enjoying a carnival atmosphere in the fan zone, the brothers shared the spoils in their first race of this season.

In the women's short competition, German Olympian Svenja Bazlen powered to victory ahead of Annabel Luxford and Lisa Marangon.

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