Courtney Atkinson and Melissa Hauschildt are the official winners from the weekend’s long course Samui Triathlon on Koh Samui. All dramas aside Courtney Atkinson showed his class right from the start. After leading out of the swim along with Ben Allen, David Dellow, Michael Murphy and Nikolay Yaroshenko, Atkinson and Allen pulled away from the field on the 122km bike leg.
What took place on the bike leg resulted in Atkinson, Allen and almost all other pros excluding Paul Ambrose, David Dellow, Dan Halkworth and Todd Skipworth being handed a 15min stand down penalty during the run. Looking through the results it becomes evident with the unusual bike times and following runs times.
Even with the 15min penalty Atkinson’s run was too quick with second placed Ben Allen finishing five minutes behind Atkinson after matching him in the swim and out on the bike.
All of this aside Courtney Atkinson has had a stella start to his long course triathlon career after moving away from ITU. He won the Xterra Australia race recently and now has the Samui Long Course crown to add to the tally.
We always knew that we would see a wave of ITU athletes move in to long course triathlon after the 2012 Olympics with coaches like Darren Smith saying for almost two years that there was going to be a changing of the guard. The ITU athletes can swim and run with the best and all that is needed for some of them is a focus on the bike leg.
In the women’s race Melissa Hauschildt has added to her incredible list of wins in triathlon. The former Commonwealth Games 3000m Steeplchase Silver Medalist has a lethal bike/run combo.
Hauschildt gave away little to the stronger swimmer, and eventual second placed Liz Blatchford and matched Caroline Steffen and Belinda Granger. It is great to see this aspect of her racing gaining in leaps and bounds. As long as there is at least one person ahead for her to chase she should always be happy.
On the bike and Hauschildt really put the pressure on as she road almost 5minutes quicker than Steffen and Granger with Blatchford a further 1:30 slower.
Out on to the run and Blatchford showed her run class when she almost matched Hauschildt’s 2:07:06. Unfortunately for Blatchford the bike lead built up by Huaschildt was too great.
Caroline Steffen finished third with Belinda Granger fourth.
With all the talk about the dramas on the bike course it has taken away from the actual race and the beauty of the Koh Samui Island.
Destination races like this in regions where things are done ‘differently’ always have some unique challenges. Going to a place like Koh Samui and expecting the sort of organisation we see at some of the big well established triathlons in Europe, USA, Australia etc is not what you should be doing. There are plenty of triathlons in Australia that still can’t get simple distances correct and even recently one long course triathlon did not have marshals ready at a turn on the bike course. The first group of cyclists went an extra 10kms+.