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Reed checks in with a win

Triathlete Tim Reed capped off a busy year by defending his Canberra 70.3 title, completing the 113-kilometre course in just over three hours and 40 minutes on Saturday, with Annabel Luxford the first woman home in four hours and four minutes.

It was the first time Reed had won back-to-back events over the half-ironman distance, with the man in the chequered budgie smugglers again clocking the fastest time for the run leg, too.

''It was just one of those days where everything felt fine and everything felt, not easy, but not ridiculously hard like it sometimes can,'' he said.

The course was modified this year to avoid roadworks, which eliminated hills from the bike leg and made faster times the order of the day for the record 1325 people who started the race.

''We didn't get caught in the wind that a lot of the later starters did and it definitely was an easier course; I mean, you just cut out half the hills from last year,'' Reed said. ''It's easier, but then you just go faster, so you hurt faster, I guess.''

Reed's win book-ended his year, which started with a victory at the Australian Long Course Championships, before mid-year sleep deprivation with the birth of his first child contributed to some narrow misses.

New Zealander Garth Barfoot, 76, was the oldest competitor in the race, completing the event in eight hours and three minutes.

Lindsey Wall was the first local finisher in fifth place, with Michelle Wu coming fourth in the women's division in her first race back after three months out with stress fractures in her foot.