PHIL Hanley arrived home last week with a silver medal from the International Triathlon Union grand final in Auckland, New Zealand held last Monday. Hoping to finish in the top 10 of the 60-64 year old male category, Hanley was thrilled to return home with a silver medal for the trophy cabinet. Hanley completed the 1.5km swim around Queen’s Warf in Auckland Harbor, a 40km coastal bike circuit from the city and then a 10km run along the harbor front in a time of 2.22:54. A large local contingent travelled to help support the veteran athlete in the event which attracted competitors from across the globe. Hanley completed the course just under two minutes behind the gold medal winner, but 2.57 in front of the bronze medallist. “I was spent. I was quite happy just to finish standing upright,” he said. A strong swim of 26.39 saw Hanley fifth out of the water and through transition into what turned out to be a very strong bike leg of 1.06:43. “I had a very good swim in freezing conditions which enabled me to put in a full effort into the bike leg to catch the New Zealand leader and break away from the pack,” he said. “I think that it was the bike leg, without that I wouldn’t have been able to win silver.” After a 3.11 transition off the bike and into the run, Hanley led from the front of the pack. “Exiting into the run leg my son Ryan and Trevor Bloom yelled at me I was leading so go for it,” he said. “Because of the fast bike leg everyone was shaky and the bloke who won it was a sensational runner and thoroughly deserved his win. He got me at about the 2km mark of the run and I battled through the last 8km and managed to hang on and get silver. “I’m absolutely thrilled. It was great to have family and friends there and to represent Australia. It was a very special occasion especially with my mother Sadie being well enough to attend.” Phil’s silver helped Australia prevail in a friendly rivalry between our easterly neighbours, in a very tight medal count. The 60 year-old is wasting no time preparing for the 2013 Gatorade Series which starts in St Kilda in November and the Bass Coast Barracudas opening event.