Mel Hauschildt has won the Busselton IRONMAN last Sunday, thanks to impressive perseverance through excruciating cramps and a mission to overcome a disappointing race at Kona. Here’s how the women’s race played out at Ironman Western Australia.
Piampiano completes her fastest swim ever
Mel Hauschildt hit the swim hard, jetting into the lead pack with defending champion Sarah Piampiano close behind. Australian Lauren Parker set the pace, though, reaching T1 in just 52 minutes. Hauschildt was close behind and reached the shore in 54 minutes, followed by Piampiano with her best swim time ever and Kym Coogan, another keen Aussie.
Cramps threaten Mel Hauschildt’s lead on bike
As the women soared through T2 and into the bike leg, the champions started taking charge while German Mareen Hufe made her move. By the 90 km mark, Hauschildt had taken the lead by three minutes and Hufe was next in line, moving into second just 30 seconds ahead of Piampiano. Swedish Asa Lundstroem made dramatic moves in the bike, jetting from ninth at T1 to fourth halfway through the bike race.
As the bike progressed, Hauschildt battled cramp and Hufe looked stronger than ever. The German sped into the lead, creating a new bike course record at 04:41:32.
Hauschildt powers to victory in course record time
Mel Hauschildt had told fans before the race: “I love racing in Australia and I don’t get to do it often.” Throughout the run, her power and joy of racing on home soil clearly shone through. While Hufe’s lead of 2:30 at T2 was impressive, Hauschildt maintained her momentum and started working her way to the top.
Just 10km into the marathon, Hauschildt had regained the lead but more hamstring cramps threatened her position. She battled on regardless and fought strong runners Piampiano and Hufe for first place, finishing in a lightning fast course record time of 8:54:39. All top three women finished under the nine hour mark, with German Mareen Huge taking second with 8:57:36, and American Sarah Piampiano reaching the finish line in third with 8:58:51.
Mel Hauschildt ready for R&R
Winning an IRONMAN, and setting a new course record with desperately excruciating leg cramps is truly impressive, and Mel Hauschildt is now ready for a well-deserved break. “When things go pear-shaped right from the start, the finish banner looks like a barrel of gold!” she said on Instagram. “So happy and relieved right here! Job done! Now time to have a break, continue with my leg treatment and get myself 100% healthy for next year.”
Sarah Piampiano is also ready for some off-season relaxation, but is content with her qualification for Kona 2017. “Did I want to win? Yes I did. But I’m proud of my performance today nonetheless,” Piampiano noted on Instagram. “It wasn’t a great day but there was a lot of great that happened throughout and I head into my off-season satisfied.”