IRONMAN’s 40th Anniversary was celebrated in grand style and the gods were smiling with IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong replicating some of the sport’s greatest drama with a sprint, fall, stumble, lunge finish between Nina Derron (SUI) and Melbourne rookie Grace Thek. The men’s race also lived up to the excellence of the preceding decades with a stunning performance by defending champion Sam Appleton.
Spectators had been enthralled by the epic battle between Appleton, Josh Amberger, Jake Montgomery and Ryan Fisher but just when they thought they had seen a thrilling race, the guys were upstaged by the emotional and physical roller coaster that was the women’s event.
Barwon Heads local Claire Davis was the first female to reach dry land (26:07) with Kirralee Seidel, Nina Derron (SUI) and Grace Thek in touch and eager to get onto the 90km bike leg. Derron was looking to control the race and at 45km she had extended her lead to 3:30 over Davis, Thek and the charging Laura Dennis. Seidel picked up a penalty and lost touch completely, finding herself nine minutes down. At three quarter distance Dennis managed to ride herself into second place with Thek and Davis in a tight battle for third and fourth place.
With Swiss precision, Derron lead into T2 by five minutes over the chasing pair of Dennis and Thek, with the local hope a further minute down. In the second half of the 21km run things started to change radically. Derron started to feel the pinch and Thek literally found her feet and charged through the field to find herself leading her very first IRONMAN 70.3. Thek was heading for a 70.3 victory on debut and with the finish line in sight, the former US college runner started to pay the penalty for her early over-exuberance.
“I was hoping to do four-minute pace but for the first three km I found myself doing 3:30 and I really paid for it on the last lap. I was about four and a half minutes down off the bike and I didn’t know if that was achievable. When I was two minutes down with a lap to go I thought it was possible but the end was just devastating. When I passed Nina I just wanted enough room so that it didn’t come down to a sprint finish. I was really suffering with my legs over the last 6km and I was just trying to get forward momentum. I was getting all sorts of splits from people on the course, so I really didn’t know.”
“When I came into the finish chute I was thinking I am almost there, just stay in the game but I started sprinting which was a big mistake on my part because I knew that my legs were already suffering pretty badly. Then I fell the first time when my quads locked up. When I fell to the ground I saw Nina and she wasn’t as close as everyone had made out. So I quickly got up and started running and two metres before the line I fell over again. I was all over the place and got a bit of a nudge which didn’t help.”
“In hindsight, the sprint was not a good idea. It is a lesson learned, don’t listen to anyone except for my coach and people I trust. I don’t condone looking back in a race but looking for myself might have been a good move here. These are the things I can take into the next race. It is disappointing to be that close and not come away with the win but coming in, I had no expectations. It is my first 70.3 and has been a positive day, so I am eager for more now,” Grace said.
Derron’s win was her first over the IRONMAN 70.3 distance and while ecstatic with the result, she had great sympathy for Thek.
“I really struggled on the second lap of the run. I just had to stay focused because I knew that Grace was flying and I just tried to hold on to the lead for as long as possible. There were huge mind games going on in my head and people were telling me to go get her. She was 50m in front with only a 100m to go but I knew I couldn’t out sprint her. I saw her starting to stumble and then she fell and all I saw was the finish line and I accelerated and came past her.”
“It was a really strange finish to a really crazy day. I am happy for my win but I am also sad for Grace that it happened. It was her first 70.3 race so she did a really good job. It was another lesson I learned, that it is not over until it is over. Never give up, it is really true,” Nina declared.
In the men’s race, it was Aussie Olympian Ryan Fisher who took the swim honours (22:34), narrowly nudging out Josh Amberger over the glassy 1.9km course. As the pair headed to T1, they were hotly pursued by a bunch of three, defending champion Sam Appleton, Jack Tierney and Matt Franklin with the second chase pack that included Jake Montgomery almost a minute off the pace.
Appleton was keen to make up the swim deficit and in no time at all the lead duo became a trio, with the defending champion in touch and pushing the early pace. Only seconds separated the leaders at half distance with Jake Montgomery 20s further behind and riding himself into contention. The final kilometres of the ride saw some big moves from Lachlan Kerin, Montgomery and Jack Tierney. Off the bike, it was a bunch of six who entered T2 ready to celebrate the IRONMAN Anniversary by flogging each other senselessly over the super quick 21km coastal course.
Slick transitions had Appleton, Amberger and Fisher on the road first with Tierney, Montgomery and Kieran hoping to match pace over the opening kilometres. It was Appleton who was intent on inflicting some hurt and tearing up the tarmac and while the first small gaps started to appear it was only early days. At 10km Appleton looking strong and a minute to Fisher, with Amberger and Montgomery running shoulder to shoulder, with Tierney and Kieran in their own battle for fifth and sixth.
The defending champ knew what he had to do and despite suffering over the second half of the run he was able to pull it all together.
“It is the first race of the year and you don’t really know what to expect. I knew if I was fit, I just didn’t know if I was race fit. I gave it my best shot and fortunately, I was able to come away with the win. The guys kept me honest all day and it was really tough. There were six of us going into transition and that second pack rode really well. We rode really firm on the first lap and I didn’t expect to hit the U-turn and see them right there. You never want to go into the run with six guys, I would prefer there were less but I just had to back myself. I laid it out in the beginning and got a gap and then it was about holding on from there.”
“It is crazy that this sport only started 40 years and look at the evolution. Every year it changes and is getting faster and harder. I am proud to be part of the generation that is helping that evolution. I am honoured to be here in Geelong and be able to back up and defend my title. It is a great course here in Geelong, I love it. It is beautiful and one of my favourite races. It is really challenging on the run. The course profile doesn’t show it but it is really hard run. It has a bit of everything. I can’t wait to come back, I love opening up the season here,” he said.
1 Nina DERRON (#26) 04:26:11
2 Grace THEK (#31) 04:26:18
3 Laura DENNIS (#25) 04:29:38
4 Kirralee SEIDEL (#22) 04:33:36
5 Melanie BURKE (#23) 04:34:46
1 Sam APPLETON (#1) 03:45:52
2 Josh AMBERGER (#2) 03:47:21
3 Ryan FISHER (#5) 03:49:09
4 Jake MONTGOMERY (#3) 03:49:57
5 Jack TIERNEY (#16) 03:52:18
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.
Neal Henderson & Christine Palmquist Named 2017 USA Triathlon Coaches of the Year
USA Triathlon today recognized two of the most successful coaches in its ranks for the 2017 season, naming Neal Henderson and Christine Palmquist as Coaches of the Year.
Henderson (Boulder, Colo.), who coaches USA Triathlon Junior Elite Athlete of the Year Taylor Knibb, earned the honor of National Coach of the Year. In his first season working with Knibb, Henderson coached the 19-year-old standout to her first senior-level ITU World Triathlon Series podium with a silver in Edmonton. Under Henderson’s leadership, Knibb went on to successfully defend her title at the ITU Junior World Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in September.
In addition to his success with Knibb, Henderson coached Lindsey Jerdonek (Brecksville, Ohio) to a silver medal at the Yucatán ITU Triathlon World Cup, her first time cracking the World Cup podium. He led several U.S. athletes to success in professional non-drafting races, including victories for Alicia Kaye (Clermont, Fla.) at IRONMAN 70.3 Puerto Rico, Jason West (Boulder, Colo.) at the Philadelphia Escape Triathlon and Cameron Dye (Boulder, Colo.) at the Boulder Peak Triathlon.
Henderson also coached several international athletes to strong results in 2017 — led by Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, who earned her second straight ITU World Championship title and fourth consecutive XTERRA World Championship title. Joe Gambles of Australia placed third for elite men at the Penticton ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championship, and Paula Findlay of Canada took the win at the Boulder Peak Triathlon, both under Henderson’s tutelage.
He has also served the sport outside of coaching itself, developing the four-dimensional power (4DP) testing methodology for cycling power that is revolutionizing the way cyclists and triathletes train on the bike.
“As a coach who volunteered with the first USA Triathlon National Team in 1996 and who attended the first public USA Triathlon Level I Coaching Certification Clinic in 1998, I’m extremely thankful to be recognized by USA Triathlon for this honor,” Henderson said.
Palmquist (Geneva, Ill.) was named Paratriathlon Coach of the Year for her achievements leading U.S. paratriathletes to success at the elite level. In 2017, she coached National Team athletes at the USA Paratriathlon National Championships in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, and the Rotterdam ITU Paratriathlon World Championships. U.S. athletes raced to seven medals in Rotterdam, including a gold from Grace Norman (Jamestown, Ohio) in the women’s PTS5 class.
Palmquist had a lead coaching role last season at training camps for the USA Paratriathlon National Team in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the USA Paratriathlon Development Team in Chula Vista, California.
In addition to her team coaching role, she individually coached Melissa Stockwell (Chicago, Ill., PTS2), who earned a silver medal in October at the Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Paratriathlon World Cup, and Patty Collins (Alexandria, Va., PTS4), who earned bronze medals at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships and the Yokohama ITU World Paratriathlon event in addition to earning a national title in 2017.
Palmquist also played a key role in coach development for the sport of paratriathlon last year, contributing to the manual and presentation materials before providing in-person instruction at the first-ever USA Paratriathlon Coaching Certification Clinic held in July in Colorado Springs.
“What a tremendous honor,” Palmquist said. “I am grateful for each athlete, coach and mentor who has contributed to my professional journey. To get to do what I love most is amazing.”
USA Triathlon named its full roster of 2017 Athletes of the Year — including Age-Group Triathletes, Age-Group Duathletes, Elites and Junior Elites — earlier this week. Click here to view the full list of honorees.
News & Racing1 week ago
Mooloolaba Triathlon Unearths Two New Stars in Max Neumann and Kerry Morris
Interview1 week ago
Pre Wedding Nerves? Mooloolaba Triathlon Perfect Solution
News & Racing1 week ago
World Champions to Feature in Triathlon Mixed Relay Invitational Debut at Runaway Bay
News & Racing2 weeks ago
Wollongong Wizards Fired Up for ITU Mooloolaba World Cup
News & Racing1 week ago
Emma Jeffcoat Scores Breakthrough Win While Richard Murray And Matt Hauser Are On Track for Commonwealth Games
Interview1 week ago
AFL Champ Brent Staker Makes Triathlon Debut at Mooloolaba
Interview1 week ago
Age No Barrier for Mooloolaba Legends Gale and Ross
News & Racing2 weeks ago
Ironman New Zealand: Bozzone, Siddall Win by Large Margins, New Course Record Set