2XU Falls Creek Triathlon & Mizuno Trail Running Festival 2011
70.3 specialist Leon Griffin was back in winning form taking out the inaugural 2XU Falls Creek Triathlon, ahead of Olympic Triathlon bronze medalist (2000) Jan Rehula, and the Snowy Mountains’ Lindsay Wall.
After talking himself down last week on Trizone Leon came through with a great win. Griffin’s dark horse pic was David Meade who finished 4th overall. Griffin was Jason Shortis’s pic for the race. Jason’s dark horse pic was Monty Frankish who finished 5th one place behind David Meade. Meade somehow manages to train enough to race these times while running a business along with having two young boys. He has to be one of the fastest age groupers going around even though he raced open this weekend.
Leon Griffin’s win is even more significant due to his new working life. “I only train 60-70% of what I used to do when a fulltime athlete. The win feels fantastic. It has been a while between drinks and is so great for the motivation and confidence going forward. I am hoping to back it up with a good performance at the National Long Course Champs next month.”
Griffin managed to catch Jan at about 8km in to the run. “I just kept things ticking along. If there was one thing I learnt from training at altitude all those years its that patience is the key!”
A prize pool of $10,000 was up for grabs as participants battled their way through Australia’s highest triathlon, over the 2km swim, 80km cycle, and 20km trail run.
Falls Creek turned on perfect racing conditions, with the sun streaming down at the break of dawn, treating participants to a breathtaking scenic backdrop as they took on what has proven to be a tough, yet exhilarating course!
Rehula led out the talented field in both the swim and cycle, before being hunted down by Griffin on the arduous trail run.
Storming through the course in the Elite female division was Madeleine Oldfield, who has stepped up to long course this season after her recent unbeaten form in the Gatorade Triathlon Series.
â€œThe course would have to be my favourite triathlon, but was the hardest thing I have done.â€ Oldfield exclaimed as she was presented her 1st place award.
Oldfield held off Liz Blatchford to take a 2 and a half minute lead, followed closely by Michelle Wu in 3rd place.
How times change! After swearing to never do a long distance triathlon again at the end of the Shepparton half ironman in November Madeleine has obviously had a change of heart. Blatchford and Wu may have wished she kept her word.
Madeleine Oldfield had spent some time training over the course a month ago and had a fairly good idea of what to expect. “The course is brutal, starting off with a 2km swim in 15 degree water, followed by a super hilly 80km on the bike, and finishing off with a 20km trail/cross country run. The course alone is tough enough, however we had the added bonus of altitude to contend with. This was not your average race, and I knew that the strongest athlete would come home with the goods at the end of the day. I love tough racing, so couldn’t wait to get started.”
Many have said that not only was this a challenging course, but an amazing event not to missed next year. The feeling of elation was felt amongst competitors as they crossed the finish line.
Oldfield had to come from behind and managed to catch Blatchford on the bike and then was joined by Wu. “I managed to get out on the run course first and just focused on holding a constant pace and getting my nutrition right. As the kilometers ticked over I started to feel stronger and stronger and knew that if I let my lead slip now then I had missed a great opportunity, so I put all I had into getting to that finish line in the top position. I was super excited when it finally came around and I crossed the line in First Place Elite Female and Victorian Long Course Champion.”
Oldfield’s coach, pro triathlete Josh Rix, sounded more excited than Madeleine “For Madeleine to win on that course and to beat a quality women’s field like that so convincingly in only her second time over that distance shows what an amazing athlete she is and the potential that is being realised… lookout!”
Supporting the inaugural triathlon was the Mizuno Trail Running Festival, which saw competitors head out along the scenic aqueduct trail navigating around the Falls Creek Village.
Gordon Meredith and Colleen Middleton took out the Mizuno Falls Creek Half Marathon; Aaron Knight and Melanie Spano won the 10km, and Harrie Weatherall and Chanelle Fraser stepped over the line in first place for the 5km.
2000 people made the journey to Falls Creek, with 850 participating in the events. Falls Creek CEO David Herman was thrilled with the turnout, which he hopes will showcase how spectacular summer in Falls Creek can be.