Mitch Robins has been carving up the NSW events recently with wins at the Maitland Triathlon and the NSW Protour at Gunnedah. This weekend he stepped up to a longer-distance win. Here he talks about the race. Macquarie Half Ironman was held under windy but warm conditions, with a cracker field including 2009 defending champ Tim Berkel, Tim Reed, Ollie Whistler, Adam Holborow, Matty White and Chris Dmitrieff to name a few.
I was very happy with my recent performances over sprint and Olympic distance races, however, the Half Ironman distance is a lot longer and demands a different style of racing. The gun went off at 6.30 am and I settled into a good rhythm in the water and lead out to the halfway point of the 1.9km swim, where I was then joined by Berkel. We swam side by side for a while before I decided to pick up the pace and lead the group including Berkel, Reed, Holborow, and White out of the water.
Onto the bikes and quickly a group formed including myself, Reed, Berkel and Whistler. Berkel was setting a red hot pace on the first lap that had me questioning whether I could keep up, let alone run a respectable half marathon afterward. After the first lap it became apparent that the race was going to between the four of us, and we stayed together again for the 2nd lap, including the return towards town into a block headwind that definitely hurt everyone’s legs. With about 20kms to go, I picked up the pace again and by the time we got to transition I had a little gap of around 20 seconds, which is just the buffer I needed to make sure I was focused and composed for the 21km run that was about to test me out.
The 3 lap run course was great, with loads of spectators and beautiful views of the river and town, and also a chance to see where the opposition was at every turn around. On the first lap I had Tim Reed only 50m behind me and I was hurting really bad. I knew I had to distance myself from Reed and Berkel as they are exceptional athletes and can run like the wind. I managed to open up a nice gap of around 1min 30sec to Reed on the 2nd lap and held on to that lead until the finish. I walked down the finish chute and really soaked it all up, and it was a great feeling. It was very nice to see all my hard training pay off as I really wanted to put in a good performance here, and to finish in front of such a quality field was just the icing on the cake. These athletes are guys I really look up to, and they have taught me a lot, and I am really honoured to be in front after such a tough day.