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 â€˜come from behind win’ I asked Jo how the race panned out and whether everything went as planned. â€œI 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 wellâ€.
How do you feel about the 2011 Ironman New Zealand after the win today? â€œNo 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 raceâ€.
I asked Jo if she was on track for a repeat performance of last year. â€œWell 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? â€œI 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 betterâ€. (Read the article on Ironman.com)
â€œMy 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, SRAMâ€.
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. â€œI’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 runâ€.
Janine is coached by New Zealand National Coach Greg Fraine and Accelerate Swim Coach Tim Brazier. â€œOn 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 outâ€.
Simpson’s nausea came under control on the bike and she found the 90km much easier than expected. â€œI 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 conservativeâ€.
â€œOn 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. â€œI 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 nickâ€.
â€œI 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 triathlonsâ€.
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|