Paul Ambrose and Christie Sym win Ironman 70.3 Racine

This weekends Triathlon action across all distances has been a Golden one for Australians with Paul Ambrose claiming top spot, and Christie Sym finally fulfilling her potential by topping the leader board at Ironman 70.3 Racine. The good news for the green and gold does not stop there with Tim Berkel claiming second spot in the mens race and Michelle Wu third in the woman’s race.

Ambrose was on fire from the start, coming out of the water just 6 seconds down on the lead swimmer Kiwi Bryan Rhodes, he quickly moved into the lead on the bike with a split 6 minutes faster than his nearest rivals. Tim Berkel produced the run of the day but it was not enough to make up the gap he had let form over the swim and the bike legs. Rhodes raced the Olympic distance triathlon the day before so was pretty happy with his fourth place at the end of the day.

Craig Alexander had a very uncharacteristic 1:31 but there was a very good reason.  It was great to seeing Stephen Hackett also racing the longer distance after focusing on Olympic distance so far this season in the USA. Stephen finished 19th in the men’s division with a great swim/bike but a very slow run. Possibly due to his focus being on the 10km run but there could have been other reasons.

Christie-Sym-Racine-finish-2011Christie Sym produced her first ever 70.3 win exactly one year after her first ever race as a professional triathlete. This win came after a hetic week including 5 races across 3 states over 2 weekends with four wins out of the five races. Both Christie and her partner Bryan Rhodes did the Olympic distance race the day before.

Sym has been working on her swimming extensively and it is starting to pay dividends. “I exited 3rd out of the water and a minute down on the lead. Still not where I want to be but much better than the 5 plus minutes I had been chasing in my first attempts at the 70.3 distance only a year ago.” On the bike and Sym lead the race until around the 60km mark. “It was at around this point that the week’s racing caught up with me along with Kristen Andrews, taking over my lead. It was here that I chose to control my aggressive and impatient nature, dropping back and collecting myself a little before launching an aggressive attack with 10km to go and entering transition with a small lead.” Christie held this lead for a great first win in 70.3 with nearly 5mins to spare.

Third home in the woman’s field was Michelle Wu. Wu was 2nd out of the water and started strong on the bike. Sym eventually caught Michelle on the bike at about 25miles in to the ride. “These roads were probably the worst I have EVER ridden on! There were bumps every few metres, cracks, pot holes, and generally just a really rough ride! I put all this behind me though and just got on with the job. I took the lead after a few miles and just put my head down and rode strong and hard. Christie Sym passed me looking very strong. I didn’t let her go though and stuck to her until the 30mile mark where I got a flat rear tyre. I didn’t have a spare and after checking with a marshall discovered there would eb a 15-20min wait. So I pushed on and rode approximately 16miles to T2 on the rim.”

Michelle ended up going out on to the run around 7 minutes down on Sym and in 7th place. She pushed out on to the run and was maintaining 3:45-3:50mins/km until some cramps set in. “I have never cramped in a race before, so I was a little surprised! Perhaps it was from slogging it out on just one wheel?? It wasn’t real bad, but still painful as my quads were seizing up somewhat and around mile 5 and 6, I was forced to slow considerably. I shortened my stride as I’ve heard from somewhere that this could help. It did somewhat and the pain went away.” Wu picked up the pace again and continued to pass girls. By the end of the first lap she had made my way into 3rd and on lap 2 gave it everything. “The two girls ahead still had a 3 or 4min gap, and the heat and humidity was starting to get to me. I don’t have the best of records when it comes to racing in hot conditions. My body just doesn’t cope well! I pushed on though and at the far turn around, 2nd female was 45sec ahead. 1st was probably not possible anymore, but 2nd was a good chance!

In the end Michelle Wu finsihed 22 seconds down on 2nd placed Kristin Andrews and about 5 minures behind Christie Sym.

Full results on

1 Ambrose, Paul 27/M PRO 0:24:26 2:04:50 1:20:15 3:51:50
2 Berkel, Tim 27/M PRO 0:26:16 2:10:09 1:18:29 3:57:32
3 Evoe, Patrick 34/M PRO 0:28:40 2:10:10 1:21:36 4:03:14
4 Cartmell, Fraser 29/M PRO 0:24:32 2:11:45 1:26:16 4:04:58
5 Rhodes, Bryan 38/M PRO 0:24:20 2:09:50 1:29:48 4:06:28
6 Paul, Jeff 31/M PRO 0:29:50 2:15:02 1:20:24 4:07:45
7 Francis, Tom 22/M PRO 0:28:22 2:12:12 1:24:45 4:08:05
8 Alexander, Craig 38/M PRO 0:24:46 2:11:40 1:31:06 4:09:52
9 Bohach, Adam 27/M 25-29 0:28:44 2:22:52 1:17:00 4:12:06
10 Wade, Robert 29/M PRO 0:31:57 2:16:20 1:22:52 4:13:40
11 Ruble, Zach 29/M PRO 0:28:21 2:15:57 1:27:07 4:14:22
12 Rau, Ryan 31/M PRO 0:29:41 2:15:03 1:27:29 4:15:06
13 Edwards, Billy 34/M PRO 0:31:48 2:14:11 1:27:42 4:16:21
14 Henkel, Justin 35/M 35-39 0:34:13 2:10:20 1:29:53 4:18:49
15 Meeker, Dennis 40/M 40-44 0:26:51 2:17:15 1:32:24 4:19:57
16 Buttrick, Nathan 31/M 30-34 0:31:47 2:15:56 1:30:20 4:21:35
17 Waninger, Nick 27/M PRO 0:26:42 2:31:57 1:21:08 4:22:28
18 Lanza, Craig 43/M 40-44 0:26:50 2:25:41 1:27:50 4:24:01
19 Hackett, Stephen 29/M PRO 0:24:28 2:11:49 1:45:18 4:24:14
20 Maves, Steve 51/M 50-54 0:33:12 2:21:33 1:26:08 4:25:13


1 Sym, Christie 28/F PRO 0:29:22 2:26:33 1:30:13 4:28:54
2 Andrews, Kristin 30/F PRO 0:31:29 2:24:24 1:34:18 4:33:26
3 Wu, Michelle 28/F PRO 0:28:03 2:34:58 1:27:46 4:33:48
4 Jacobs, Jessica 35/F PRO 0:31:34 2:29:11 1:30:01 4:34:21
5 Phelan, Donna 39/F PRO 0:27:55 2:32:06 1:35:37 4:38:49
6 Davis, Susanne 40/F 40-44 0:29:47 2:35:26 1:32:26 4:40:56
7 Chong, Jessica 26/F PRO 0:31:37 2:26:27 1:41:13 4:42:42
8 Wieck, Sonja 32/F 30-34 0:32:08 2:30:10 1:39:40 4:45:14
9 Amman, Adrienne 32/F 30-34 0:30:27 2:39:11 1:36:27 4:50:41
10 Szefi, Sarah 26/F 25-29 0:39:17 2:36:33 1:30:28 4:50:44
11 Castro, Terra 31/F PRO 0:30:29 2:35:49 1:42:00 4:51:53
12 Cole, Miriam 43/F 40-44 0:38:09 2:27:01 1:44:23 4:54:16
13 Yaremczuk, Natasha 31/F PRO 0:31:37 2:46:50 1:36:32 4:58:14
14 Cornell, Sydney 41/F 40-44 0:31:40 2:35:11 1:47:12 4:59:05
15 Kratz, Emily 33/F 30-34 0:36:43 2:39:16 1:38:48 4:59:32
16 Bruzan, Kara 36/F 35-39 0:43:54 2:36:21 1:36:49 5:01:13
17 Siudak, Kristin 41/F 40-44 0:35:14 2:29:58 1:51:41 5:01:20
18 Ruud, Chantil 40/F 40-44 0:35:57 2:32:51 1:47:30 5:01:36
19 Levin, Megan 41/F 40-44 0:33:51 2:43:54 1:39:06 5:01:47
20 Ohlendorf, Summer 25/F 25-29 0:30:26 2:35:17 1:52:12 5:01:49








Karl Hayes

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.