Dougherty competes with elite
SURPRISE packet Hugh Dougherty refuses to be mentioned in the same breath as ironman’s strong men despite his second placing in the overall standings of the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Series.
The 26-year-old entered the competition with little expectation to perform – he claimed ninth-place in 2009 – but impressed all with his form and fitness.
Another second at the series’ final round at Cronulla yesterday confirmed his name was now among the sport’s elite.
Dougherty beat the likes of Ky Hurst for the podium spot, with only superstar Shannon Eckstein in front of him.
But the Yamba product does not think he can be mentioned in the same way as his well-known rivals.
“I don’t see myself as a marked man. I don’t see myself up in the same league as Shannon Eckstein, Ky Hurst or Zane Holmes,” he said.
“I do my things quietly and just work hard.
“I guess you would have to ask some of the other guys to see if I’m a marked man and in the same category as them.”
Just metres separated Dougherty and Eckstein in one of the competition’s most thrilling climaxes in recent history.
Dougherty had to beat the defending champion by more than three places, meaning the overall title was gone once the duo hit the sand.
But that didn’t mean it was going to be a cruise for either man.
Despite being edged, Dougherty is delighted with his overall performance in the 2010 campaign.
“I was pretty happy because I got second,” he said.
“I haven’t actually won a race in the series which would have been nice but I would take second.
“I have no regrets at all. I just enjoyed it and taking it as it came.”
After a long hard summer slog on the beaches and in the gym, Dougherty is happy with his well-earned break before next month’s state and national title competitions.
“We will celebrate but we have other things to look forward to,” he said.
“I have learned a few lessons. Next year is going to be as hard if not harder but I am looking forward to it.
“For now I’ll just look forward to the national titles.”