Dan Wilson, Annabel Luxford take out wins at Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney event in Penrith today.
Melbourne-based athlete Annabel Luxford snapped up a consecutive win, while Brisbane’s own Dan Wilson secured his first 70.3 title.
Luxford put in a masterful performance, emerging from the swim together with Natalie Van Coevorden. The pair found themselves more than two minutes in front of the pack which included Kirralee Seidel. Luxford wasn’t challenged during the bike and extended her lead during the run, winning by just under six minutes while Van Coevorden slipped on the run – ending in third place with Seidel clinching second.
“Really happy to come back today and grab the win, it’s never easy to come back and get the win again, but you couldn’t have asked for better conditions, it started to get warm towards the end,” said Luxford. “The crowd support was fantastic, the other athletes pushed me, I’m really happy.”
Meanwhile Wilson’s race crowned a year that started with a spate of injuries preventing him from racing. Just last month saw him winning the Noosa Triathlon, and today he scored his first Ironman 70.3 victory.
“That was kind of hard out there today; I tried to push the whole way, which is a tough way to race,” said Wilson. “I pushed the swim and bike and then wanted to see what I could do on the run,” he said. “The last 5km hurt today.”
Wilson, along with Ironman 70.3 newcomer Ryan Fisher, made an impact right from the start, with the Olympic-distance specialists off the front of the swim pack. By the 20km stage on the bike they had increased their lead to a one minute advantage over former Olympic rower Skipworth and James Davy. Fisher, debuting on the Ironman 70.3 circuit, held on with Wilson, with the two establishing a 2:17 buffer into the run.
But Wilson was able to draw on years racing against Fisher and knew he needed to crush his competitor early-on. By mid-run, he had pushed to a one minute advantage, and had the day’s best run of 1:13:13 – sufficient for a 3:45:23 win.
Fisher ended second at 1:40 back, while Davy took third on the podium. “I didn’t know what to expect, I started off okay and thought this pace isn’t too bad. But 50km in I was in a deep hole, I started surging for gels anything to eat, and then came good,” he said. “That was my day few bad patches that then came good, it’s so different from short course stuff.”
“It’s been an unbelievable year, I was injured at the start of the year, and to win in Noosa and recently got engaged, so it’s been a great finish to the year,” commented Wilson.
Luxford, for her part, said she would love to hunt down a third Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney win next year when the event doubles as the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship. “I’d love to come back next year for the Ironman Asia Pacific Championships here; it’s a great venue for a championship race,” she said.