World Ironman 70.3 Champion Melissa Rollison is one of the headline pros racing at the Australian Long Course Championship this weekend in Falls Creek. Along with Rollison will be Josh Rix coached Madeleine Oldfield who won this event last year. Oldfield went to the US last year to gain some valuable experience racing Ironman 70.3 and came back to Australia with a lot of confidence and knowledge.
With the Australian Long Course Champion title up for grabs there is more than usual desire to win a race. This title will help these pro triathletes with sponsorships etc in some way.
Melissa Rollsion set the world on fire last year when she headed over to the US to race 70.3. She was a relative unknown there and pretty soon she had everyone talking. Her run leg was the thing that blew everyone away. She won her first three 70.3s in a row then went on to dominate the World Ironman 703. champs in Las Vegas. The former 3000m Steeplechase Commonwealth Games silver medalist is the quickest female runner in the sport currently over this distance. Rollison has spent years training at Falls Creek and knows the area and climate well.
Madeleine Oldfield has had a great start to the year with a win recently in the Gatorade series. Last year Oldfield had some solid results in her her go at 70.3 racing in the US. Oldfield has spent a few weeks up at Falls Creek recently and can’t wait to race. After Falls Creeks she will head in to a big block of training before heading to the US in May.
The men’s race boasts a number of the worlds faster long distance triathletes. Joe Gambles, Luke Bell, Tim Reed, Mitch Anderson and Sydney 2000 Olympics Bronze medalist Jan Rehula amongst others.
The big question everyone is asking about this weekend’s race is whether Mr Budgy Smuggler, Tim Reed, will be wearing his budgies in the cold weather. With a high of 12 predicted it may be a line call.
Joe Gambles won the Port Macquarie 70.3 in May 2011 against a stella field. Gambles is acknowledged as one of the quickest guys in the world over these distances. Gambles won Ironman Wisconsin in 2010 on debut and broke the course record. In addition he has won numerous long course and 70.3 titles in his career including the European Long Course Champs in 07-08.
Luke Bell, winner of 14 x 70.3 / Half Ironman titles, will be the man to beat this weekend if he is fully race fit and if this is a goal race. Bell has one of the best records over these distances in the world and along with Tim Reed, Joe Gambles, Adam Holborow, David Dellow, Jemani Francis, Lindsay Wall, Ben Allen and company these guys should make this a very interesting race.
Tim Reed, winner of Decembers Canberra 70.3, is renowned as one of the faster runners in the sport. What will be unknown is how much has he improved his swim of late and how he will handle the altitude. Whilst it is not incredibly high it still has an impact on the atheletes.
Dellow has been in Thredbo for approximately 6 weeks which could put him in a very good place with regards to altitude in the race. The main issue that these triathletes will face will be this. The inside word is that Dellow could be the man to beat this weekend.
Francis is a strong swimmer and will be competitive. Last year he was 11th overall in a strong field at the Port Mac 70.3 in May. His run was off but there were a few slow runs that day due to one thing or another.
Monty Frankish was fourth at the recent Canberra 70.3 won by Tim Reed. Monty swam strongly and put in the fastest bike leg on the day.
Lindsay Wall had a good showing in the recent Canberra 70.3. His swim and run were top class. It was only a slower bike time that kept him away from the leaders. He had the second fastest run of the day and one of the quicker swims.
Ben Allen will put the pressure on the swim leg. After leading Aaron Royle out of the water in Woolongong in the Australia Day aquathlon he was eventually run down by a small group of these ITU Whippets. The sometimes Xterra racer loves Falls Creek and this should help him with a psychological edge
Also racing is Michael Fox who usually specialises in Olypmpic distance but is slowly stepping in to the long course races. Fox didn’t have agreat race in the Canberra 70.3 recently and is hoping to make amends this weekend. Fox can swim and run.
More to comeâ€¦