Ollie Whistler and Michelle Wu have had great wins today in Yeppoon taking out the Capricorn Resort Ironman 70.3. Ollie won his race on the bike and Michelle won her race in the run. In the end Whistler was only six seconds ahead of a fast finishing Matty White who’s lack of recent racing meant that he was down a bit after the swim and lost a further 2:28 on the bike to Ollie.
Michelle Wu, known for her run, gave Lisa Marangon a 2:40 head start after the swim and bike then set about chasing down Marangon. Wu posted a 1:25:58 half marathon almost nine minutes faster than Lisa. Marangon has being focusing 100% on ITU racing and this hit home today with the longer distances taking it out of her.
Matty White had to run himself in to the race today after four guys lead him on to the bike.”I came out the water in about 4th with Griffo and Stewart with Whistler just ahead, and I was really suffering when I hit dry land. I mounted the bike but things just were not happening for me with Griffo, Ollie and Stewart riding away from me with ease. I really was pedalling squares and I was contemplating pulling over and calling it a day as I was feeeling that bad, but I decided to slow things down and keep it steady until Richard Thomson caught me and rode straight through catching up to the lead 3 of Whistler, Bailey and Griffo.”
White got off the bike with Stewart and Bowstead, about three minutes down on the lead three guys. “I set about working on a solid pace knowing that the run course here is not a fast one at all with a lot of winding paths and bush trails, and that is the hard thing about this course especially when you are running from behind as you cannot see the athletes up front until you are just about to pass them, and with no turn point you really are running blind.” White caught Bailey at the7km mark and then Thomson at the 15km. “With Whistler still about 1.30min up the road, I was starting to feel really good as the run went on and was turning the screws yet without time splits and no indication of where Ollie was I was running blind. With less than 1km to go I noticed ollie just up the path about 50m, I put the afterburners on but with the resort path winding into the finish line it was hard to pick up speed and I ran out of road finishing about 5 seconds behind Ollie in a thrilling finish.”
Third place overall Richard Thompson has been on a mission this year since the Hukisson Long Course in February and has recently been in the USA putting in a solid training block before coming home to race at Yeppoon. That showed today when he blasted the field apart on the bike with a very quick 2:11 pushing Ollie Whistler who is used to being one of the fastest on the bike. “After spending all of July in Lake Tahoe, California, we decided to race Ironman 70.3 Yeppoon to see where my race fitness was compared to the strong professional field assembled. Despite a good start in the swim I never really felt all that comfortable and hit T1 in 24:22, a bit over 90 seconds off the lead. Out on to the bike and I instantly felt great and within 10km had pick up Matty White and moved into fifth spot.” Thompson caught good mate Ollie Whistler at the 45km mark and then set about trying to put as much time in to Matty White as possible. Thompson ended up with a the fastest bike split of the day at 2:11. “By 4km in to the run I knew that I didn’t have the legs to contest for the win so I was doing my best to hang on for second. Into the second lap, I was 40sec from the lead and 1:30 from third place. I was struggling and the lack of running was coming to the fore. At the 17km mark I was overtaken without much resistance. I very happy to cross the finish line in third in 3:58, a bit over 90 seconds off the win.”
One of the pre-race favourites Leon Griffin suffered a puncture on the bike and had to pull out.
In the women’s race Lisa Marangon came out of the water almost one minute ahead of the next woman and 1:11 in front of Michelle Wu. Age grouper Nicole Barry had the fastest swim of the day at 24:38. Wu flew back to Australia from the USA last week for Yeppoon and is heading straight back there.
2011 Cairns Half winner Rebecca Eveleigh was racing as an age grouper today and finished fourth overall with a solid 1:30 half marathon just behind fellow age grouper and third overall Kristy Hallett.
In the guys race Rob Hurley came out of the blocks fast with his usual strong swim and finished with a solid 4:20. Another great performance today was 18 year old Shaun Vidler. In May he posted a 4:30 at the Port Maquarie in his first 70.3 and today went 4:15 with a more solid run.