Melissa Rollison has come from behind to win the 2011 Marines 70.3 Ironman world championship. Melissa managed to limit her losses in the swim after coming out of the water with a two minute deficit with the exception of Leanda Cave who completely dominated the swim and was a further minute ahead. Rollison then proceeded to ride past the field and only have Julie Dibens to get past on the run. This she did with her regulation ease. Melissa’s winning margin of six minutes was kind to the opposition as she had backed off on the run once she knew she had a good lead.
New Zealand’s Joanna Lawn was 5th overall and Australians Christie Sym – 9th, Michelle Wu – 10th and Madeleine Oldfield – 19th all had great races.
Rollison’s main focus for this race was to start fast in the swim and try to keep in touch with her main rivals.”Once again I was squished between 27 other girls all fighting for the front line. I got an elbow in the mouth and a kick in the stomach. One day I’ll get a tap on my feet. One day! I was in the pack though. So far so good. After a couple hundred meters the pack thinned out and I found it was a smooth run from then on. I swum on my own for the majority of the swim and managed to pass a few girls along the way but I know my main competitors are up ahead so I stayed focussed and keep swimming hard.”
Once on to the bike Rollison set about riding as hard as she could aware that there were two very strong cyclists ahead of her in Julie Dibens and Leanda Cave. It wasn’t until 60kms when she caught and passed Cave but would come in to T2 with a deficit of around two minutes on Dibens. “I hit T2 worried that I may be around 25mins down on Dibens. So I rushed things a bit, worrying too much about how far ahead Julie was. I was also worried about getting all my gear and SiS hat. I my haste I forgot my socks. As I came out on to the run Jared (Mel’s partner) yelled out to me that I will get her in no time. I caught Julie at the two mile mark then settled down a bit to get in to a comfortable pace but wasn’t pushing myself to hard.”
With a three lap run Rollison knew where she was and started to feel like a world champ with two miles to go.”With less than 2 miles to go my lead cyclist says to me “Well done world champ!”. It put a smile on my face as I thought WORLD CHAMPION! Then I came up on an age group competitor and he increased his pace to stay just ahead of me as he yells back “C’mon Mel, stay strong, you’re the world champ”. I was running down the last hill with less than 1 mile to go and I heard Jared say from the side of the road yell out “You’ve done it Mel, you’re the world champ, enjoy it, smile, wave to the crowd…”. I had a smile on my face right down the finishing straight. I crossed the line and threw my hands over my head. I did it! I won.
“Rudi from Compressport threw me some new world champ (rainbow colours) compression socks to put on. He had some made up with the world champion colours (just in case I guess). Not wearing socks had taken its toll and my shoes were bloody from the 21km run”.
Christie Sym says she has mixed feelings about the race today “I was 5th off the bike after a disappointing swim but my legs fell apart on the run”. Wu on the other hand is over the moon with a top 10 finish at the world champs. “I am grinning from ear to ear. I set myself the goal of finishing to 10. I achieved it! The support on the course was amazing. It was an epic race!”