There are many things to look forward to at the new-look SunSmart Ironman Western Australia, not least seeing each and every competitor achieve their individual Ironman goals. But as always there are certain members of the field with their eyes on different targetsâ€¦
Will Bek Keat set a new women’s course record?
Keat set her Ironman-distance personal best of 8:39 in 2008, earning her the title of second-fastest female Ironman ever (to the dominant Chrissie Wellington).
Theoretically she should be able to wipe minutes off the 8:59:20 course record, set by New Zealand’s Gina Ferguson in 2008. Just three months ago she won a European Ironman-distance event in a time would put her five minutes clear of that mark.
She will certainly put fellow Aussie Charlotte Paul’s 3:05:04 run record in jeopardy, with a 3:04 on her resume from the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championship. But after retiring from the 2010 Ford Ironman World Championship with severe cramping, Keat said she wasn’t confident of claiming any records.
She has since been working with a medical team to combat the problem and, if this month’s result at the Campbell’s Shepparton Half Ironman is an indication, has it under control.
Keat, 32, proved she is still getting faster, breaking her own record on that course with a four hour 17 minute race
It will be interesting to see what she can produce under her own pressure to finish the year on a high.
Will Pete Jacobs break the men’s run record?
Jacobs set the third-fastest marathon time ever run at the Ford Ironman World Championship in October 2010. His 2:41:05 was the fastest of the day, even beating out countryman and renowned runner Craig Alexander.
Not one to rest the legs, Jacobs competed over the Olympic distance in Noosa just three weeks after the race in Hawaii. The Sydneysider came down with an illness after both events, making his decision to race the Nepean Olympic Distance triathlon just a fortnight later somewhat surprising. Jacobs finished second due to a stop/go penalty after missing a cone on the bike and backed up just 90 minutes later to be runner-up in a super-sprint event.
The big question will be: does have enough left in his legs after a season of intense racing to back up in Busselton? If so, he will add run record to the course swim record, which he already holds.
Jacobs’ Ironman distance PB is 8:02 â€“ slightly faster than Jason Shortis’ 2006 record of 8.03.56 and also set on a flat, fast course.
Will Patrick Vernay’s indomitable winning record in Australia be broken?
The New Caledonian won Ironman Western Australia in 2007 and 2009 (he was too ill to start in 2008) and has won Ironman Australia every year since 2007.
If he defends the title, he will be the first athlete to win back-to-back Ironman Western Australias. It would be the 37-year-old’s 10th Ironman title. Vernay finished 19th at the Ford Ironman World Championship in 8:35:44.
Will Miroslav Vrastil finish his 22nd Ironman for 2010?
The former national rower from the Czech Republic set out to do the most recorded Ironman events in a single year â€“ the most possible considering two events are held simultaneously and has so far finished every single one.
He will fly to Western Australia direct from Mexico, where he competes in Ford Ironman Conzumel on November 28 â€“ leaving him just one week to recover for SunSmart Ironman Western Australia.
The 59-year-old cancer survivor has raced three times at Western Australia. This year His son Miroslav jnr, also a national rower, and daughter Denisa will also race on December 5.
Can Luke Bell break through for a maiden Ironman victory?
At the end of his eighth year of professional Ironman racing, Melbourne’s Luke Bell must be due to top an Ironman podium.
He has podiumed at Ironman 70.3 events around the world and to date has won seven in North America.
He finished 16th at his debut at the Ford Ironman World Championship in 2002 and fifth the following year. In 2006 he made it into Hawaii’s top ten again, placing 7th.
Bell will be hoping not to add another Ironman runner-up to his resume, which already includes second places at Ironman New Zealand in 2007, Ironman Australia in 2005, Ironman Brazil in 2006 and Ironman Lake Placid in 2004. His 2010 season didn’t start well, a fall from his bike forcing him to take a break from training until two broken arms had healed. However, he came back strongly with a fourth place at Ironman Coeur D’Alene, to qualify for the 2010 Ford Ironman World Championships. He then stepped back to the 70.3 distance and placed third at Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens and won Ironman 70.3 Cancun in 3:59.
Bell’s World Championship race did not go the way he had hoped, and then he was forced to pull out of the Shepparton Half Ironman in November after cutting his finger during the swim leg.
Will his fortune change on December 5th?
Major League Triathlon Releases World Class 2018 Rosters
Major League Triathlon is proud to unveil their 2018 rosters for the 8 Pro teams competing in the league. MLT rosters consist of 65+ of the World’s best professional triathletes for the 2018 season. MLT released the full list of athletes on their website this morning: https://majorleaguetri.com/teams/
“Mixed Team Relay (the format of racing that MLT specializes in) getting into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has certainly been a game changer for Major League Triathlon.” Said Daniel Cassidy, Chief Executive Officer of MLT. “We will have some of the top athletes from the USA, Canada, Mexico and Australia competing with us this year and our host cities will be treated to some of the best racing in the sport.”
The third-year Professional league will make stops in:
- MLT AC: Atlantic City, NJ – July 21st
- MLT Vail Valley: Avon, CO – August 4th
- MLT Tempe: Tempe, AZ – September 22nd
- MLT Charlotte: Charlotte, NC – October 6th
Below is just a small snapshot of the incredible talent joining MLT in 2018. A full list of athletes and teams can be found here: https://majorleaguetri.com/teams/
- Ben Kanute – Carolina Gliders
- Lindsey Jerdonek –Carolina Gliders
- Charlotte McShane – Gold Coast Tritons
- Aaron Royle – Gold Coast Tritons
- Eric Lagerstrom– San Diego Stingrays
- Taylor Spivey – San Diego Stingrays
- Dominika Jamnicky – Toronto Freeze
- Jason Wilson – Toronto Freeze
- Tyler Mislawchuk –Arizona Kingsnakes
- Joanna Brown – Arizona Kingsnakes
- Eli Hemming – Atlantic City Waves
- Vittoria Lopes – Atlantic City Waves
- Paula Findlay – Colorado Peaks
- Cam Dye – Colorado Peaks
- Rene Tomlin – Florida Sun
- John O’Neill – Florida Sun
Commonwealth Games Duo Matt Hauser and Luke Willian Up the Pace at the Gold Coast Triathlon
Australian Commonwealth Games team members Luke Willian and Matt Hauser put on a display of speed and power running and riding, thrilling the crowd and letting everyone know they are on track for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.
The pair didn’t have it all their own way with Brisbane athlete (and Willian’s training partner) Luke Burns keeping them honest and announcing himself as a talent to watch in 2018.
The Luke Harrop Memorial has always been a favourite race for Willian and his passion for racing on the Gold Coast hasn’t diminished, stamping his authority from the gun.
“I am really happy and it is nice to get the win for sure, especially in such a hot field. They pushed me all day but I was happy to get over the top in the end and get the win. When I found out it was a duathlon nothing really changed. The processes are exactly the same and we train for all these occasions. I knew I could do it and I ran well here last year so I was confident. It didn’t really change much about the race. The best guys were still at the front.”
“I probably went out a little too hard but I wanted to test the waters and see if anyone wanted to come with me. Sometimes in a duathlon it all just stays together on the first run, so I just wanted to string them out and put a bit more pressure on, so it didn’t just come down to a big bunch on the bike. I wanted to make it a bit more like a triathlon, where the swim strings things out.”
“There was a group of about 10-12 on the bike rolling around in good pace and we kept the chase pack away. Onto the run I was second out of transition. Matt had a go at the first turn around and made it three guys and I had a crack at the half way turn around and it was pretty much just me from then on,” he said.
Willian said he has pulled up really well after what was the first run, in a race situation, this season.
“There was pressure in the run and the pressure of a National Championship but I am feeling great. It was good to be starting to feel fast and it is a nice confidence booster moving into the next block of training, where we will really wind it up. I was delighted how many people came out and watched, the crowd was deep and come Games time it’s going to be massive and it is really exciting to see and have the spotlight on our sport,” he said.
Matt Hauser didn’t let the change of format phase him and the World Junior champion turned in another impressive performance justifying his Commonwealth Games selection.
“We found out the night before it was going to be a duathlon and my roommate and I looked at each other and it was ‘Oh well, stuff happens, move on and get on with it’. That is what we did. Had an early wake up at about 3.30am, headed down to race site. I was feeling confident in my run and I ended up having a good race.”
“The pace was on from the get-go. Luke Willian sprinted from the start and everyone was chasing him for a while and then a group of about 10 of us solidified at the front. I tried to get out of T1 quickly and had a gap for a while but got pulled back. That was just me trying to test the legs out. Even if it was a triathlon I still would have tried to get out early and see what everyone had.”
“We worked together on the bike and I got off the bike and was running with a few boys that I train with and the Brisbane boys Luke Willian and Luke Burns. Out of the top turn, I accelerated but the two Lukes were both with me but eventually, Luke Willian split us both up.”
“The way my training volume has been with the niggles that I have had, I am okay to come second in a quality field like that. I am really happy and it is a good step forward for me. The legs are sorer than if I had done a triathlon, but it was a very positive race for me. I think I executed the processes well, ran well and certainly felt strong on the bike. So they are all good signs heading into April and my next few races.”
“It is only onwards and upwards from here and I will start to increase the volume and intensity. ITU Mooloolaba will be a great hit out and the field that is assembling is world class and will be similar to the Comm Games field. I won’t leave Queensland until the Games now, so I will be right at home and ready to go. It was an amazing atmosphere out here and it will only be tenfold come April,” Hauser said.
In the women’s race Emma Jeffcoat scored a welcome National title despite losing her favourite swim leg with the change to the duathlon format. Backing up from her win at the Oceania Cup, the Sydney based former surf lifesaver didn’t have it all her own way. Pushed to the limit from the gun, Emma hung tough and scored a welcome victory setting her up for good training block in preparation for her tilt at ITU Mooloolaba in March.
“It was good to go back to back. I wanted to show that I could back up and even without the swim, my favourite part. That is racing. It could happen at any level, the same rules apply, you’ve got to be adaptable and get on with it.”
“Some really strong competition, in the U23’s, which is really exciting. Great to have those girls push me along. But there is no rest for the wicked, straight back into training. I will have next weekend off racing and then get ready for Mooloolaba World Cup,” she said.
Dylan Rock Lost a Bet but Gained So Much More
There are a million and one reasons for starting your triathlon career and every one of them is totally valid and makes perfect sense (at the time). But former cyclist Dylan Rock has one of the most interesting reasons for turning to the world of swim/ride and run.
Fourteen years ago, he lost a bet.
“It all happened because many years ago I lost a bet to a friend of mine Lisa Flint that I could beat her over a 1km time trial. I was an elite cyclist and she was an open/pro triathlete and a runner but little did I know that eventually, Lisa would go on to represent Australia in the marathon in the New Delhi Commonwealth Games.”
Lisa’s sub-three minute kilometre was just too quick for Dylan so, she won and he had to enter his first ever triathlon.
“Ironically my first race was the Luke Harrop Memorial triathlon and being a cyclist I thought it would be easy, just turn up and do it. I didn’t even think to take goggles. Lucky for me triathletes are amazing people. A man on the start line took pity on me and had his wife run to the car and get his spare pair for me, just to make sure my day went well.”
“I was fourth last in my age group out of the water and first off the bike and I ran home in fifth place. I immediately I knew that these where my people and that kind stranger and his family are still good friends now.”
“From there I was hooked and I changed sports but still love the bike leg the most,” he reflected.
Since that fateful day on the Gold Coast, Dylan has gotten a touch more serious in his approach to his triathlon and over the years has competed in every distance, including six IRONMAN, and 29 IRONMAN 70.3 plus countless standard distance races and sprints.
Dylan’s involvement in triathlon got even more serious eight years ago after he took up coaching and established a triathlon and cycling speciality shop on the Gold Coast called Vital Cycles with a full indoor training centre for cycling and running.
Dylan is looking forward to getting back into racing after a tough few years away from the sport and the Luke Harrop Memorial is a nice warm-up for his plans to do IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie in May.
“In 2015-2016 I lost five friends to suicide and it was a very hard time for friends and family. I fell into depression and stopped training for a while but with the help of my wife, my close friends, family and my physiologist I regained my drive for life.”
“Having gone through that period I felt like had to try and do something to help raise awareness for this very important but prickly subject. So with help from some friends, we started a charity ride called Chapter 10. We rode from Southport on the Gold Coast to Coolum on the Sunshine Coast in a day, 240kms to help raise money and awareness for Beyond Blue.”
“This year on 4 August, ‘Chapter 10’ will be riding again for the local charity Head Space that deals with youth mental health issues and TYPO (Take Your Pineapples Out) a suicide awareness charity that main goal is to get people talking about suicide and reaching out to each other for help.”
“We will be riding from Vital Cycles in Labrador to Mooloolaba which is about 200kms in a day and we are opening up spots for riders to join us again. All the info will be available on the ‘Chapter 10 the ride home’ Facebook page or people can just come in store to find out more.”
Dylan said the ‘Chapter 10’ rides and the amazing people he keeps meeting in the sport of triathlon have given him back the motivation to train again.
“The Luke Harrop Memorial is one race really looking forward to and I am hoping to get the kick I need to get back to IRONMAN racing. I know the amazing atmosphere at the Gold Coast Triathlon and other competitors will help me remember why I love racing and training,” he said.
Commonwealth Games Pair return for Luke Harrop Memorial
Queensland Commonwealth Games representatives Matt Hauser and Luke Willian and inform Sydney nursing graduate Emma Jeffcoat will headline Sunday’s Gold Coast Triathlon/Luke Harrop Memorial and Australian Sprint Championships at Southport.
The biggest domestic race on the Gold Coast is dedicated to the life and times of one of the Coast’s most talented and popular athletes, Luke Harrop, who, at just 23 on January 12, 2002, lost his life as the result of a traffic incident while on a warm-up ride in preparation for the second race of the 2002 Accenture Triathlon Series.
It will be a fitting return to racing for both Hauser and Willian, who along with Jake Birtwhistle (Tasmania) will make up an exciting, new-look Games men’s team for the Games April 5 opening event.
Sydney’s Jeffcoat, the former champion surf lifesaver, showed she is ready to tackle all comers after her impressive win to conquer last week’s Oceania Championships in Devonport, beating noted pair Natalie Van Coevorden (NSW) and Games girl Charlotte McShane (Victoria.)
Jeffcoat will be up against a host of emerging talent, including WA pair Jessica Claxton and Gold Coast-based Kira Hedgeland, 2014 Youth Olympic champion Brittany Dutton (QLD) and the talented Sophie Malowiecki (QLD).
The cream of Australia’s paratriathletes will also be in action, led by Paralympic gold medallist Katie Kelly (NSW) and fellow Rio team mates Bill Chaffey (NSW), Nic Beveridge (QLD) and Brant Garvey (WA), who all contested last week’s inaugural Paratriathlon World Cup in Devonport.
Sunday will also see the official announcement of the Australian paratriathlon team for the Commonwealth Games – all in the PTWC (Wheelchair) class.
Gold Coast-based Triathlon Australia High Performance and Paratriathlon coach Dan Atkins is excited about Sunday’s racing, that will also see the cream of Australia’s Age Groupers, chasing double points setting their sights on qualifying for the 2018 ITU World Championships, to be hosted on the Gold Coast in September.
Atkins said many of the athletes who competed in Devonport last weekend had recovered from the racing and travel and those who didn’t race can’t wait to join in the action.
“I know as far as Matt (Hauser) is concerned he is chomping at the bit to get into Sunday’s race,” said Atkins.
“He hasn’t raced since last September and with the countdown on for the Games, he is getting ready to rock.
“And I know from talking to coach Warwick Dalziel, that Luke (Willian) will be in the same boat.
“It will be a good benchmark with both the boys in the Luke Harrop as well as a host of the other boy’s keen to push it.
“Matt loves getting out and training with his mates every day and that’s what keeps him going and as for me I have to protect that youth and enthusiasm; that excitement of a boy who is still only 19.
“We have a great group and they are all doing it together and for each other.”
Hauser, originally from Hervey Bay, had a stellar year in 2017, winning the ITU World Junior Championship in Rotterdam and combining with Birtwhistle, McShane and Gold Coaster Ashleigh Gentle to win Australia’s first ever Mixed Teams Relay World Championship in Hamburg.
Willian, the Under 23 ITU World Championship bronze medallist in Rotterdam, had a hit out at the recent Burleigh-Swim-Run, winning the event for the second time on Australia Day and coach Dalziel couldn’t be happier with his progress.
“Luke has been working well on a lot of specific stuff and we’re looking forward to getting into race mode again,” said Dalziel.
“He had a good hit out at Burleigh and it was just at the right time but now it’s time to focus on putting his first race together.”
The 750m swim; 20-kilometre bike and five-kilometre run is the same Sprint Distance as the Games – for both the Elites and Paratriathletes.
This weekend will also feature the 2018 Australian National Cross Triathlon and Aquathlon Championships at Lake Crackenback on Saturday.
Australia’s number one Cross Triathlete Ben Allen and his wife Jacqui Allen (Great Britain) are the headline acts in the Elite fields.
Apply to Join the Amateur Specialized Zwift Academy Triathlon Team
Zwift, the virtual turbo trainer cycling tool that doubles as a massively multiplayer online game, has partnered with Specialized to create a new elite amateur triathlon team. The recruiting focus is on amateur age-group triathletes, and they plan to make the new team “the best supported amateur team in the sport.” Four finalists will compete in Kona during the 2018 Ironman World Championship. Applications to join the Specialized Zwift Academy Tri Team are due by 18th March.
Zwift, and Zwift Academy have recently been focusing more attention on triathlon. Zwift created the brand new Zwift Run with triathletes in mind, and Zwift Academy is now scouting to identify the next generation of world-class triathletes.
The two companies are offering some amazing perks to the four finalists who make the team.
Perks for Tri Team Members Include:
- Pro level outdoor and Zwift virtual training with the 2017 women’s Kona runner-up Lucy Charles and world record holder Tim Don
- Free smart trainer & treadmill
- Specialized bike, shoes and gear
- Wind tunnel optimization & Retul fitting sessions at the Specialized Headquarters in California
- $1,500 USD toward expenses for a 2018 Ironman qualifying event
- Flights, lodging and entry fees for the 2018 Ironman World Championship
To apply for the Tri Team, you must be in Zwift cycling level 10 or higher. Final selections will be announced on 5th April. The online application is available at http://www.zwift.com/academy.
Have you heard of the new Zwift Run yet? If not, read Trizone’s recent article, Zwift Set to Revolutionise Indoor Running.
USA Triathlon Announces 2018 Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series Calendar
USA Triathlon today announced that its Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series is set to return for the seventh consecutive year, with more than 55 swim-run events planned in cities across the United States this season.
The series, launched in 2012 with 30 events, is designed to introduce youth athletes between the ages of 7 and 15 to the multisport lifestyle through the fast-growing discipline of aquathlon. With a focus on participation and fun, rather than competition, many of the events are not timed.
At all Splash & Dash events, participants ages 7-10 will complete a 100-meter pool swim and a 1-kilometre run, while athletes ages 11-15 will complete a 200m pool swim and a 2k run. All participants receive a t-shirt, custom finisher’s medal and giveaways from the Boy Scouts of America and the USA Swimming Foundation, both partners of the series.
The 2018 season kicks off in mid-March and runs through October, with events hosted in each of USA Triathlon’s six Regions. USA Triathlon partnered with race directors, community centres, coaches, clubs, and parks and recreation departments to solidify the slate of more than 55 events, a record high for the series. USA Triathlon staff will also host the annual Colorado Springs, Colorado, event, which is presented by SafeSplash Swim School, on Aug. 19.
“With the seventh iteration of the USA Triathlon Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series, we will introduce more kids than ever to multisport in a single season,” said Brian D’Amico, USA Triathlon Director of Events. “Increasing youth participation is a major focus not only for USA Triathlon but for the industry as a whole through the recently-launched Time to Tri initiative. We look forward to working with each of the hosts on this year’s Splash & Dash calendar to make the 2018 series the most successful yet.”
The Splash & Dash series saw record participation in 2017, with 2,250 youth athletes competing in 50 events nationwide.
Visit usatriathlon.org/splashanddash for the latest calendar and complete information on the series. The series calendar and locations are subject to change.
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