By Karl Hayes
Photo Credit: Sophie Hayes
New Zealand’s Joanna Lawn took charge of the 2011 Port Macquarie 70.3 from the start and even though she was passed by a rampaging Melissa Rollison and Belinda Granger got close on the bike she stayed relaxed. When Lawn hit the run the race was over as she powered away from the field although at the start of the run she thought she was in second place. Victoria’s Madeleine Oldfield was second and ACT’s Michelle Wu was third.
Going in to the race Lawn was incredibly relaxed. “I was looking forward to racing again in Australia. It has been 6 years.”
The 12m draft rule seemed to suit Lawn with her stong bike. “It was a long way on my own but I enjoyed getting in to a rhythm and liked the 12m rule. Belinda Granger caught me but stayed a long way back. She came past a couple of times but I didn’t panic and just stayed focused and kept pushing.”
On the run Lawn assumed she was in second place at the start due to being passed on the bike by a flying Melissa Rollison. “Melissa came past me on the bike and was attacking the course like it was a 40km TT. When I got off the bike, her bike was on the rack!! So I assumed she was running. I just took off out of transition as fast as I could.” It wasn’t until Lawn was well in to the run that she realised she was in first place due to Rollison pulling out after the bike.
Jo Lawn is off to Busselton this weekend to take part in the 70.3 and is excited about racing over there. “I have heard so many great things about Busselton and can’t wait to get over there”.
Out of the 15 pro women starters only 5 finished. Mostly it was the bike leg that took its toll on the field.
Proving that you should never give up Oldfield was in fourth place after getting dropped on the bike by Granger, Wu (and Franks for a while) Oldfield managed to pull herself together mentally on the bike and come home with fresher legs than Wu and Granger. This proved to be the difference as she firstly pulled Granger’s lead over her back to nothing then went on to slowly catch Michelle Wu. Wu is renowned for her run but she found that this was not to be on Sunday. The strong head winds for the first 45kms of the bike course took their toll on many.
Madeleine Oldfield’s second place has given her the confidence as she heads to Busselton and on to the USA for our winter. “The first few hills combined with the headwind made for super tough riding and I soon found myself spat out the back. It was at this point that I thought my race was over and all those negative thoughts started to creep in. However I soldiered on and started to feel strong again in the second half. With the legs feeling good, I was looking forward to posting a good run time and try to make up some ground.”
Heading out onto the run Oldfield had no idea what place she was in, but soon had feedback from the crowd that she was in 4th place. “This was a lot better than expected and gave me the confidence to give it my all on the run and try to chase down the girls in front. I was feeling good so stepped up the pace and managed to pick up a few places, and eventually crossed the finish line in 2nd place.”
Madeleine now heads over to Busselton then to the USA where she will now go with a lot of confidence to race 70.3.
Michelle Wu came in to the race with a recent case of Plantar Faciitis that meant she could not run two weeks out from Port. This meant that Wu had no expectations going in to Sunday’s race. “Leading into the race, my run preparation was hampered by the dreaded Plantar Faciitis. Argh! such an annoying pest! Two weeks before Port I couldn’t even run. A week before I managed 40min jogging pain free.Â During race week, another 30min easy. That was it! My run training for Port! I had in my head that if my foot was sore once on the run leg, that I would pull the plug. There was no point risking further injury with my upcoming USA trip.”
Out on the bike and immediately Wu knew it was going to be a tough tough ride. “The wind was blowing me around and it was really tough going. I lost contact with Belinda as she rode off ahead. Mel Rollison then flew past me like I was standing still.. crickey she was MOVING!!”
Michelle headed out on to the run knowing that it was going to be a tough day at the office. “I saw Belinda on the sidelines suffering from cramps not long out of transition, so this put me into what I thought was 3rd. I was in fact 2nd as Rollison had also pulled the pin!Â Only Jo Lawn was ahead of me.” Lawn was in fact a long way ahead. Madeleine Oldfield was now stalking Wu and running very strong.
Wu held on for an eventual 3rd place and some valuable points. Michelle is now heading over to train under her coach Siri Lindley and will then work out her race plan for the year. This will mainly centre around USA 70.3 events.
One of the big disappointments on the day was the 2006 Commonwealth Games silver medalist in the 3000 meter steeplechase, Melissa Rollison pulling out after 1km on the run. Melissa had unfortunately rolled her ankle on the Saturday night before the race. After starting the bike over a minute down on the main field she entered T2 over eight minutes ahead of the field and as one of the stronger runners she would have been hard to run down.
Some other great performances on the day belonged to Melinda Cockshutt who was the first female age grouper home on the day in 4:50. Next age grouper home was 54 year old Nancy Cullen in 7th place overall. Sarah Green in the 45-40 age group posted the 8th fastest run overall for a 2nd place in her age group and 19th overall.
Also congratulations to Jaimielle Jacobs who raced her first 70.3 and finished 30th female over all and 8th in 25-29 with a very fast swim and solid run. While Jaimielle was completing her race a certain Mr Jacobs was getting close to winning his first Australian Ironman title. Well done Jaimielle.
|27||VAN MIDDELDYK, Zoe||32/30-34||0:36:58||2:54:11||1:59:55||5:34:32|
|33||DE WOLF, Sarah||42/40-44||0:43:44||3:03:44||1:50:03||5:42:26|
|57||DE ARAUGO, Anna||28/25-29||0:37:19||3:10:55||2:07:07||5:59:51|