By Karl Hayes
The women’s field this weekend is not huge but there is some good talent and hopefully there will be some good racing. Katherine Baker and Anna Cleaver are the two that Nicole Ward is putting up there as the potential winners. Kirsten Molloy is a great swimmer and could also push the field. Rebecca Eveleigh may have to come from behind but with her run she could make her way through the field. Of course Nicole Ward will be there and if she is in good form she will be looking for a podium.
Nicole Ward had to pull out of the recent Gold Coast half ironman due to a stomach bug and also is trying to get over a cold and a slight calf tear last weekend. â€œI think although it is a small female field all the girls racing are strong and capable of a win. Kat Baker and Anna Cleaver proved themselves as very strong swim/bike contenders at the Gold Coast Half Ironman recently so will most likely go hard from the start and try to get a break away. Kirsten is also a great swimmer but her strength is the run and Rebecca will be chasing from behind, but with some good form coming back could make her way up through the field. I think it’s really going to come down to what happens on the day and who has the best race on the day. Given the last few weeks that I have had I will be happy to get myself on the podiumâ€.
Nicole has had a pretty shocking 4 weeks training wise. â€œI got sick with a stomach bug during Gold Coast half and had to pull the pin and I haven’t done much training since then unfortunately. I arrived home last Sunday (from Hawaii and her first holiday since starting triathlons) and was feeling pumped and ready to train hard but then I got sick again with a cold and then tore my calf on Sunday afternoon. Thankfully I stopped running straight away and it’s a minor tear so I should be able to run by Sunday. I thought about not doing Port but I love racing so I thought I may as well give it a shot- who knows I might surprise myself! It’s not like me to have so many things go wrong so I am just trying to stay positive!!!â€.
Katherine Baker had a terrible year last year and is now excited to just be able to race. â€œI am very excited about every race I do now. Last year was a disaster having to end up taking the whole year off due to torn labrums in both of my hips and severe cramping which continued to play up even after 2 surgeries! Having all this happen in my first 2 seasons as a pro really messed me up. Finally over a year later I am back and not much will be able to stop me!
Katherine’s first race back was Gold Coast Half Ironman a month ago. â€œI had a solid race leading the whole way then ended up finishing in 3rd. So I will definitely be looking to improve on that result. Having said that though I am in a solid â€˜Ironman Block’ as I am training for Busselton where I placed 3rd 2 years ago in my first ironman. This is the big event on the calendar for me. The most important thing is that I am on the start line and that I end up in the results list without a DNF next to my name, but as with anything I start I aim to finish on topâ€.
SiS Port Half Ironman Pro Female Field (Website)