After finishing second last year, Victoria-based Annabel Luxford has gone one better to claim this year’s Ironman 70.3 Geelong title.
The 34-year old led from start-to-finish on Sunday, crossing the line in 4:21:20 ahead of Chile’s Barbara Riveros and Australia’s Sarah Crowley to claim her ninth career half-distance victory.
Luxford exited the water in just 25:40, a mere two seconds clear of Ellie Salthouse, before opening a commanding lead on the bike. Ultimately, Riveros would cut into the winning margin with a blistering 1:21:39 run, but this race was all about Luxford, who opened up a break as big as seven minutes at one stage.
“It was a pretty tough day in regards to the weather but I probably had the advantage being used to these conditions,” said Luxford. “I felt strong on the bike. I had a few stomach issues so I was unsure going into the run but it was nice to get that big lead and not have to push on the run. I certainly don’t have the run speed at the moment to chase people like Barbara.”
Luxford – who will now fix her attention on Ironman New Zealand – said it was a joy to win in front of familiar faces.
“It’s always nice to have a win, especially at a place where you know so many people. It was a pretty cool moment with [age-group athlete] Damien Angus. I’ve done a lot of training with him so to see him get the win was really special too,” she said.
Riveros was second past the post, overtaking Crowley and Salthouse with her dominant run. “It’s very special to be here and to cross this finish line. Eleven years ago, this race was my first in Australia so it’s great to be back here,” she said. “I struggled a bit with the weather and I was probably under-prepared. I started the run and I couldn’t feel my feet at all.”
- Annabel Luxford 4:21:20
- Barbara Riveros 4:26:30
- Sarah Crowley 4:27:34
- Ellie Salthouse 4:28:14
- Kirralee Seidel 4:31:14