CAIRNS, Australia (May 24, 2012) â€“ Ironman World Championship 70.3 champion Melissa Hauschildt (nee Rollison) has confirmed she will make her Ironman debut in Cairns but not in the fleet-footed fashion we’ve come to expect from the diminutive Australian.
Despite initially delaying her Ironman debut until 2013 the lure of Kona 2012 was too irresistible for the 29-year-old and the Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns offers her the only opportunity to ratify her spot without interrupting her entire Ironman 70.3 season and defense of her title.
However, a routine MRI scan last week revealed a lower leg injury that if not rested from running could potentially turn into a stress fracture and derail her entire season. After discussing her options she has been cleared to â€˜walk’ the marathon.
â€œI was so disappointed with the results and surprised to be honest, I really didn’t feel it was that bad and just expected to be told to rest it for a few days. I kept hoping it was all just a dream the next day.
â€œI was so nervous about doing an Ironman but once you’ve fully committed that’s your big goal and everything goes into it. Training had been going so well and I’d just started to get excited.
â€œIt’s not ideal but I’d like to go to Kona this year and have a good Ironman 70.3 season, so I am looking on the up side of it all.â€
â€œI was always going to go over and ‘watch’ Kona this year with the idea of racing it next year, but the new selection policy grants current world champions a wild card into Kona, provided they finish one full Ironman – I finally decided to take up the offer.â€
Hauschildt says her main goals this year are to defend her Ironman World Championship 70.3 title and also do well at the Hy-Vee 5150 US Championship.
â€œIt’s a tough call to be firing for all three distances but I’m confident I can handle the distance of a full Ironman now after having completed the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon.
â€œI’m not putting any expectation on myself this year. It’ll be a great experience and I’m sure I’ll be a lot more comfortable going into next year’s world champs with this under my belt.
In comparison to the injuries I sustained as a runner I’m confident that this is only a minor setback and won’t affect my season in the US.
Hauschildt anticipates a 6 hour marathon time putting her at the finish line 12 hours after the start.
There may be some bragging rights up for grabs in the Hauschildt house with husband Jared competing in his debut Ironman and first ever triathlon.
â€œFingers crossed I can catch and pass Mel before she finishes her marathon walk. This might be my only chance to say I beat Mel in a tri,â€ quipped Jared.
â€œI hope Jared still has the legs to come back and walk with me after he flies past me on the run.
â€œI think he will surprise himself as long as he gets his nutrition right. He can swim all day long and we all know he can run like an African. But being such a lean runner he doesn’t have any fat stores to call upon so he’s going to have to eat like crazy,â€ added Mel.