Queensland’s Max Neumann put together a thrilling performance to take out his maiden Ironman title on debut, claiming the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Cairns on Sunday.
In sweltering conditions, Neumann dug deep to outrun a quality field of long course specialists, including 2017 Asia Pacific Champion Josh Amberger and top 10 Kona finisher Tim Van Berkel to take home line honours in Cairns.
Speaking to Ironman, Neumann said that he felt unreal through the final stages of the race.
“It feels special of course, I spent five months preparing for this one race, I didn’t come here to come fifth,” Neumann said.
“I felt pretty good all day, except for a couple of patches on the bike when I ran out of water and I felt my mouth start to go dry. As soon as I got some more water on board I felt better.”
“You’ve just got to get used to this type of racing, it’s a completely different ballgame. You don’t really go that hard, it’s more like an aerobic pace and I think my body likes that and hopefully I have a good future in this kind of racing.”
Neumann made his intentions of a win clear right from the start, exiting just behind Amberger, who led out of the swim,. Neumann found himself well placed towards the front of the race as they commenced the 180km ride. With Amberger slowly pushing his lead out to a minute and a half by the end of the bike leg, it all came down to the run. Digging deep, Neumann overtook Amberger halfway through the 42km run, before pushing on to take the win. Van Berkel worked his way through the field on the run to take home second place, with Amberger claiming an honourable third.
New Zealand’s Amelia Rose Watkinson took out her maiden championship title and Asia Pacific Championship in just her second Ironman race. Pacing herself through the 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42km run, Watkinson ran down Queensland’s Sarah Crowley in the final stages of the race to take home the Asia Pacific Championship title.
Watkinson, Crowley and Renee Kiley controlled the race from the start, with the trio remaining within striking distance of each other through much of the swim and bike. Crowley worked hard to open up a five-minute gap on her opponents as she neared the final stages of the bike leg. However, a penalty accrued in her first 7km for drafting all but wiped out her lead, putting Watkinson and Kiley back in contention for the title. Despite Crowley quickly reclaiming her lead on the run, a chasing Watkinson and Kiley continued to push the pace, with Watkinson overtaking Crowley in the final stages to run home to the title. Crowley held strong to take second, with Kiley rounding out the podium.
1st – Max Neumann, 08:13:09
2nd – Tim Van Berkel, 08:15:58
3rd – Josh Amberger, 08:18:39
1st – Amelia Watkinson, 9:20:39
2nd – Sarah Crowley, 9:22:04
3rd – Renee Kiley, 9:23:57