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McCormack and Brown talking themselves down in the 2012 Cairns Airport Cairns Ironman

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Two time Ironman world champion Chris McCormack will head line a world class field to compete at the inaugural 2012 Cairns Airport Cairns Ironman this Sunday.

(Pro start list and top 2011 Cairns results at bottom of article)

A string of world class names in both fields have opted to contest the Cairns event which is a great reflection on the event and sure to produce some outstanding racing.

McCormack is playing down his chances of taking the title having invested most of his efforts in 2012 on making the Australian Olympic team and openly admitting this is the most “under prepared” he has been in an Ironman race.

“This was not through choice, but was forced upon me by changes to the Olympic selection criteria that left me in this position,” said McCormack.

New Zealand’s Cameron Brown will contest his second Ironman in Australia this year finishing second at the inaugural Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Melbourne back in March.

The 10 time Ironman New Zealand champion turned in an outstanding performance in Melbourne, but says he is not in the same shape having a different preparation, and battling a virus for the past two weeks.

Already in Cairns, Brown has been out riding over the course, giving the roads a huge wrap and predicting some fast times on the bike.

“The run also looks fast but I hope it’s not as hot as last year, if the sun and humidity come out then it could be close to Hawaii heat.

“The only thing I won’t be doing is the swim, I’ll save that until race day – all I keep thinking about are the crocs,” said Brown.

(Breakfast with the pros on Monday morning)

Brown still backs McCormack as a favourite despite his limited preparation.

“Even though he hasn’t done too much Ironman training he will have a tonne of speed from racing the ITU World Championship series so he will be fast and dangerous.”

The Trans Tasman rivalry is always healthy and Brown would like nothing more than to snatch a win from the Australians, but remains cautious.

Always nice to beat the Aussie’s on their home turf but it’s also very hard, and there are a number of guys that will be challenging Macca for the title,” added Brown.

Some of those other contenders include South Australian Matty White who is hoping he can go one better after finishing second at the Iron distance race in Cairns last year. The new dad has targeted this race and will definitely feature at the head of the field. Last year he finished 12 minutes behind Macca to take second place.

Victorian Luke Bell comes into Sunday’s race as a threat after a solid performance in Melbourne earlier in the year and a recent training stint on the Gold Coast.

David Dellow continues to improve with every Ironman race and the conditions will play into his hands in Cairns. Dellow performed strongly in Melbourne and has the athletic ability to win an Ironman. Last year Dellow was 6th overall in Cairns.

It will be interesting to see how Leon Griffin goes. The winner of last years Cairns Half did Ironman Australia recently and sitting down after the finish swore he would never do another and that he is obviously a half iron distance athlete. A couple of days later the pain had worn away and he was ready to go again.

A dark horse is Aaron Farlow and if he is on and in form he could be the one to beat. Farlow won Ironman UK last year and Challenge Wanaka this year. In addition he was 2nd and 3rd at two other iron distance events in 2011. Farlow is coached by Brett Sutton and certainly has the miles done. Farlow is recovering from a hamstring injury but is backing himself to be ‘in the mix’.

Denmark’s Jimmy Johnson will be seeing if his life under Coach Grant Giles on the NSW mid North Coast is the perfect recipe for getting to the pointy end of the field.

Another Kiwi will most likely be leading the field after the swim. Bryan Rhodes has done a fair bit of racing this year and seems to be getting stronger and stronger. The renowned swimmer will push the pace from early on.

Victoria’s Mitchell Anderson will be one of the ones to watch on the bike. He will pick up time in to get him on to the run in a solid position.

Racing for his second time as a pro in an Ironman is Todd Israel. Israel finished in a5th spot with an 8:33.

Women’s Race

Australia’s Rebekah Keat returned home last weekend from her training base in the US ahead of this weekend’s race. The Ironman champion is ready for retribution in Cairns after a disappointing race in Melbourne.

Rebekah Keat winning the 2011 Challenge Cairns

“I made some rookie errors in Melbourne and let the frustrations of the way the race unfolded get to me. This won’t happen again, I learnt my lessons.”

Keat joined up with US coach Siri Lindley earlier this year and says she is the happiest she’s ever been under the former world champions guidance.

“I love my new coach Siri, and team Sirius is an amazing squad with fantastic group dynamics.

“I can’t thank Team Sirius enough for one of the best and most positive influences in my career,” said Keat.

In 2011 Keat managed to just keep ahead of ‘then’ rookie Michelle Mitchell on the bike and run.

Mitchell has since been on a fast track to the top, going on to record second place at the SunSmart Ironman Western Australia and finally victory in Challenge Barcelona.

Her win at the URBAN Hotel Group Ironman Australia has sent a resounding message and she will take that form into the race on Sunday.

“I am really going in off the same prep as Port Mac. I have had a couple of weeks off training since then to freshen up for Cairns.”

In just over a year she has achieved outstanding results and is rapidly improving.

“I am a better athlete a year on, I had only done one Ironman prior to Cairns last year and now I have done 5, it’s given me time to work on everything.

“It is a strong field again this year with some Ironman legends racing; it’ll be really good to toe the line with these girls.

“My goal is to gain points toward the world championships. I haven’t raced two Ironman’s this close before so I will be expecting to carry some fatigue into this race, but I am willing to give it everything for a top five finish,” said Mitchell.

Coming to Cairns with the goal of upstaging Keat and Mitchell will be 2010 Ironman Australia winner Carrie Lester. Lester had an impressive debut in 2010 but has battled injury problems since. She is back and

Hoping to improve on her 5th last year will be Belinda Granger. Granger was in touch with the field on the swim and the bike and only lost ground in the run. Her T1 last year was slow and cost her valuable time.

Last year Kiwi Candice Hammond ran in to 4th place overall and will be coming back to Cairns with a lot more experience under her belt.

Last years Cairns Half winner Rebecca Hoschke is stepping up to the Ironman and will be a solid competitor.

The 226km race will take place in tropical Cairns, Far North Queensland. The course will include a 3.8km swim in Sailfish Quay, a fast and smooth 180km bike taking in the stunning Captain Cook Highway up to Port Douglas and 42.2km run from Marlin Coast to the Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns finish line, located in the heart of Cairns at Fogarty Park.

The 2012 Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns is one of nearly 30 Ironman events worldwide. Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns will be a P-2000 level race and will offer 100,000 EUR professional prize purse and additionally, 40 Ironman World Championship qualifying slots will be available for age group athletes.

RACE START:

Sunday, 3 June @7:05am

Pro Start List

1 Christopher McCormack AUS
2 Cameron Brown NZL
3 Luke Bell AUS
4 Luke McKenzie (now racing 70.3) AUS
5 Matty White AUS
6 Leon Griffin AUS
7 David Dellow AUS
8 Jason Shortis AUS
9 Aaron Farlow AUS
10 Justin Granger AUS
11 Jimmy Johnsen DEN
12 Bryan Rhodes NZL
13 Petr Vabrousek CZE
14 Mitchell Anderson AUS
15 Simon Cochrane NZL
16 Finnbar Crennan AUS
17 Michael Gee AUS
18 Todd Israel AUS
31 Rebekah Keat AUS
32 Michelle Mitchell AUS
33 Belinda Granger AUS
34 Carrie Lester AUS
35 Melissa Rollison AUS
36 Rebecca Hoschke AUS
38 Candice Hammond AUS
39 Amanda McKenzie AUS
41 Belinda Harper NZL
42 Ange Castle AUS
43 Emi Sakai JPN

2011 top mens’s results

Pos Cat Pos Name Time Cat Swim Cycle Run
1 1 Christopher McCormack 8:15:56 M-Elite 0:47:26 4:34:56 2:51:00
2 2 Matty White 8:28:36 M-Elite 0:49:30 4:38:24 2:57:55
3 3 Tim Berkel 8:29:20 M-Elite 0:49:28 4:39:08 2:57:44
4 4 Jamie Whyte 8:35:07 M-Elite 0:49:28 4:38:21 3:04:23
5 5 Clayton FETTELL 8:36:14 M-Elite 0:43:48 4:38:15 3:10:59
6 6 David Dellow 8:41:39 M-Elite 0:46:02 4:41:54 3:10:22
7 7 Jonathan Hotchkiss 8:42:49 M-Elite 0:50:29 4:37:16 3:11:57
8 1 Mike Le Roux 9:13:41 M-35-39 0:52:24 4:57:50 3:18:46
9 1 Paul Wiedersehn 9:14:42 M-25-29 0:47:24 5:03:34 3:19:21
10 8 Chris Dmitrieff 9:17:03 M-Elite 0:52:51 5:13:47 3:06:09
11 1 Hayden Armstrong 9:18:21 M-30-34 0:52:05 5:03:18 3:19:03

Women’s 2011 top results

Pos Cat Pos Name Time Cat Swim Cycle Run
1 1 Rebekah Keat 9:26:31 F-Elite 0:52:57 5:16:34 3:14:04
2 2 Michelle Mitchell 9:30:41 F-Elite 0:53:00 5:17:21 3:16:10
3 3 Carrie Lester 9:34:56 F-Elite 0:55:20 5:11:48 3:24:50
4 4 Candice Hammond 9:43:03 F-Elite 0:57:26 5:11:26 3:29:54
5 5 Belinda Granger 9:44:41 F-Elite 0:52:56 5:13:32 3:34:34
6 6 Christie Sym 9:49:09 F-Elite 0:57:21 5:16:42 3:31:34
7 7 Lisa Ribes 9:52:41 F-Elite 1:05:34 5:16:09 3:27:31
8 1 Kym Jaenke 10:04:24 F-30-34 0:52:37 5:28:42 3:37:36
9 8 Simone Maier 10:05:37 F-Elite 1:02:51 5:16:12 3:41:17
10 1 Susan Crowe 10:13:05 F-35-39 0:58:35 5:21:43 3:47:00

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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USA Triathlon Announces 2018 Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series Calendar

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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 usatriathlon.org/splashanddash for the latest calendar and complete information on the series. The series calendar and locations are subject to change.

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

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

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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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Bill Chaffey Throws Caution to the Wind in Commonwealth Games Countdown

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Five-time World Champion Bill Chaffey will go into April’s Commonwealth Games in the best shape of his life after using all his experience to master today’s windswept conditions in the inaugural ITU Paratriathlon World Cup in Devonport.
 
The 42-year-old Gold Coaster made a spectacular return to elite racing for the first time since last May to defeat fellow Rio Paralympian Nic Beveridge (QLD), Germany’s Benjamin Lenatz, and Australian pair, former wheelchair basketballer Scott Crowley (SA) and Australian para cycling star Alex Welsh (Victoria).

And it came on a day which also saw reigning 26-year-old PTWC world champion Emily Tapp (QLD) dig deeper than she has ever done before, both mentally as well as physically to take out the women’s ITU World Cup title ahead of 29-year-old former Ironman triathlete Lauren Parker (NSW) in only her second major event, Japanese legend Wakato Tsuchida and the gritty Gold Coaster Sara Tait (QLD).

All competitors in the various paratriathlon categories, featuring the cream of Australia’s best and top flight internationals from Japan, Italy, Hong Kong, Canada and Germany showed amazing skill sets to handle the at times brutal head winds that circled through the Mersey Bluff in and around the Devonport Surf Club precinct.

For the wheelchair athletes, today’s results come in the countdown to the official announcement next Sunday of the Australian paratriathlete team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and for Chaffey and Tapp it has been a long time coming following their automatic nominations last April.

Chaffey has been the poster boy for Australia’s glowing Paralympic program which has seen him lead the team onto the world stage as one of the stand-out nations in world triathlon.

“I’m absolutely over the moon with that performance – to come back to Devonport and chalk up a win in probably some of the toughest conditions I’ve raced in is really pleasing,” said Chaffey.

“That wind was hard to handle even though we are close to the ground on our cycles – it’s still tough going.

“But I couldn’t be happier with my fitness – I’m in the best shape of my life and really looking forward to the Games in April.”

Tapp came into today’s race feeling a little under the weather and said her support team really played a major hand in getting her through.

“It hasn’t been the best of week’s health wise but it doesn’t matter come race day, it’s race day, “said Tapp, who qualified for the 2016 Paralympic team athletics team but was forced to withdraw when she accidentally burnt herself.

“Today was a big mental feat, when your body just isn’t there and able to give like it normally (does). We had smooth transitions and we executed our race plans so we’re happy.”

Parker, who was an outstanding open water swimmer and Ironman triathlete before an horrific training accident last April in Newcastle left her a paraplegic, and today was another major step in a road she never thought she would have to tread.

“Today didn’t go according to plan when I lost the band I put around my legs in the swim so it felt like I was swimming with a 10km weight on the end of my legs but we got through it and I know I have to work on my transitions but that will come,” said Parker, who will join the paratriathlete group on the Gold Coast next weekend for the Luke Harrop Memorial Race.

It was a successful return to top class racing for Paralympic gold medallist from Rio, Katie Kelly and new domestic guide Briarna Silk with Kelly admitting the race was “a real grind” given the windy conditions.

“But it was a great way to kick start the season that will hope fully culminate in the ITU World Championships on the Gold Coast in September and continues in Yokohama in a couple of weeks.”

Fellow two-time world champion Sally Pilbeam (WA) kept her impressive record in tact against fellow Australian world championship medallist Kerryn Harvey while Jonathan Goerlach win the Vision Impaired men’s event from fellow Australian Gerrard Gosens and Italy’s Maurizio Romeo.

Another stand out performance came from  Queensland’s PTS5 athlete Josh Kassulke who was the first competitor across the line in another impressive performance he hopes will take him to the Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020 in an all Aussie podium with Dale Grat second and Tony Scoleri third.

WA’s Rio Paralympian Brant Garvey (PTS2) also turned in a brilliant showing as did Albury Wodonga’s “Mr Fearless” Justin Godfrey in the in the PTS3.

Godfrey is the reigning World Cross Tri champion for his category and is a classic example of the kind of grit determination that spurs on Australia’s band of paratriathletes.

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USA Paratriathlon National Championships to Return to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, in June

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The 2018 USA Triathlon Paratriathlon National Championships will be held in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, as part of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon for the second consecutive year, USA Triathlon announced today. The race will take place on June 24 at Prairie Springs Park and the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex.

National titles will be up for grabs in six sports classes as athletes complete a 750-meter swim in Lake Andrea, a 20-kilometre bike through Pleasant Prairie and neighbouring Kenosha, and a 5-kilometre run course finishing in the park. The Pleasant Prairie Triathlon is put on by Race Day Events, LLC, which specializes in event production and equipment rental throughout the Midwest.

“With the support of a strong local paratriathlon community, the organizers of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon have celebrated athletes of all abilities for many years,” said Amanda Duke Boulet, Paratriathlon Program Senior Manager at USA Triathlon. “We look forward to returning to the beautiful venue of Prairie Springs Park this summer and once again enjoying the positive atmosphere that surrounds this race.”

“Race Day Events is very excited to be producing another National Championship event in Pleasant Prairie,” said Ryan Griessmeyer, President of Race Day Events and Race Director for the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon. “Pairing industry-leading event production with the Village of Pleasant Prairie’s world-class venue, participants are sure to have an unparalleled experience.”

“Pleasant Prairie is pleased to host the USA Paratriathlon National Championships for the second consecutive year as part of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon,” said Sandy Wiedmeyer, Fitness Manager at the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex. “This is such an inspirational event to be a part of. Watching these exceptional athletes brings so much to the event and is the highlight of the weekend for many. We are grateful to be able to host such amazing talent again this year, and we look forward to making 2018 successful for all of the athletes.”

In addition to chasing national titles, athletes competing at Paratriathlon Nationals also have the opportunity to qualify for the USA Paratriathlon Development Team Program, which is designed to identify and develop athletic potential leading toward the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. More information on the USA Paratriathlon Development Team Program is available by clicking here.

The Pleasant Prairie Triathlon has included paratriathlon competition since its inception, but last year was its first time hosting the Paratriathlon National Championships. In 2017, 30 athletes competed for national titles while an additional 19 competed in the paratriathlon open division.

Athletes wishing to compete at Paratriathlon Nationals in 2018 must be officially classified in a paratriathlon sports class and must have completed a USA Triathlon or ITU Sanctioned Event that meets distance and time standards between May 1 and June 3, 2018. Athletes who are not classified or who do not meet the time standards may choose to race in the PC Open Division. A National Classification opportunity will be offered in Pleasant Prairie prior to the event. Complete details on qualification standards, as well as the link to register, are available at usatriathlon.org.

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Challenge Wanaka: Javier Gomez and Annabel Luxford crowned 2018 champions

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A thrilling day’s racing at Challenge Wanaka resulted in wins by Javier Gomez (ESP) and Annabel Luxford (AUS). Both had fierce battles with one of the deepest professional fields ever seen at a half distance triathlon in New Zealand and in tough conditions with four seasons in one day, from torrential rain and freezing temps to sweltering summer sun.

The men’s race may have seemed easy to call with Gomez headlining but it was anything but. The close nature of the race was evident as the men exited the swim in a tight bunch – Tony Dodds (NZL) and Dylan McNeice (NZL) first out in 23:12 with Gomez, Alexander Polizzi (AUS), Graham O’Grady (NZL) and Braden Currie all within nine seconds.

A quick transition by Currie saw him lead out on the bike but he had constant company from Gomez, McNeice and Dodds.  By 45km Dodds had dropped back and the chase group of Luke McKenzie (AUS), Joe Skipper (GBR), Jesse Thomas (USA), Dougal Allan (NZL) and Luke Bell (AUS) had closed the three-minute deficit by a minute. By 70km it was getting exciting with the top eight within 22 seconds of each other. Skipper made a short dash for the front but was soon reined back in, McNeice fell off the back but caught up. Coming into transition it still seemed like it was anyone’s race.

However, it was the run where Currie and Gomez showed their metal, soon breaking away with Currie holding off Gomez until the top of the infamous Gunn Road hill at 12km where Gomez made his move. He took out the win knocking nearly 20 minutes off Braden Currie’s six-year-old course record in 3:57:27. Currie crossed the line 17 seconds later in second, taking the New Zealand National title with the USA’s Jesse Thomas running his way into third in 3:59:33.

“Braden put a lot of pressure on me and I had to run way faster than expected but I was very happy with how my fitness is,” said Gomez. “I love bike courses like this that are really up and down. We did a good job at the front but in the last 15k some of the guys caught us, which made it really tough. But luckily I managed to pace myself enough at the beginning of the run so I had some energy left for the end, which I really needed. It was a really tough day; I had to give absolutely everything to win. I really enjoyed it, it was a great course and a great day and thanks everyone for the support out there.”

It was a fast day with Tony Dodds securing a new swim record in 23:12, Dougal Allan set a new bike course record in 2:11:28 and Gomez also set the run course record of 1:12:39, a blistering pace on a course which is 80% off road.
In the women’s race, Luxford led out of the water and soon put in a solid lead over the rest of her opponents as she headed out on Glendhu Bay leg of the bike. The only woman to challenge her was Laura Siddall (GBR) who consistently gained time on her from four-minutes back.  Siddall caught Luxford at the 70km mark and took the lead.

A quick transition put Luxford back ahead, which is where she stayed for the remainder of the race with a lead that fluctuated between 10 and 45 seconds. She won by the narrowest of margins  – 11 seconds after 113km of racing putting Siddall in second in 4:27:13 for the fourth consecutive year. Amelia Watkinson (NZL) rounded out the podium in third in 4:38:11 and took the title of New Zealand Middle Distance Triathlon Champion.

“I was lucky to have a good swim and felt great on the first half of the bike but was losing quite a bit of time to Laura,” said Luxford. “When she caught me I knew I had to race tactically. She’s an old hand at this course and I certainly wasn’t going to give her anything. On the run when she started closing on me at the end, I saw her full distance strength coming through but managed to hold her off.”

It was also a fast race in the women’s with Luxford setting the course record in 4:27:02 as well as the swim course record in 25:49 and the run record in 1:24:00. Siddall set the bike course record in 2:27:26.

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