It was a case of third-time unlucky for Wollongong endurance athlete Ben Allen at the World Championship Tour race in the Philippines.
After he built a handy lead at the end of the 1.5km swim leg, his progress was halted by a flat tyre in the 35km mountain biking stage.
He changed to a spare but that also punctured, which forced him to borrow a tyre from a fellow competitor.
As luck would have it, Allen then had another flat tyre.
Despite last weekend’s setbacks, the 27-year-old still managed to finish a remarkable third in a time of 3:21:52.
‘‘Flats are part of racing and I’m always prepared for it but it’s the old wives’ tale that things seem to happen in threes,’’ Allen said.
‘‘Not once did it cross my mind to give up. I would’ve carried my bike 1000 miles or crawled on my hands and knees, just to get to the finish line.
‘‘I believe you need to learn to lose before you can learn to win. When things don’t go to plan, situations arise that are out of your control, and you need to stay focused on yourself, be positive, change your game plan and set a new goal,’’ he said.
‘‘[It] can be tremendously challenging ... just crossing the finish line is an achievement in itself. You don’t always need to cross the line first or have the fastest run split to know you’re a champion.’’
Allen’s girlfriend, UK competitor Jacqui Slack, also performed strongly - coming fourth in the Pro Women’s race in a time of 3:29:19. Both will contest this weekend’s event in Dunsborough, WA.