• Jenny Blair competing in the Australian 2015 MTB XC Marathon Championships (Heath Holden)Source: Heath Holden
Brendan Johnston and Jenny Blair claimed maiden Australian titles today, winning gold at the 2015 Cross Country Marathon Championships in Derby, Tasmania.
17 May 2015 - 8:43 PM 

Mark Tupalski and Brendan Johnston led the elite men’s race after lap one, with 2014 champion Andy Blair sitting in third. 

In what may mark a handover to the next generation of marathon riders, young guns Tupalski and Johnston sat neck and neck for the first two laps.

Descending hard on the final lap, Johnston built an insurmountable lead and rode away with the win.

“I wasn’t overly confident coming in to today,” Johnston said. “I’ve been on it for awhile, since the beginning of the National Series, so I’m getting towards the end of my peak I think and I was worried I might be over the hill but I was able to pull this one out so I’m really happy.

Tupalski and Blair finished in second and third respectively. 

In the elite women’s race, Jenny Blair led the pack from the get go, securing herself a two minute lead by the second lap, which she extended to almost 10 minutes on her way to the title. 

"I took advantage of the climb at the start and got away,” Blair said. 

"The girls got back to me a bit but I knew that I’d been training with a change of pace recently so if I could just keep changing the pace I’d wear them out and keep going on my own and that’s exactly what happened."

Irish-born Blair spoke highly of the Blue Derby trails and said she was happy to now have jerseys from both Australia and Ireland.  

“It is hard racing on them (the Blue Derby Trails) but for the everyday person who wants to come here for the weekend, it’s just amazing. 

"The trails are just so manicured. You can really rail it or you can just enjoy it."

Eliza Kwan (ACT) and Rebecca Locke (VIC) rounded out the podium in second and third.