It was all about the Aussies today at the inaugural Scody Challenge Melbourne, with Tim Berkel and Annabel Luxford both showcasing stellar performances to take out the title in the elite male and female events.
In what was set to be a day of â€˜who handled the heat best’ the elite competitors were not fazed in the slightest, setting off into the water at sunrise, and finishing before the heat of the day could have any impact.
Tim Berkel’s performance was nothing short of heroic. Teammate Clayton Fettell, was always predicted to be the front runner on the swim and bike, starting the run over 5 minutes ahead of the trail pack of Berkel, and fellow Australian’s John Polson and Michael Fox. But over the 21.1km, he was chased down by the trio, who also took to the podium in that order with Fettell finishing in 5th, in what was a very exciting finish for the men’s elites.
In the women’s event, Annabel Luxford showed pure class in her performance, leading by just over 4 seconds from Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen out of the swim, but with a spectacular performance on the bike, she increased her lead to over 4 minutes going into the run. Never looking stretched, she comfortably took line honors in a time of 4:16:01 ahead of Steffen and the always smiling Rebecca Hoschke. â€˜I had a great race out there today, the conditions were perfect, the venue was amazing, and the support was fantastic,’ Luxford said in what has been a great start to 2014.
â€˜A fantastic result for both Tim and Annabel, they both raced brilliantly and I have no doubt that 2014 is going to be a big year for them.’ said Marcus Altmann, CEO Challenge Australia. â€˜Both are great supporters of the Challenge Family, and we couldn’t be happier for them to have won here today in Melbourne.’
In what was a challenging lead up to the event, with the weather forecast predicting a temperature of 39 degrees by midday, event organisers SuperSprint put together considerable contingency plans including a shorter option for those who did not feel comfortable racing in the extreme heat. However, the morning’s conditions ended up being close to perfect and allowing the majority of the 1500 competitors to finish the full 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21.1km run.