Whilst this weekend’s Sunshine Coast 70.3 women’s field lacks in depth, it’s not short on talent with some top athletes lining up.
Going head to head for the second time in a month will be the two pre race favourites Gina Crawford and Lisa Marangon. In Yeppoon last month it was Gina that got the win over Lisa and so we can be sure to see a fierce battle amongst these two strong women.
Gina is racing at Kona in just over four weeks and will be using the Sunshine Coast race as a final hit out. The experienced Ironman champion has been testing some new race strategies to assist her in competing with the sports strongest athletes. Women such as Caroline Steffen, of whom we saw her finish second to in Bintan, Indonesia a couple of weeks ago.
For Gina the prize money (as a mother paying the bills has become an even bigger priority) is a motivator in her race planning and her recent schedule suggests this. Yeppoon 70.3, MetaMan Full, Sunshine Coast 70.3 and Kona all within a two month period.
Lisa Marangon will be wanting to even up the score with Gina this weekend, with this race being the second in her lead up to her major season focus of Ironman Western Australia. Yeppoon was Lisa’s first race back following some down time it will be interesting to see what strength she has gained over the past few weeks. Lisa has made some big changes this year with the focus of getting her mind and body aligned, and back into the type of shape that she feels has been lacking in recent seasons.
One of the changes Lisa has made to her training is a ‘less is more’ approach, and will be heading into this weekend’s race fresh. “I will be focusing on my nutrition and tweaking it as I move closer to IMWA if needed. This is still an aspect of my race that is not quite right. I am also excited to be part of the first ever Sunshine Coast 70.3.”
Andrea is now out of the race after picking up a virus.Andrea Forrest (nee Oracki) is looking to have a better race than at Yeppoon 70.3. Forrest is a strong swimmer, demonstrated at this year’s Cairns 70.3 coming out of the water with Kiwi Sam Warriner and first out on to the bike. Her official swim time was 26:56, so it will be interesting to see how the swim plays out, with Crawford and Marangon also accomplished swimmers.
Another Kiwi racing is Michelle Bremmer. Bremmer first raced a long course at Forster two years ago where she won over Lisa Marangon. Michelle has been training with Siri Linley in the US and we are looking forward to seeing what she has done since we saw her win Ironman Western Australia in 2011.
Another athlete that hasn’t raced so much lately is Aussie Matilda Raynolds. The popular Sydney based farm girl has been working hard under the guidance of new coach Chris Hanrahan after making a move away from Spot Anderson last year. Matilda is a gutsy racer and was unhappy with her result at the Cairns 70.3 this year, finishing only seven minutes behind Sam Warriner as 4th professional female overall. She was pretty tough on herself and is looking to improve on this result in the Sunshine Coast.
Kiyomi Niwata is someone that we have been keenly watching for a while now. She finished 2nd to Sam Warriner in the pro field at Cairns this year with a solid swim, reasonable bike and with the fastest female run of the day. At the Port Macquarie 70.3 last year Niwata had the fastest swim in her category and second fastest run, for a 5th place overall finish.
Melbourne based Elly Franks had some great results in 2012. She won two half iron distance triathlons in Italy, was 1st in the open division at Geelong and 7th at a 70.3 also in Italy. It will be great to see her racing again this weekend. “I really focused on my corporate health career early in the year and competed in Ironman Melbourne but wasn’t really prepared. It took its toll on me. I then battled with sickness for a couple of months and decided to escape the Melbourne winter and head to the USA for June/July to get healthy and build some base while incorporating some work conferences.”
Elly has been building up slowly, still working on the immune system and putting some consistent training in for the Sunshine Coast 70.3 this weekend which will be her first serious race for many months. “I’m really looking forward to racing a lot this season. I’m staying away from Ironman for a while and aiming to race sprint races for fun and speed, as well as the 70.3’s and hopefully a Challenge race as well.”
For Elly training is going better than ever before. “I’ve finally achieved a really effective balance between work and triathlon, and as soon as the weather warms up a little here in Melbourne I’m sure the colds and flu’s will stop! I have also had no niggles as I’ve been working well in the gym doing some core and strengthening to hopefully limit the injuries this year.”
New Zealand’s Tineke Stewart is unknown on this side of the Tasman. She ran a 1:25 in a half marathon in Wellington a few months ago and is looking forward to racing in the warmer climate of the Sunshine Coast.
Another Kiwi Melanie Burke could be a dark horse. The 2011 Zofingen ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Champion is fairly new to swimming but knows how to ride and run. The other girls will, or at least should, be keeping an eye on her. Burke has held New Zealand titles in running, rowing and cycling as well as duathlon.
|Andrea Oracki (out)