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Australian Pro and Age Group Results from the 2011 Marines 70.3 Ironman World Championship

A huge contingent of Australians raced in Las Vegas this weekend at the world 70.3 champs. We haven’t had time to go through the individual results (and may not) but in the article are all the listed Australians who raced. If you know of any outstanding performences amongst the age groupers please let us know. Apart from the outstanding performances by Craig Alexander and Melissa Rollison, Jarrod Owen was the first male age grouper home and Kelly McCombie was the first female age grouper home.



A huge contingent of Australians raced in Las Vegas this weekend at the world 70.3 champs. We haven’t had time to go through the individual results (and may not) but below are all the listed Australians who raced (and who were down but didn’t). If you know of any outstanding performences amongst the age groupers please let us know. Apart from the outstanding performances by Craig Alexander and Melissa Rollison, Jarrod Owen was the first male age grouper home and Kelly McCombie was the first female age grouper home.

Email Karl with any info you have.

For full details visit the race website

Alexander, Craig 38/MPRO 0:24:45 2:14:47 1:11:50 3:54:48
Gambles, Joe 29/MPRO 0:24:45 2:15:09 1:16:50 4:00:00
Matthews, Paul 28/MPRO 0:24:27 2:15:45 1:17:12 4:00:26
Berkel, Tim 27/MPRO 0:26:33 2:14:44 1:17:04 4:02:01
Ambrose, Paul 27/MPRO 0:24:44 2:15:05 1:23:08 4:06:02
White, Matty 34/MPRO 0:25:37 2:20:17 1:26:18 4:15:26
Owen, Jarrod 30/M30-34 0:31:51 2:24:06 1:20:42 4:20:46
Rollison, Melissa 28/FPRO 0:28:27 2:27:57 1:21:14 4:20:55
McKenzie, Luke 30/MPRO 0:24:38 2:28:42 1:25:12 4:22:11
Burton, Matt 23/M18-24 0:29:19 2:23:52 1:25:06 4:22:25
Gordon, Adam Gordon 29/M25-29 0:31:15 2:28:33 1:30:11 4:34:18
Maxwell, Levi 22/M18-24 0:29:01 2:28:12 1:33:08 4:35:03
Bradford, Christopher 37/M35-39 0:30:40 2:33:46 1:27:26 4:35:37
Price, Alexander 30/M30-34 0:28:25 2:29:39 1:33:28 4:36:08
Sym, Christie 28/FPRO 0:29:17 2:32:19 1:31:48 4:36:52
Wu, Michelle 28/FPRO 0:28:04 2:38:15 1:26:55 4:37:03
McDonald, Deiter 38/M35-39 0:29:30 2:29:05 1:35:46 4:38:48
Marsden, James 31/M30-34 0:33:09 2:40:40 1:28:09 4:46:49
Zofrea, Vince 44/M40-44 0:31:15 2:39:16 1:33:09 4:48:37
Leong, Clinton 39/M35-39 0:34:14 2:45:06 1:24:48 4:48:42
Firley, Albie 38/M35-39 0:33:47 2:41:12 1:34:38 4:53:24
Ellis, Steve 36/M35-39 0:37:45 2:45:19 1:25:12 4:53:42
Gestakovski, John 46/M45-49 0:34:26 2:31:05 1:43:24 4:54:55
Gollach, Amos 22/M18-24 0:36:56 2:42:56 1:34:02 4:58:36
Ison, Brett 38/M35-39 0:36:27 2:35:28 1:40:05 4:59:00
McCombie, Kelly 32/F30-34 0:33:04 2:43:12 1:37:47 4:59:10
Betts, Shaun 21/M18-24 0:33:38 2:40:44 1:41:27 5:00:06
Preddy, Grant 25/M25-29 0:30:31 2:41:46 1:47:48 5:04:29
Nicholls, Alan 54/M50-54 0:36:29 2:39:14 1:41:51 5:05:16
Jones, Keith 46/M45-49 0:37:03 2:43:14 1:40:21 5:06:17
Kyme, Katie 30/F30-34 0:33:30 2:47:14 1:44:01 5:10:31
Morris, Andrew 42/M40-44 0:42:03 2:42:55 1:44:09 5:14:19
Smith, Chris 34/M30-34 0:41:43 2:49:24 1:36:06 5:15:06
Kennedy, Ian 41/M40-44 0:35:39 2:44:19 1:50:25 5:16:04
Martin, David 44/M40-44 0:37:34 2:36:02 1:58:03 5:17:28
Ashby, Caroline 34/F30-34 0:37:07 3:03:19 1:34:57 5:19:37
Webster, Julie 36/F35-39 0:38:25 2:52:25 1:48:01 5:24:17
Short, Andrew 52/M50-54 0:35:57 2:57:40 1:46:21 5:25:52
Trigg, Cade 23/M18-24 0:37:26 2:48:41 1:56:32 5:28:07
King, Brendan 50/M50-54 0:35:45 2:53:45 1:53:48 5:29:33
Dunstan, Mike 55/M55-59 0:41:20 2:50:15 1:53:30 5:31:27
Cullen, Nancy 54/F50-54 0:34:50 3:02:45 1:49:55 5:33:43
Ogden, Raija 43/F40-44 0:39:22 3:01:19 1:48:07 5:34:19
Durbridge, Nigel 43/M40-44 0:39:53 2:45:34 2:02:38 5:34:40
Camm, Brett 45/M45-49 0:31:40 2:54:37 1:59:30 5:35:06
McClure, Alice 37/F35-39 0:33:24 3:04:07 1:52:36 5:35:53
Humphrey, Ian 34/M30-34 0:38:52 2:53:47 1:55:31 5:36:15
Kuiper, Petro 44/F40-44 0:33:31 3:02:48 1:58:24 5:39:19
Hawkins, John 56/M55-59 0:40:06 3:01:10 1:51:15 5:40:47
Harris, Laura 22/F18-24 0:36:17 2:59:26 2:01:51 5:42:29
Watt, Blue 54/M50-54 0:37:03 3:09:24 1:50:31 5:47:34
Stebler, Werner 60/M60-64 0:45:28 2:53:52 2:01:21 5:47:38
Cloros, Rachael 42/F40-44 0:43:58 3:04:13 1:54:25 5:48:10
Pfeiffer, Tomie 34/F30-34 0:37:31 3:04:13 2:05:36 5:53:51
Youngson, Rochelle 32/F30-34 0:39:48 3:04:52 2:01:27 5:55:02
Michell, Kim 31/F30-34 0:46:23 3:11:15 1:49:58 5:55:16
Cullen, Jolene 29/F25-29 0:33:51 2:58:16 2:22:51 5:59:34
Sorenson, Sarah 29/F25-29 0:35:57 3:03:58 2:15:31 6:01:30
Rockliff, Clair 22/F18-24 0:37:36 3:05:55 2:13:39 6:02:29
Caiafa, Alison 53/F50-54 0:43:03 3:15:00 1:57:37 6:03:34
Finlayson, Rebecca 33/F30-34 0:36:04 3:16:50 2:07:00 6:06:37
Glass, Stephanie 28/F25-29 0:36:44 3:17:38 2:07:17 6:07:19
Turner, Graeme 44/M40-44 0:42:53 2:55:04 2:25:39 6:09:34
Thorne, Christina 37/F35-39 0:37:47 3:15:26 2:25:13 6:25:43
Pritchard, David 61/M60-64 0:48:30 3:23:28 2:08:28 6:34:11
McGrath, Les 67/M65-69 0:39:20 3:18:50 2:48:15 6:52:32
Williams, Pamela 59/F55-59 0:43:15 3:36:09 2:31:49 7:02:53
Gay, Robert 70/M70-74 1:09:19 3:55:32 2:56:42 8:13:56
Hunt, Jamie 39/M35-39 0:29:02 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00
Atanasovska, Olivia 33/F30-34 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00
Brown, Steve 62/M60-64 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00
Cook, Cindy 30/F30-34 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00
Deering, Paul 53/M50-54 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00
Gardner, Paul 41/M40-44 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00
Harris, Robert 34/M30-34 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00
Hughes, Peter 32/M30-34 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00
Lloyd, Felicity 29/F25-29 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00
McLaren, Therese 29/F25-29 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00
Mitchell, Mary 52/F50-54 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00
Pomery, Mark 43/M40-44 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00 0:00:00



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.


News & Racing

Commonwealth Games Duo Matt Hauser and Luke Willian Up the Pace at the Gold Coast Triathlon



Australian Commonwealth Games team members Luke Willian and Matt Hauser put on a display of speed and power running and riding, thrilling the crowd and letting everyone know they are on track for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.

The pair didn’t have it all their own way with Brisbane athlete (and Willian’s training partner) Luke Burns keeping them honest and announcing himself as a talent to watch in 2018.

The Luke Harrop Memorial has always been a favourite race for Willian and his passion for racing on the Gold Coast hasn’t diminished, stamping his authority from the gun.

“I am really happy and it is nice to get the win for sure, especially in such a hot field. They pushed me all day but I was happy to get over the top in the end and get the win. When I found out it was a duathlon nothing really changed. The processes are exactly the same and we train for all these occasions. I knew I could do it and I ran well here last year so I was confident. It didn’t really change much about the race. The best guys were still at the front.”

“I probably went out a little too hard but I wanted to test the waters and see if anyone wanted to come with me. Sometimes in a duathlon it all just stays together on the first run, so I just wanted to string them out and put a bit more pressure on, so it didn’t just come down to a big bunch on the bike. I wanted to make it a bit more like a triathlon, where the swim strings things out.”

“There was a group of about 10-12 on the bike rolling around in good pace and we kept the chase pack away. Onto the run I was second out of transition. Matt had a go at the first turn around and made it three guys and I had a crack at the half way turn around and it was pretty much just me from then on,” he said.

Willian said he has pulled up really well after what was the first run, in a race situation, this season.

“There was pressure in the run and the pressure of a National Championship but I am feeling great. It was good to be starting to feel fast and it is a nice confidence booster moving into the next block of training, where we will really wind it up. I was delighted how many people came out and watched, the crowd was deep and come Games time it’s going to be massive and it is really exciting to see and have the spotlight on our sport,” he said.

Matt Hauser didn’t let the change of format phase him and the World Junior champion turned in another impressive performance justifying his Commonwealth Games selection.

“We found out the night before it was going to be a duathlon and my roommate and I looked at each other and it was ‘Oh well, stuff happens, move on and get on with it’. That is what we did. Had an early wake up at about 3.30am, headed down to race site. I was feeling confident in my run and I ended up having a good race.”

“The pace was on from the get-go. Luke Willian sprinted from the start and everyone was chasing him for a while and then a group of about 10 of us solidified at the front. I tried to get out of T1 quickly and had a gap for a while but got pulled back. That was just me trying to test the legs out. Even if it was a triathlon I still would have tried to get out early and see what everyone had.”

“We worked together on the bike and I got off the bike and was running with a few boys that I train with and the Brisbane boys Luke Willian and Luke Burns. Out of the top turn, I accelerated but the two Lukes were both with me but eventually, Luke Willian split us both up.”

“The way my training volume has been with the niggles that I have had, I am okay to come second in a quality field like that. I am really happy and it is a good step forward for me. The legs are sorer than if I had done a triathlon, but it was a very positive race for me. I think I executed the processes well, ran well and certainly felt strong on the bike. So they are all good signs heading into April and my next few races.”

“It is only onwards and upwards from here and I will start to increase the volume and intensity. ITU Mooloolaba will be a great hit out and the field that is assembling is world class and will be similar to the Comm Games field. I won’t leave Queensland until the Games now, so I will be right at home and ready to go. It was an amazing atmosphere out here and it will only be tenfold come April,” Hauser said.

Emma Jeffcoat winner of the 2018 Gold Coast Triathlon.

In the women’s race Emma Jeffcoat scored a welcome National title despite losing her favourite swim leg with the change to the duathlon format. Backing up from her win at the Oceania Cup, the Sydney based former surf lifesaver didn’t have it all her own way. Pushed to the limit from the gun, Emma hung tough and scored a welcome victory setting her up for good training block in preparation for her tilt at ITU Mooloolaba in March.

“It was good to go back to back. I wanted to show that I could back up and even without the swim, my favourite part. That is racing. It could happen at any level, the same rules apply, you’ve got to be adaptable and get on with it.”

“Some really strong competition, in the U23’s, which is really exciting. Great to have those girls push me along. But there is no rest for the wicked, straight back into training. I will have next weekend off racing and then get ready for Mooloolaba World Cup,” she said.

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News & Racing

Dylan Rock Lost a Bet but Gained So Much More



There are a million and one reasons for starting your triathlon career and every one of them is totally valid and makes perfect sense (at the time). But former cyclist Dylan Rock has one of the most interesting reasons for turning to the world of swim/ride and run.

Fourteen years ago, he lost a bet.

“It all happened because many years ago I lost a bet to a friend of mine Lisa Flint that I could beat her over a 1km time trial. I was an elite cyclist and she was an open/pro triathlete and a runner but little did I know that eventually, Lisa would go on to represent Australia in the marathon in the New Delhi Commonwealth Games.”

Lisa’s sub-three minute kilometre was just too quick for Dylan so, she won and he had to enter his first ever triathlon.

“Ironically my first race was the Luke Harrop Memorial triathlon and being a cyclist I thought it would be easy, just turn up and do it. I didn’t even think to take goggles. Lucky for me triathletes are amazing people. A man on the start line took pity on me and had his wife run to the car and get his spare pair for me, just to make sure my day went well.”

“I was fourth last in my age group out of the water and first off the bike and I ran home in fifth place. I immediately I knew that these where my people and that kind stranger and his family are still good friends now.”

“From there I was hooked and I changed sports but still love the bike leg the most,” he reflected.

Since that fateful day on the Gold Coast, Dylan has gotten a touch more serious in his approach to his triathlon and over the years has competed in every distance, including six IRONMAN, and 29 IRONMAN 70.3 plus countless standard distance races and sprints.

Dylan’s involvement in triathlon got even more serious eight years ago after he took up coaching and established a triathlon and cycling speciality shop on the Gold Coast called Vital Cycles with a full indoor training centre for cycling and running.

Dylan is looking forward to getting back into racing after a tough few years away from the sport and the Luke Harrop Memorial is a nice warm-up for his plans to do IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie in May.

“In 2015-2016 I lost five friends to suicide and it was a very hard time for friends and family. I fell into depression and stopped training for a while but with the help of my wife, my close friends, family and my physiologist I regained my drive for life.”

“Having gone through that period I felt like had to try and do something to help raise awareness for this very important but prickly subject. So with help from some friends, we started a charity ride called Chapter 10. We rode from Southport on the Gold Coast to Coolum on the Sunshine Coast in a day, 240kms to help raise money and awareness for Beyond Blue.”

“This year on 4 August, ‘Chapter 10’ will be riding again for the local charity Head Space that deals with youth mental health issues and TYPO (Take Your Pineapples Out) a suicide awareness charity that main goal is to get people talking about suicide and reaching out to each other for help.”

“We will be riding from Vital Cycles in Labrador to Mooloolaba which is about 200kms in a day and we are opening up spots for riders to join us again. All the info will be available on the ‘Chapter 10 the ride home’ Facebook page or people can just come in store to find out more.”

Dylan said the ‘Chapter 10’ rides and the amazing people he keeps meeting in the sport of triathlon have given him back the motivation to train again.

“The Luke Harrop Memorial is one race really looking forward to and I am hoping to get the kick I need to get back to IRONMAN racing. I know the amazing atmosphere at the Gold Coast Triathlon and other competitors will help me remember why I love racing and training,” he said.

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Commonwealth Games Pair return for Luke Harrop Memorial



Queensland Commonwealth Games representatives Matt Hauser and Luke Willian and inform Sydney nursing graduate Emma Jeffcoat will headline Sunday’s Gold Coast Triathlon/Luke Harrop Memorial and Australian Sprint Championships at Southport.

The biggest domestic race on the Gold Coast is dedicated to the life and times of one of the Coast’s most talented and popular athletes, Luke Harrop, who, at just 23 on January 12, 2002, lost his life as the result of a traffic incident while on a warm-up ride in preparation for the second race of the 2002 Accenture Triathlon Series.

It will be a fitting return to racing for both Hauser and Willian, who along with Jake Birtwhistle (Tasmania) will make up an exciting, new-look Games men’s team for the Games April 5 opening event.

Sydney’s Jeffcoat, the former champion surf lifesaver, showed she is ready to tackle all comers after her impressive win to conquer last week’s Oceania Championships in Devonport, beating noted pair Natalie Van Coevorden (NSW) and Games girl Charlotte McShane (Victoria.)

Jeffcoat will be up against a host of emerging talent, including WA pair Jessica Claxton and Gold Coast-based Kira Hedgeland, 2014 Youth Olympic champion Brittany Dutton (QLD) and the talented Sophie Malowiecki (QLD).

The cream of Australia’s paratriathletes will also be in action, led by Paralympic gold medallist Katie Kelly (NSW) and fellow Rio team mates Bill Chaffey (NSW), Nic Beveridge (QLD) and Brant Garvey (WA), who all contested last week’s inaugural Paratriathlon World Cup in Devonport.

Sunday will also see the official announcement of the Australian paratriathlon team for the Commonwealth Games – all in the PTWC (Wheelchair) class.

Gold Coast-based Triathlon Australia High Performance and Paratriathlon coach Dan Atkins is excited about Sunday’s racing, that will also see the cream of Australia’s Age Groupers, chasing double points setting their sights on qualifying for the 2018 ITU World Championships, to be hosted on the Gold Coast in September.

Atkins said many of the athletes who competed in Devonport last weekend had recovered from the racing and travel and those who didn’t race can’t wait to join in the action.

“I know as far as Matt (Hauser) is concerned he is chomping at the bit to get into Sunday’s race,” said Atkins.

“He hasn’t raced since last September and with the countdown on for the Games, he is getting ready to rock.

“And I know from talking to coach Warwick Dalziel, that Luke (Willian) will be in the same boat.

“It will be a good benchmark with both the boys in the Luke Harrop as well as a host of the other boy’s keen to push it.

“Matt loves getting out and training with his mates every day and that’s what keeps him going and as for me I have to protect that youth and enthusiasm; that excitement of a boy who is still only 19.

“We have a great group and they are all doing it together and for each other.”

Hauser, originally from Hervey Bay, had a stellar year in 2017, winning the ITU World Junior Championship in Rotterdam and combining with Birtwhistle, McShane and Gold Coaster Ashleigh Gentle to win Australia’s first ever Mixed Teams Relay World Championship in Hamburg.

Willian, the Under 23 ITU World Championship bronze medallist in Rotterdam, had a hit out at the recent Burleigh-Swim-Run, winning the event for the second time on Australia Day and coach Dalziel couldn’t be happier with his progress.

“Luke has been working well on a lot of specific stuff and we’re looking forward to getting into race mode again,” said Dalziel.

“He had a good hit out at Burleigh and it was just at the right time but now it’s time to focus on putting his first race together.”

The 750m swim; 20-kilometre bike and five-kilometre run is the same Sprint Distance as the Games – for both the Elites and Paratriathletes.

This weekend will also feature the 2018 Australian National Cross Triathlon and Aquathlon Championships at Lake Crackenback on Saturday.

Australia’s number one Cross Triathlete Ben Allen and his wife Jacqui Allen (Great Britain) are the headline acts in the Elite fields.

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News & Racing

USA Triathlon Announces 2018 Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series Calendar



USA Triathlon today announced that its Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series is set to return for the seventh consecutive year, with more than 55 swim-run events planned in cities across the United States this season.

The series, launched in 2012 with 30 events, is designed to introduce youth athletes between the ages of 7 and 15 to the multisport lifestyle through the fast-growing discipline of aquathlon. With a focus on participation and fun, rather than competition, many of the events are not timed.

At all Splash & Dash events, participants ages 7-10 will complete a 100-meter pool swim and a 1-kilometre run, while athletes ages 11-15 will complete a 200m pool swim and a 2k run. All participants receive a t-shirt, custom finisher’s medal and giveaways from the Boy Scouts of America and the USA Swimming Foundation, both partners of the series.

The 2018 season kicks off in mid-March and runs through October, with events hosted in each of USA Triathlon’s six Regions. USA Triathlon partnered with race directors, community centres, coaches, clubs, and parks and recreation departments to solidify the slate of more than 55 events, a record high for the series. USA Triathlon staff will also host the annual Colorado Springs, Colorado, event, which is presented by SafeSplash Swim School, on Aug. 19.

“With the seventh iteration of the USA Triathlon Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series, we will introduce more kids than ever to multisport in a single season,” said Brian D’Amico, USA Triathlon Director of Events. “Increasing youth participation is a major focus not only for USA Triathlon but for the industry as a whole through the recently-launched Time to Tri initiative. We look forward to working with each of the hosts on this year’s Splash & Dash calendar to make the 2018 series the most successful yet.”

The Splash & Dash series saw record participation in 2017, with 2,250 youth athletes competing in 50 events nationwide.

Visit for the latest calendar and complete information on the series. The series calendar and locations are subject to change.

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News & Racing

St. Anthony’s Triathlon Announced as 2018 USAT Regional Championship



USA Triathlon (USAT) has selected St. Anthony’s Triathlon as a 2018 Regional Championship Race. The 35th annual St. Anthony’s Triathlon will take place on April 29, 2018 with approximately 3,000 athlete participants competing over the race weekend.

As a USAT Regional Championship site, registered USAT athletes can qualify from the St. Anthony’s Triathlon for the 2018 Olympic-Distance National Championships in Cleveland, Ohio to be held on August 11, 2018. In order to qualify for the National Championships, competitors must finish in the top 33 percent or top five (whichever is greater) competitors per their respective age groups. In addition, this year’s St. Anthony’s Triathlon will also serve as the USAT Southeastern Regional Championship.

“We are proud to have been selected again as a USAT Regional Championship race,” said Susan Daniels, race director for St. Anthony’s Triathlon. “This event hosts some of the best athletes in the world, and we are honoured to offer triathletes the opportunity to qualify for the USAT National Championship on our St. Petersburg course.”

The St. Anthony’s Triathlon is also making some exciting changes to the event by extending the Sports and Fitness Expo from a two-day to three-day event and holding all Triathlon events in one park instead of two. The Sports and Fitness Expo will take place from April 27-29 St. Petersburg’s waterfront Vinoy Park. “Extending our sports and fitness expo gives our competitors more opportunities to check out the latest race gear and moving to one location, makes it more convenient for them,” said Daniels.

For kids and novice adults, the Meek & Mighty Triathlon occurs on April 28, and the main Triathlon, for both Olympic and Sprint distance races, runs on April 29.

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News & Racing

Ironman 70.3 Geelong: Sam Appelton Too Strong and Nina Derron Wins in a Thriller



IRONMAN’s 40th Anniversary was celebrated in grand style and the gods were smiling with IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong replicating some of the sport’s greatest drama with a sprint, fall, stumble, lunge finish between Nina Derron (SUI) and Melbourne rookie Grace Thek. The men’s race also lived up to the excellence of the preceding decades with a stunning performance by defending champion Sam Appleton.

Spectators had been enthralled by the epic battle between Appleton, Josh Amberger, Jake Montgomery and Ryan Fisher but just when they thought they had seen a thrilling race, the guys were upstaged by the emotional and physical roller coaster that was the women’s event.

Barwon Heads local Claire Davis was the first female to reach dry land (26:07) with Kirralee Seidel, Nina Derron (SUI) and Grace Thek in touch and eager to get onto the 90km bike leg. Derron was looking to control the race and at 45km she had extended her lead to 3:30 over Davis, Thek and the charging Laura Dennis. Seidel picked up a penalty and lost touch completely, finding herself nine minutes down. At three quarter distance Dennis managed to ride herself into second place with Thek and Davis in a tight battle for third and fourth place.

With Swiss precision, Derron lead into T2 by five minutes over the chasing pair of Dennis and Thek, with the local hope a further minute down. In the second half of the 21km run things started to change radically. Derron started to feel the pinch and Thek literally found her feet and charged through the field to find herself leading her very first IRONMAN 70.3. Thek was heading for a 70.3 victory on debut and with the finish line in sight, the former US college runner started to pay the penalty for her early over-exuberance.

“I was hoping to do four-minute pace but for the first three km I found myself doing 3:30 and I really paid for it on the last lap. I was about four and a half minutes down off the bike and I didn’t know if that was achievable. When I was two minutes down with a lap to go I thought it was possible but the end was just devastating. When I passed Nina I just wanted enough room so that it didn’t come down to a sprint finish. I was really suffering with my legs over the last 6km and I was just trying to get forward momentum. I was getting all sorts of splits from people on the course, so I really didn’t know.”

“When I came into the finish chute I was thinking I am almost there, just stay in the game but I started sprinting which was a big mistake on my part because I knew that my legs were already suffering pretty badly. Then I fell the first time when my quads locked up. When I fell to the ground I saw Nina and she wasn’t as close as everyone had made out. So I quickly got up and started running and two metres before the line I fell over again. I was all over the place and got a bit of a nudge which didn’t help.”

“In hindsight, the sprint was not a good idea. It is a lesson learned, don’t listen to anyone except for my coach and people I trust. I don’t condone looking back in a race but looking for myself might have been a good move here. These are the things I can take into the next race. It is disappointing to be that close and not come away with the win but coming in, I had no expectations. It is my first 70.3 and has been a positive day, so I am eager for more now,” Grace said.

Derron’s win was her first over the IRONMAN 70.3 distance and while ecstatic with the result, she had great sympathy for Thek.

“I really struggled on the second lap of the run. I just had to stay focused because I knew that Grace was flying and I just tried to hold on to the lead for as long as possible. There were huge mind games going on in my head and people were telling me to go get her. She was 50m in front with only a 100m to go but I knew I couldn’t out sprint her. I saw her starting to stumble and then she fell and all I saw was the finish line and I accelerated and came past her.”

“It was a really strange finish to a really crazy day. I am happy for my win but I am also sad for Grace that it happened. It was her first 70.3 race so she did a really good job. It was another lesson I learned, that it is not over until it is over. Never give up, it is really true,” Nina declared.

In the men’s race, it was Aussie Olympian Ryan Fisher who took the swim honours (22:34), narrowly nudging out Josh Amberger over the glassy 1.9km course. As the pair headed to T1, they were hotly pursued by a bunch of three, defending champion Sam Appleton, Jack Tierney and Matt Franklin with the second chase pack that included Jake Montgomery almost a minute off the pace.

Appleton was keen to make up the swim deficit and in no time at all the lead duo became a trio, with the defending champion in touch and pushing the early pace. Only seconds separated the leaders at half distance with Jake Montgomery 20s further behind and riding himself into contention. The final kilometres of the ride saw some big moves from Lachlan Kerin, Montgomery and Jack Tierney. Off the bike, it was a bunch of six who entered T2 ready to celebrate the IRONMAN Anniversary by flogging each other senselessly over the super quick 21km coastal course.

Slick transitions had Appleton, Amberger and Fisher on the road first with Tierney, Montgomery and Kieran hoping to match pace over the opening kilometres. It was Appleton who was intent on inflicting some hurt and tearing up the tarmac and while the first small gaps started to appear it was only early days. At 10km Appleton looking strong and a minute to Fisher, with Amberger and Montgomery running shoulder to shoulder, with Tierney and Kieran in their own battle for fifth and sixth.

The defending champ knew what he had to do and despite suffering over the second half of the run he was able to pull it all together.

“It is the first race of the year and you don’t really know what to expect. I knew if I was fit, I just didn’t know if I was race fit. I gave it my best shot and fortunately, I was able to come away with the win. The guys kept me honest all day and it was really tough. There were six of us going into transition and that second pack rode really well. We rode really firm on the first lap and I didn’t expect to hit the U-turn and see them right there. You never want to go into the run with six guys, I would prefer there were less but I just had to back myself. I laid it out in the beginning and got a gap and then it was about holding on from there.”

“It is crazy that this sport only started 40 years and look at the evolution. Every year it changes and is getting faster and harder. I am proud to be part of the generation that is helping that evolution. I am honoured to be here in Geelong and be able to back up and defend my title. It is a great course here in Geelong, I love it. It is beautiful and one of my favourite races. It is really challenging on the run. The course profile doesn’t show it but it is really hard run. It has a bit of everything. I can’t wait to come back, I love opening up the season here,” he said.

Women’s results

1          Nina DERRON (#26)               04:26:11

2          Grace THEK (#31)                  04:26:18

3          Laura DENNIS (#25)               04:29:38

4          Kirralee SEIDEL (#22)             04:33:36

5          Melanie BURKE (#23)             04:34:46


Men’s results

1          Sam APPLETON (#1)             03:45:52

2          Josh AMBERGER (#2)           03:47:21

3          Ryan FISHER (#5)                  03:49:09

4          Jake MONTGOMERY (#3)     03:49:57

5          Jack TIERNEY (#16)               03:52:18

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