IRONMAN New Zealand was full of excitement in the women’s race this year, with five-time winner Meredith Kessler disappointed with a third place finish. Trizone recaps this thrilling race from last weekend in Taupo.
Ironman New Zealand 2017 Swim
The women’s swim started fiercely as early morning darkness shrouded the exquisite Taupo lake. Meredith Kessler, renowned for her ferocity in the water, dominated the swim with Australian Annabel Luxford hot on her heels. The two swimmers were so far ahead of the field, the had a solid five minute lead on the chase pack.
Ironman New Zealand 2017 Bike
Annabel Luxford, fresh off her victory at Geelong 70.3, was in fine form as she powered forward on the bike with Meredith Kessler. The pair weren’t able to maintain their lead though, as behind them, the pack was chasing hard.
Jocelyn McCauley (USA) was pedalling fiercely alongside Kiwi based (but British) Laura Siddall and Dutch woman Yvonne van Vlerken. The three worked hard to catch Kessler and Luxford, and by the second half of the devastatingly hilly bike leg, they’d caught the leaders.
“They really pressed us that way back [on the bike],” Kessler said of McCauley and second place finisher Laura Siddall of the United Kingdom.
Ironman New Zealand 2017 Run
In last year’s race, Jocelyn McCauley had DNF’ed and been sick, so she was propelled by a fierce determination in 2017, and that showed in the run. After T2, McCauley dug deep and worked exceptionally hard, but she was worried it wasn’t enough. During the race, she remember what Kessler had said to her when she’d shyly approached her last year.
“She said you’re going to do awesome and rise to the occasion, and I’ve kept that with me since then. I DNFed last year, got really sick, so coming back this year I was definitely wanting a podium.”
This determination fuelled her run, and she ran to victory in a sub-three hour (2:59:40) marathon, an exceptional result especially considering the mountainous course. She finished in a total time of just 9:09:47.
“The day unfolded like it would in my perfect dream, I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” McCauley said. “I was up against a world-class field and was running scared – I was terrified out of my mind with Siddall (Laura) the comeback-queen behind me – and Meredith, who is a legend,” McCauley told the NZ Herald.
Elated McCauley tops the podium
McCauley’s elation on the podium was thrilling to see, and her love of the sport was clear during her post-race interviews. “When I did my first Ironman, I decided this was a one and done thing,” McCauley said. “I just wanted to do an Ironman. It’s something my sister does, my sister got me into this, and I didn’t think this was something I was going do four years ago… but it’s something that I love,” McCauley told Stuff.co.nz.
Kessler was disappointed with her race, and was teary at the finish; though she said she was upset for letting down the Taupo residents, as she considers the lake region to be a second home. “I’ve been sick as a dog the last two years leading up to this day. In bed in the foetal position, and got the record the last two years. This year, I had a perfect build. But as my old coach used to say, if you don’t have adversity before a race, I’m going to buy you a puppy and shoot it.”
This may be extreme, but it was clear from her result, Kessler wasn’t quite at her best at this year’s race, placing third in 9:27:19 behind Great Britain’s Laura Siddall who finished in 9:21:53.
Age grouper finishes race with just seconds to spare
Trizone wants to congratulate age grouper Suzanne Stokes, who finished just seconds before midnight, the vital cut-off time for allowing an athlete to call themselves an Ironman finisher. To see Siddall and McCauley help carry her across the finish line is one of this year’s top shows of sportsmanship already!
The Brownlee Brothers Launch New Blood Test for Athletes & the Physically Active
The Brownlee brothers, a pair of well-known triathletes and Olympics stars, have partnered with Werlabs in Great Britain to create a blood test to help athletes improve their health and athletic performance. Those who take the blood test can monitor “the most relevant markers which can be affected by exercise and those that can affect performance.”
Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee both say the blood tests will also help physically active non-athletes. According to Jonathan, “For anyone about to undertake a physical challenge or those who exercise regularly, this test will show if major organs work properly and that there are no deficiencies which could affect your performance.”
So far, the blood test is available by appointment in the UK. You can schedule an appointment, and Werlabs will send someone to your home to draw the blood.
All Werlabs blood tests are venous to ensure quality, and they meet the standards of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The company has also received a Seal of Excellence from the European Commission. These factors are what drew the Brownlee brothers to co-create the new blood test package with the company.
Visit the Werlabs Website to schedule an appointment.
ITU Moments of 2017: Katie Zaferes Crashes Bike in Yokohama, Drops Glasses, Wins Silver
In this video, USA triathlete Katie Zaferes recalls a couple “mishaps” before her silver finish at International Triathlon Union’s (ITU) World Triathlon Yokohama 2017.
Zaferes and Britain’s Jessica Learmonth crashed during the bike leg, and both recovered quickly.
During the run, she was head-to-head with fellow USA triathlete, Kirsten Kasper, when she dropped her sunglasses. She doubled back to retrieve them to avoid a littering penalty and possible disqualification from the race, before beating Kasper to the finish line.
The two people ahead of them were Bermuda’s Flora Duffy and Britain’s Sophie Coldwell, both of whom began the run roughly 70 seconds before the others. Duffy finished first in 01:56:18. Zaferes caught up with Coldwell, knocking her out of the podium to finish behind Duffy in 01:58:09. Kasper took bronze with a 01:58:17. Coldwell settled for fourth with a 01:58:48 finish.
Matthew Sharpe Spearhead Canada/USA to historic Mixed Relay Win
Long-striding Canadian Matthew Sharpe saved his best till last to out-sprint the USA’s emerging star Morgan Pearson in a thrilling finish to today’s Triathlon Australia Mixed Relay Invitational at Runaway Bay.
Sharpe, 25 held off his training partner as the pair ran shoulder to shoulder in the closing stages of the inaugural Relay event – the latest addition to the 2020 Olympic program for Tokyo.
The two-day event started with 18 teams – 11 Australian teams and seven internationals from the USA, Canada/USA, Canada, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Wales – and after two heats on yesterday and a final qualifying heat this morning it came down to an A final of eight teams and in the end two teams – Canada/USA and the USA fought out the finish.
Sharpe, who will race for the Maple Leaf’s in next month’s Commonwealth Games, started the final run leg with a 20 metre lead off the bike as he set off around the Sports Super Centre track with 1.6km to run (after the 300m pool swim and eight-kilometres on the Luke Harrop Criterium bike course).
Pearson, the former US lifeguard and brilliant US College runner (with a 5km PB of 13:36.22), set off after his training mate and had caught him as the pair surged towards the finish shoot.
And when it looked like Pearson may just have enough gas left in the tank, the lanky Canadian surged again to steal the victory for the combined USA/Canadian team with Kevin McDowell (USA), Amelie Kretz (Canada) and Chelsea Burns (USA).
Certainly, an unusual combination of Canada and the USA between the two arch-rivals who rarely, if ever, come together on the sporting field – but this unique format allowed the hybrid foursome to come together under the coaching of Australian Jonno Hall – himself a former Australian champion road cyclist.
“I train with Morgan every day so I know how good he is and what he has to offer so I decided to let him in and then try to outsprint him in the end and it worked this time,” said Sharpe, who admitted the Mixed Team format was a winner.
“It was a great weekend, great racing, great format…happy to get away with the win.”
Pearson had an outstanding team with him with Tony Smoragiewicz, world ranked number four Kirsten Kasper and the talented Tamara Gorman.
Australia No 2 (Gillian Backhouse, Ashleigh Gentle, Ryan Bailie and Daniel Coleman) finished third and were in the hunt all day with Backhouse putting the team in a strong position with both Bailie and Gentle digging deep with superb legs and Coleman hanging on for third with Australia No 1 (Emma Jeffcoat, Matt Hauser, Amber Pate and Steve McKenna) flying home for fourth.
The event, with strong support by Gold Coast City Council’s $3,500 in prize money, will be a regular on the Triathlon Australia event calendar.
Ironman 70.3 Racine Changes Hands and Repositions as a Short Course Event
The city of Racine, Wisconsin has partnered with Ohio company HFP Racing to announce the Real Racing International Triathlon. The race date, set for July 15th, was originally occupied by an IRONMAN 70.3 event but recently ended their partnership with the city of Racine, Wisconsin.
“Anyone that comes to this event will be impressed…it’s a visual stunner and it will be a race you’ll want to come back to year after year,” said, Shannon Kurek, HFP Racing’s founder. “It’s a major urban setting with the feel of [the Racine] community.”
The race is set for July 15th and is open to licensed professional triathletes and amateur triathletes. There will be a $25,000 purse prize for the professional division in the Olympic distance triathlon. The event is offering a free individual race entry to all professionals with a valid license card from their home triathlon federation. Early bird pricing for registration ends in March and all registration closes in late June.
The course will start off with a swim in Lake Michigan, followed by a bike ride through downtown Racine and the surrounding communities, finishing with a run along the shoreline of Lake Michigan and through the North Bay and Windpoint communities. The bike and run courses are completely closed.
Kurek was recently interviewed for an episode of the Triathlon BizCast podcast, where he discusses the history of HFP’s relationship with events in Racine, Wisconsin, as well as more promotion on the new Real Racine International Triathlon. That podcast can be found at https://www.nrmedia.biz/triathlon-bizcast/hfp-racing-family-triathlon
Registration to compete in any of the Real Racing International Triathlon events is open and can be found at https://realracinetriathlon.com/register/
For more information about the race, rules and regulations, and FAQs can be found at the Real Racine International Triathlon website at https://realracinetriathlon.com/
Resources and things to do in the city can be found on the Real Racine website at http://www.realracine.com/
Super League Triathlon and ITU Sign Memorandum of Understanding
Super League Triathlon (SLT) and the International Triathlon Union (ITU) have announced a pivotal memorandum of understanding (MOU) unveiling a partnership that covers key areas of the sport, with the overarching shared goal of further building triathlon around the world at many levels including youth development, fan building and audience engagement, and general promotion of the sport on a global scale.
The MOU, announced yesterday in Moscow during the European Triathlon Union Conference, sets in motion a partnership that will see SLT and the ITU working together on promoting gender equality, clean sport conforming to the WADA code and ITU Anti-Doping Rules, as well as open communication as key pillars of the cooperation. ITU is also committed to provide guidance in rules development of SLT’s new formats.
Said Michael D’hulst, “We are thrilled to be able to work with the governing body of triathlon so early on in Super League Triathlon’s establishment. We look forward to ensuring safe, fair and invigorating Super League events with ITU, and in so doing raise the profile of the sport.”
SLT will recognize ITU as the governing body of the triathlon sport, coordinating with them and the national federations for all SLT events. SLT will also work with ITU to ensure equality in prize money, contracts and participation of male and female athletes.
“ITU and Super League Triathlon have common goals to safely and efficiently develop triathlon, nurture new talent and provide platforms to showcase great champions globally. By working together to reach these goals and by leveraging one another’s strengths we will efficiently herald in an exciting new era of competition. This MOU represents an important moment for our sport and athletes, but it is only the beginning of what will be a long and fruitful partnership”, said ITU President and IOC Member, Marisol Casado.
The MOU is also designed to ensure that the ITU and Super League Triathlon calendars are regularly discussed to avoid events clashing. “The close alignment of ITU and Super League Triathlon marketing initiatives coupled with the innovation of the Formats and the League will serve to extend the reach of both organisations and bring the potential for greater scope in campaigns as well as through their respective platforms”, said Super League Triathlon Chief Executive Officer, Michael D’Hulst.
Super League Triathlon is a spectator-friendly race series which gives triathlon fans an action-packed and very up-close experience. Fans can follow the best triathletes in the world from start to finish, as the series travels to some of the world’s most spectacular racing destinations throughout the eight-month race season. Super League races are focused on attracting a new generation of audiences with the aim of fostering and inspiring future champions and promoting a healthy lifestyle for the wider community.
Mixed Relay Invitational now a key in countdown to the Commonwealth Games
Four members of Australia’s Commonwealth Games triathlon team will continue to put the finishing touches to their preparations at this weekend’s innovative Triathlon Australia Mixed Relay Invitational at Runaway Bay.
The Australians – Matt Hauser, Ashleigh Gentle, Charlotte McShane and Gillian Backhouse will be among nine Games athletes from Australia, Canada and Wales who will line up in the 18 teams.
Australia will be represented by 11 teams with Canada, Wales, USA, Canada/USA, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea providing a real international flavour to an event that’s the most recent addition to the Olympic program in Tokyo.
Each individual athlete will complete a 300m swim in the Sports Super Centre 50m Olympic pool; eight kilometres on the bike on the Criterium loop before a 1.6km track run.
Hauser, Gentle, McShane and Jake Birtwhistle (who is in Launceston preparing for the Games) made up the Australian team that won the ITU World Mixed Relay Championship in Hamburg last year.
The exciting addition to the triathlon program will feature for only the second time at this year’s Commonwealth Games (on April 7) after the Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee-led English team who won the inaugural gold from South Africa and Australia in Glasgow four years ago.
Hauser will be joined on the Australia 1 team by the very-much in-form Mooloolaba World Cup winner Emma Jeffcoat and South Australian duo, 23-year-old rising star Amber Pate and another relative newcomer through 70.3, two-time SA Triathlete of the Year Steve McKenna.
Australia 2 will feature Games girls Gentle and Backhouse, Rio Olympian and Glasgow bronze medallist Ryan Bailie and Gold Coast’s Dan Coleman in a team that certainly looks the goods on paper.
Australia 3 will see Wollongong based trio, McShane, recent Abu Dhabi podium finisher Natalie Van Coevorden and latest addition to Jamie Turner’s group in Declan Wilson as well as promising Queensland Under 23 Nicholas Free.
Kirsten Kasper, the 2017 World ranked number four, who was second to Jeffcoat in Mooloolaba, will spearhead the USA team of Kevin McDowell, Chelsea Burns and Morgan Pearson.
Canadian Commonwealth Games athlete Dominika Jamnicky and Emy Legault are the stand-outs in Team Canada while fellow Games representative Matthew Sharpe will join countrywoman Amelie Kretz and US pair Tony Smoragiewicz and Tamara Gorman in the Mixed USA/Canada team.
Two Games representatives Iestyn Harrett and Olivia Mathias will lead the Welsh team that also includes Zoe Thomas and Chris Silver.
Hauser, who was an impressive runner-up to world ranked number four, South African Richard Murray at the Mooloolaba World Cup said the Mixed Relay Invitational was perfect timing leading into the Games.
“We will build this into our taper so it couldn’t be better, said Hauser,
“We’ve got a good 18 teams coming in as well so it’s fantastic preparation for all the guys really and it will be good to see how they’re all shaping up for that Mixed Relay.
“It’s an event that will be at (the Olympics) in Tokyo as well; it’s such a fantastic and exciting event and the Aussies will have a point to prove after winning the World Championships last year and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Hauser’s coach, Gold Coast National Performance Centre coach Dan Atkins admitted the whole reason he believes his young charge got onto the Commonwealth Games team was their strategic plan 16 months out.
“I said to Matt, ‘you know what I think there is an opportunity there Matt to put your hand up … you have raced a lot of relays; you have a lot of experience there and if you keep going out and putting your best foot forward then it will be hard for the selectors not to look at you,’ said Atkins, who knows the inclusion of the Triathlon Australia Mixed Relay will be a perfect pathway for Australia’s younger athletes heading towards future Olympic, Commonwealth Games and World Championships.
“That came off and now it’s a matter of putting his conditioning and race conditioning in place by having those few little hit outs over last weekend and this weekend to hopefully be selected for the Com Games in the relay again.”
The two-day event (with two heats on Saturday 10 am and 11:45 and a Repechage at 8 am the B Final at 10 am and A final at 11.30 am on Sunday) at the Runaway Bay Sports Centre is being supported by the City of Gold Coast with a podium prize purse of $3,500.00 on offer.
Each athlete will compete a full super sprint triathlon of a 300m swim, 8km cycle and 1600m run before tagging their teammate to begin the next leg.
Two females and two males will make up a single team. The women will commence the first leg before tagging onto the first male. The second female will follow before the second male brings it home.
National Performance Director for Triathlon Australia Justin Drew said the concept of a Triathlon Mixed Relay Invitational would give Australian elite athletes a chance to hone their relay skills against each other and to provide up-and-coming development athletes the chance to race against some of the world’s best triathletes, including members of the reigning World Championship team.
“This will provide the athletes with an ideal opportunity to race in what is one of the most exciting events added to the triathlon events calendar,” said Drew, who also praised the support of the City of Gold Coast.
“Our athletes will get the chance to compete in a high-level race situation and hone their skills, which will help develop them for future World Championships, Commonwealth and Olympic Games.”
Australia’s London Olympian and Triathlon Australia Development Coach Brendan Sexton has been tasked with the responsibility of pulling together the event and is excited to get the Mixed Relay to the start line.
“All competition will be conducted within the Runaway Bay Sports Super Centre including the swim in the 50m pool, the cycle on the Luke Harrop High Performance Cycling circuit and run on the athletics track, which will be an ideal venue,” said Sexton.
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