By Karl Hayes
Graham O’Grady and Joanna Lawn have won the 2011 Port Of Tauranga Half Ironman. Graham O’Grady lead from start to finish just managing to hold off a fast finishing Callum Millward who ran the half marathon just over four and a half minutes quicker than O’Grady.
Graham O’Grady left
Jo Lawn had to fight for hers with a come from behind win over Sydney based Kiwi Anna Cleaver.
Considering it was a ‘come from behind win’ I asked Jo how the race panned out and whether everything went as planned. “I felt really good the whole way thru. It is just a work in progress. I hadn’t really planned the race so yes it went well”.
How do you feel about the 2011 Ironman New Zealand after the win today? “No different! Training starts in two days time. A half ironman is very different to an ironman. Things are looking healthy and I have obviously recovered from my Hawaii race”.
I asked Jo if she was on track for a repeat performance of last year. “Well I would love it if life was that simple… But now the work has to be done!!
I put a piece from Ironman on Trizone last year about you and your mouthguard. That was fascinating. Has that
really had such a big impact on your performances? “I think it really has helped me be symmetrical and not favour one side!! So now I am riding a lot straighter and my body is feeling better”. (Read the article on Ironman.com)
“My career is awesome, I have been supported by incredible people and companies for a lonnnnng time!!! I want to say a huge thank you to Bonita bananas, TYR, Thompsons, Oakley, Cervelo, Asics, Profile Design, RoadiD, ZIPP, Giro, Timex, Power Balance, Computrainer, ISM, T3 mattress, MVP Normatec, SRAM”.
Joanna Lawn on bike
Anna Cleaver told Trizone today that after leading most of the race Lawn passed her with 2.5kms to go. “I led from the start and had a really strong bike leg. I ran well but Jo got me with 2.5km to go. The last lap around the Mount track is a tough one (the undulations become hills!!). I’d gone all out from the start and in the end my legs fell off! I was happy with second as Jo is an amazing athlete and very experienced on that course. It was a great day with so many supporters and familiar faces – friends and family, new and old. I loved it!”
Janine Simpson finished 3rd in only her second half Ironman and her first as a pro-elite. Her first half ironman was at Auckland in March last year. “I’ve previously raced short-course triathlons. I didn’t specifically train for my first half ironman back in March and did it on short course triathlon training. In that race I lead up until the 75km mark on the bike before hitting the wall, because that was as far as my training would take me. I was expecting that pain again on Saturday, but it never came, and I felt awesome for the bike and run”.
Janine is coached by New Zealand National Coach Greg Fraine and Accelerate Swim Coach Tim Brazier. “On Saturday I did have a rubbish swim which I was disappointed about – I’ve had a few health concerns lately and have nausea almost every day for the last four weeks and I got another nice big attack of nausea during the swim. This slowed me down to the extent that I even thought about pulling out”.
Simpson’s nausea came under control on the bike and she found the 90km much easier than expected. “I felt awesome after the nausea had stopped. With hindsight I wish I had pushed myself harder for the bike-leg, but with the threat of nausea and my experience in my first half ironman, I decided that it was better to be conservative”.
“On the run I felt great again – it was like I hadn’t even done the 2km swim and 90km bike and I just settled into a pace that I was comfortable with so that I could open it up on the 2nd lap. It didn’t concern me that Jo Lawn ran past me somewhere in the 1st 5kms because I had decided before the race to leave any chasing until the 2nd lap. By the 2nd lap I couldn’t see anyone behind me and having figured by that stage that I was unlikely to get 1st or 2nd, I just kept at a happy pace and enjoyed the race – knowing I had plenty of gas in the tank to fend off anyone from behind.
I asked Janine if she was aware that Australia’s Rachael Paxton was closing in on her. “I wasn’t aware that
Paxton was closing in on the run and I’m kind of wishing she had caught me so that I would have been forced to put the hammer down. Funnily enough, the commentator at the end did say that it looked like I could have done that again – and when I was thinking about it as he said it – I actually did feel like I could have done it again. It would have hurt of course, but I did finish in pretty good nick”.
“I think a podium was a good result (a surprise even) and if I get the all-clear, I’m looking forward to my next race this Friday, where I’m back to the short-course triathlons”.
Janine is definitely someone to watch in the future.
Australians Rachael Paxton, Rebekah Keat and Nicole Ward were 4th, 6th and 7th
Age groupers Tristan Calwell (4:00:28), Craig Kirkward (4:09:47) and Daniel Plews (4:10:11) mixed it up with the pro field with some great times.
|1||Joanna Lawn||F PRO||0:27:53||2:19:23||1:25:47||4:15:38|
|2||Anna Cleaver||F PRO||0:25:31||2:19:58||1:28:49||4:16:42|
|3||Janine Simpson||F PRO||0:28:32||2:19:05||1:33:02||4:22:47|
|1||Graham O’Grady||M PRO||0:23:37||2:06:20||1:17:56||3:49:45|
|2||Callum Millward||M PRO||0:25:32||2:08:57||1:13:20||3:49:55|
|3||Cameron Brown||M PRO||0:25:24||2:08:53||1:14:02||3:50:30|