Australia’s newest triathlon sensation, Melissa Rollison, finished and amazing 2nd at the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in Phuket. Melissa’s 12th fastest overall run of the day catapulted her in to 2nd spot behind the powerhouse Caroline Steffen. Rollison’s self confessed slow swim was good on the day and put her in 7th coming out of the water and a quick T1 saw her move in to 5th at the start of the bike leg.
Top 10 female results below…
Australia’s Belinda Granger was 3rd, Michelle Wu 4th and Rachael Paxton was 7th. In the mens race Chris Legh was 5th and Paul Ambrose was 6th.
Race report by Melissa Rollison…
The weather was warm, humid and muggy but this is something I am used to living in Queensland. I am in Phuket for the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships.
I was just praying for no rain. The weather report has been rain all week but luckily it stayed away. The reason I was hoping for no rain was that this course had hills. I don’t mean your usual rolling hills. We had climbs at 21% and descents at 22%. The climbs were hard enough in the dry but in the wet I’m sure my tyres would be spinning out struggling to get traction. Then for the descents. Some were straight but many swept around sharp corners where leaves lay over the road. At times my Garmin would auto pause, I was almost at a stand-still.
Anyway taking you back to the start of my race, my swim. The gun went off and I bolted down the sand and dived into the ocean. The water was beautiful. So clear, so still and so warm. We swam a triangle 1280m then ran back up the sand, over a hill and then into a fresh water lake for the final 620m. I emerged 7th out of the swim. I was stoked. Swimming is definitely not my strongest leg. I have never taken part in swimming, I’ve come from a running background and preferred to keep my feet on solid ground.
Coming out of T1 I found myself jumping onto my bike in 5th position, somehow passing two girls in transition.
The bike leg was… Different! It had character. At 16km we had to dismount and run our bikes up and over a bridge to cross the highway. The technical course took us through the local streets of Phuket, tight corners, bumpy concrete roads, dogs and scooters to tackle. Then we headed along the coast line before hitting the mountains. The scenery was fantastic. The hills were tough. I passed an athlete bringing me up to 4th place. At 66km we crossed the bridge again, dismounting, running with our bikes and mounting as fast as possible. Some reasonable straight, smooth and flat roads followed until 72km where we hit the rest of the hills. I passed another athlete over these hills, now putting me in 3rd. The dismount line of the bike leg came up unexpected so instead of leaving my shoes on my bike I quickly unclipped and handed my bike to the catchers. I bolted down to the change tent and slipped up on my bottom and began throwing my shoes off while searching for my running shoes. The helpers in the tent were amazing. I was throwing stuff everywhere and they we helping me get out of there in the quickest possible time.
On to the run, we head out on a cross country course before hitting the road. Again, there was so much character on the course. It was different. It was enjoyable. I’m about 9 minutes behind the lead girl, Caroline Steffen and about 3 ½ minutes behind Belinda Granger. I catch Belinda in no time and I try to chase down Caroline. I had the fastest run leg by almost 4minutes but it wasn’t enough to catch the speedy Swiss who put almost 3 minutes into me in the swim and almost 6minutes on the bike.
My run time of 1:23:30 placed me 6th fastest in the pro men. My bike time of 2:29:11 was the 3rd fastest pro female and my swim time, 29:23 was 7th in the females. My overall time of 4:24:53 secured me 2nd place in the Asia Pacific Championships.
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