Ironman 70.3 Yeppoon Preview – One of Australia’s great triathlons comes to an end

Sam Betten, Tim Reed & Matty White at Yeppoon 2012

The final running of the Ironman 70.3 Yeppoon

The 2013 Yeppoon 70.3 is set to be one the best ever. The men’s and women’s fields have some very even matched pros who could take it out. This is the last time we will see this race. With the launch of the Sunshine Coast 70.3 we see this race come to an end.

Canberra 70.3 in 2012 was a sweet win for Tim Reed.

Canberra 70.3 in 2012 was a sweet win for Tim Reed.

In the men’s race and on paper Tim Reed, Tim Berkel, Mitch Robins, Matty White and Sam Appelton would be the favourites based on current and past form. Right on their heels will be Michael Fox. Fox will be one of the early leaders with his very fast swim and a bike which is backing it up. In Japan recently Fox had a very fast second two thirds of the run with a little bit of lag at the start of the run as he got himself sorted. Fox is getting closer to a podium but is this the race? Casey Munro, Adam Gordon and Kieran Roche will also be strong players early on in the race but may find the pace towards the end of the race slightly too fast. This is by no means intended to play down their chances merely looking at results from races past. Matt Bailey should be one of the leaders out of the water and will be strong on the bike. Unknown is whether he will be able to run at the pace of Berkel, Reed, Robins, White and Appleton.

Matty White was second in 2011 and third here last year. He has been training well from all accounts and is in some good form. He has found some new motivation since Ironman Cairns and this is showing.

Mitch Robins on his way to posting the fastest 20km run split of the day while chasing Pete Jacobs at Huskisson in 2012

Mitch Robins on his way to posting the fastest 20km run split of the day while chasing Pete Jacobs at Huskisson in 2012

Tim Reed is probably the inform triathlete in the start list over this distance with some very good results in the US recently. Tim Berkel went to Samoa to race the half ironman but was a victim of the poor state of the roads and ended up having a training day after deciding to do the run even though he had DNF’d. Berkel has MetaMan Bintan iron distance on the horizon and will be keeping this as his A race with $40,000 on the line for first place.

Mitch Robins is arguably the triathlete who wants to win this race more than anyone. After starting 2012 with a bang and pushing Pete Jacobs all the way at Huskisson Mitch embarked on overseas racing season only to cut his foot severely and return to Australia. The prospect was not good, and it looked like Mitch could possibly not run again.

Fast forward a year and a half and Mitch is back. By all accounts better than ever. We have seen Mitch do a couple of races in the US and at that point it was early days and his bike was not where it should be there were still other things happening in the background such as University. With his university degree completed and now out working and a regular pay cheque for the first time Mitch is now hungrier than ever to prove that he is back and he has potential to be one of the world’s best.

In between Mitch Robins and the top spot podium is one of the world’s best 70.3 triathletes Tim Reed. Tim has the Ironman 70.3 world champs in two weeks. The big question will be is Reed going to push himself as much as he possibly can to win or will he be playing it safe and saving some for Las Vegas? Tim Reed is training hard for Vegas and this is his focus. Yeppoon will be a last hit out for Reed as he puts the final touches on his preparation.

Ask any pro and they’ll tell you Tim Reed is one of the best over this distance. Coming from just behind the lead swimmers he is one of the strongest cyclists and runners in the game. His bike / run combo is deadly. Look through Tim’s rides at his races over the last year and look at what he does. Coming from behind, he regularly rides through the field, usually drops some big names then goes on to run one of the fastest splits of the day. Most of the time he rides on his own and very rarely will you see him conserving himself in the field.

One of the Riff's finer specimens

One of the Riff’s finer specimens

Making an appearance this weekend is past winner Ollie Whistler. Whistler has been laying low recently in the south of Sydney and is coming up to Yeppoon for sentimental reasons. He is not match fit but is looking forward to having a hit out and getting his head back in to the game.

Casey Munro had a good race at Carins in June over this distance. His swim / bike was one of the best on the day and he came home with a solid run for 7th overall in a very good field.

We are looking forward to seeing Patrick Baldacchino racing again and making his 70.3 pro debut. After being one of the fastest ITU juniors around in 2006 and setting times faster than Aaron Royle, Baldacchino has finished a trade and started back training seriously now that he has the love again for the sport. Last time we bumped in to Patrick he was planning on quitting work and going back to training full time. This guy could be dangerous if her gets back to his best. Possibly a shave would help… just saying.

Whilst the general public’s focus on this race is going to be with the pros the real race is going on behind the first wave. There is a big race to the bar with plenty of egos and sheep stations on the line. At the front of this race are the PIS guys. There is a lot of sledging and ‘who will go slower’ talk going on.

Team PPIs's Andrew Vicary seen in Auckland closing in on James Hodge

Andrew Vicary from Team PIS seen here in Auckland closing in on James Hodge

There is a delegation of  big hitters coming to Yeppoon from Penrith and representing Team PIS. Amongst these guys are a lot of ‘usually’ good athletes. However this is not their peak racing season and there are varying reports about the health and wellbeing of many of them.

Some expectations online see guys usually looking at 4:15-4:30 talking about 5:00+. We are not sure.

Trent Chapman is making comeback and aiming for a sub 5:30, as is Ben Scull, Scott Hobson and Liz Stratton who is building well for Kona and should race solidly.

As mentioned Patrick  Baldacchino is racing pro and is a Penrith local. We are hoping he’ll go faster then the rest of the Penrith crew. Daryl Owen aka pisman is aiming for around the 4:30 mark and Andrew Vicary is gunning for a sub 5:00. Kona Bob Brace has been sick and a sub 5:00 will make him happy. It has been reported that Nick Detmold will be a likely DNF.

At this time of the year the main event for the Penrith Crew is Sunday night.

Heading up from Melbourne and hoping to take out the Penrith v. Melbourne challenge is the big man Xavier Coppock. The X-Man has been graciously acknowledging Trent Chapman’s greatness but based on what I am seeing online and in between the lines my money is on the Mexican.

In the women’s race Lisa Marangon will be looking to defend her 2012 title. Marangon has been quiet on the racing circuit over the year. Up against her will be 2013 Cairns 70.3 champion New Zealand’s Sam Warriner and Gina Crawford. Michelle Wu will be looking forward to getting out of mid winter in Canberra but will apparently be bring the flu with her.

Marangon is looking forward to getting back in to racing and then focusing on her training block for Ironman Western Australia. After Busselton 70.3 this year Marangon took four weeks off and reassessed what she wanted to do. She found that getting sick often and not having control over what was happening was forcing her to do things she wasn’t comfortable with. Since back training Marangon has been doing her own thing and settling her life down.

This weekend Marangon will be up against Kiwi’s Sam Warriner and Gina Crawford. Marangon is confident that she will swim strongly and we should see the these three women close together on the bike fairly early on in the race. Marangon says she is running well and is looking forward to seeing how she is placed before focusing on IMWA.

We haven’t confirmed the female start list at this stage.


Name Gender Place Nationality
Adam Gordon M-Pro Southport QLD NZL
Brad Wauer M-Pro Salisbury Heights SA AUS
Bradley Clark M-Pro Modanville NSW AUS
Casey Munroe M-Pro Mooloolaba QLD AUS
Keiran Roche M-Pro Castle Hill NSW AUS
Mat Bailey M-Pro Williamstown VIC AUS
Matt Burton M-Pro Swan View WA AUS
Matty White M-Pro Woodforde SA AUS
Michael Fox M-Pro Cronulla NSW AUS
Ollie Whistler M-Pro Lord Howe Island NSW AUS
Patrick Baldacchino M-Pro Warrimoo NSW AUS
Samuel Appleton M-Pro Warrimoo NSW AUS
Tim Reed M-Pro Suffolk Park NSW AUS
Tim Van Berkel M-Pro East Ballina NSW AUS
Andrea Forrest F-Pro Blaxland NSW AUS
Gina Crawford F-Pro Wanaka NZL NZL
Lisa Marangon F-Pro Maroubra NSW AUS
Madeleine Oldfield F-Pro South Melbourne VIC AUS
Michelle Wu F-Pro Woden ACT AUS
Samantha Warriner F-Pro Whangarei NZL NZL



Karl Hayes

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.