Leon Griffin and Rebecca Eveleigh have won the Cairns Half 2011. Griffin did it in style finishing over 12 minutes ahead of second placed Joey Lampe. As expected Lampe lead out of the swim and it took until about 3kms after the turnaround for Griffin to catch Lampe. Lampe hung in for about 5kms but couldn’t match the power that Griffin was able to push out today on the bike. The head wind on the bike was a factor for Lampe’s XL frame. On to the run and Lampe had some leg cramps to start with and had to stretch them out initially. The second half of the run was much more comfortable. This has given him a bit of confidence to take away from the race.His run of 1:31 was not fast and with Charlie Low on the charge the end of the race couldn’t have come quick enough.
Next up for Lampe is either Aisa or USA. He is not decided yet and will head back to Lennox Heads to talk it over with his coach.
Leon Griffin looked fast as he hit the road outside the transition area and he never looked back. Initial live timing had the runs very slow but with more accurate results coming through now we are starting to get a better picture. Griffin’s run was a 1:22 in very tough, hot conditions.
The run of the day went to usual age grouper Charlie Low. Low had one of the slowest swims of the top 20. His bike was handy but off the pace. Where Charlie came in to his own was on the run. He ran almost four minutes faster than Griffin to post a 1:18:59 for the half marathon to take third overall. Low’s swim was 117 fastest overall, his bike was 21st fastest overall but his run was the 2nd fastest to give him 3rd overall. Low is well known in Sydney running and triathlon circles. In 2005 he was 4th overall in the Sydney Running Festival half marathon with a 1:10.
Rebecca Eveleigh put in an unusually strong bike after recently changing her nutrition to include more calories. This certainly had the desired effect as she powered away on the bike and felt really strong throughout. This was Rebecca’s breakthrough open category win and she couldn’t contain her excitement at the finish and in the recovery tent.
New Zealand’s Hannah Lawrence had one of the fastest runs of the day and pulled back about half of the gap that Eveleigh had opened up on the bike but it wasn’t enough to get her the number one spot. The fastest run of the day went to age grouper Claire Goldsmith who ran 1:30:04 to rival many of the top guys. Lawrence only turned pro last year and is still very new at this level. Her swim was off the pace and she acknowledged after that this is the main focus going forward. Lawernce to this stage has been racing with the support of her sponsors Myongenic and Orgran.
Nicole Ward came out of the swim in equal first place along with Ali Fitch and Alice Weaver. She toughed it out after suffering stomach cramps in the swim and throwing up the first half of her nutrition on the bike. Ward stayed in the race though and made it home with a solid 3rd place overall. Ward collapsed as she finsihed and spent the next hour in the medical tent cooling down and getting rehyrdated. Both Ward and Eveleigh raced Ironman Australia 5 weeks ago with Ward edging out Eveleigh and coming 4th in the women’s race.
A pro triathlete we haven’t seen racing for four years is Ali Fitch. Ali had her comeback race this weekend but punctured twice and at one point waited for 45mins on the side of the road. Speaking to her after the race while we were watching the women’s Challenge Cairns race unfold she spoke about how frustrated she has been not being able to race for the last four years. When injury forced her to stop Fitch was at the top of her game and was getting podiums in major long distance triathlons. She has suffered a lot with many surgeries on different parts of her body including her hip and after a bike crash her skull. She was upbeat about the day even though her race was over after the bike leg. She still ran the half marthon and finished the race with a 1:37 run without pushing herself too much. Ali will be racing Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene on June 26.
Kate Schultz was in the mix when she came off the bike but a 2:03 run had her finishing a long way off the pace.
Luke Gillmer, racing his second professional race, was pinged with a 5min drafting penalty. Unlike most of us that get done for drafting he admitted that he did get to close at one point when the pace had slowed going up a hill and took it on the chin. He put in a good solid run in the tough conditions knowing that his race had slipped away. He still managed a respectable 8th. It was good to see some solid improvements in Gillmer’s swim which has been his focus recently.
Justin Granger showed that he still has some speed in his run legs. He posted a 1:25 for one of the fastest runs of the day.
German Markus Hein struggled in the hot conditions and was suffering from some bad cramping after finishing the race. He was in good spirits though and enjoyed the race. He put in one of the faster swims of the day and had a reasonably solid bike.
Full race report and photos to come.