With an untested course,Â 2010 World Ironman Champion, Mirinda Carfrae, said one of the major attractions of the inaugural Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne is that it is a trip into the unknown.
â€œYou go into an inaugural event and the course is a total mystery and the pace of the race is unknown, but everyone is in the same boat. No-one has ever raced over the course, so it is unknown factors that are going to make for a very exciting day for everyone, competitors and spectators.â€
The Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Melbourne sits alongside the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt and the Ironman U.S. Championship in New York as one of the most prestigious Ironman events in the world and Carfrae is excited that Australia has been able to secure such a significant event.
â€œMelbourne is an early season Ironman for me but I have prepared well and feel great. It is important that I have a good result because I want to get my Kona qualification out of the way early on.â€
â€œAnd being one of the big three Ironman races outside of Kona, Melbourne is shaping up to be a really amazing event and it will be a really cool thing to be racing at home.â€
Carfrae had a brief look at the course during a recent trip to Melbourne and was very impressed, but she is aware that Melbourne’s changeable weather might offer up some extra challenges on race day.
â€œAbout a month ago I went down for the launch and we were able to check out the course and drove backwards from St Kilda to Frankston to get a bit of a look at the run course and we drove one way out on the bike course.â€
â€œIt is amazing that they have been able to lock down a toll way and we are able to ride on roads that are that smooth and clean. I think it is going to be a great ride. When we drove the course I remember a decent incline and descent around the tunnel area and from what I hear there can be some crazy winds out there, so I am not expecting the ride to be super fast. It is going to be a tough little race but definitely nice to have smooth roads.â€
â€œThere are a couple of little sharp rises on the run course but for the most part it is flat to undulating but I like it. And a point to point marathon will be very interesting. I like the idea of running to a destination and for me that is more appealing than running out and coming back to the finish line.â€
â€œUnlike the out and back courses you won’t be able to get a look at the opposition and you know exactly how you stand and how the other person is looking. I don’t expect to be off the bike in first place and I am a bit of a chaser and I don’t think that will be any different in Melbourne.â€
â€œYou never know what Melbourne’s weather will be like. You can have crazy winds or rain, you never know what you are going to get down there. Hopefully we will get a pleasant warm day. That is what I am hoping for. But you train for anything.â€
â€œIt is definitely unique to have a tunnel and it is unique to this race, which is very cool. It is always good to do different formats and distances and this Melbourne course will definitely put a different spin on Ironman racing.â€
With her blistering turn of pace over the marathon run, Carfrae is definitely the one to beat but she is impressed by the quality of field that has nominated for Melbourne.
â€œThe field they have lined up is going to guarantee a cracker of a race. There is Rachel Joyce who was fourth in Kona last year, Caroline Steffen was fifth in Kona and Bek Keat who has won a bunch of ironman distance races across the world and Kiwi Jo Lawn who will be ready for a big race after the weather effected Ironman New Zealand.â€
â€œRacing in Melbourne is going to be exciting. I have my family coming, my brother and sister in law and their little ones. Melbourne is known for attracting big crowds to sporting events, so I hope we see everyone out there on the course enjoying the day.â€
An untested course means the winner has the privilege of setting a new course record but Carfrae was cautious of making any predictions.
â€œPosting a course record is not my first thought, because you still have to get to the finish line. I am just excited to be part of an inaugural event and especially one that is going to be an iconic event for many years to come,â€ she said.
The 226km race will take place in Melbourne’s South East and Bayside suburbs. The course will include a 3.8km swim in the Frankston Foreshore, a fast and smooth 180km bike on the EastLink Tollway and 42.2km Brooks run from Frankston to the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship finish line, located at the iconic St. Kilda Sea Baths.