It was the last Iron distance race of the season in Busselton Western Australia and it certainly was one to remember. As with all long distance races many curve balls get thrown at athletes and this race had it all. A cancelled swim due to a 'fish' sighting meant the day turned to a ride/run event. Upon confirmation of change on race morning, the MEC athletes were told it was to be 'business as usual' and race to their plan. A swimless event was destined for fresh athletes to override and many competitors fell into that trap.
Sam Elliot was coming into this race with good form after a bumpy lead in with his accident at Sunny Coast 70.3. No excuses for him here though as he had done the work to have a good day. It was a race within a race for Sam with a band of his merry mates also competing and plenty of pre race banter on who was to take the 'title'. A strong ride from Sam meant he started the run well however his coach still sees room for improvement to be a little more conservative to save tickets for later in the run. It was a warm day and Sam handled himself well with the only hole in the armor showing on the 3rd lap of the run. Same finished well and has got a sniff of where racing smarter will see further improvement. Most importantly for Sam though was taking the crown in the 'mates race' for the day.
Al Thompson is no stranger to the heat being a Darwin local and this proved a benefit come later in the day. A strong ride set up the run with the goal of running around the 4hr mark. As with many in the sport, Al had in the back of his mind some past 'blow ups' in ironman and he let those go on Sunday looking strong all day on the run and coming home with a 4hr 01min run and 9hr 56min total for bike run. Well done Al on a strong day.
Peter Smith was making his Ironman debut on the weekend and his preparation had been flawless. Pete has gone from strength to strength in his training in 2017 and particularly in the water. He rode a smart ride before getting off to discover what running a marathon after a 180k's is like. He got on with it and gritted the teeth when needed to cross the line and collect his first IM finishers medal. No doubt the wheels are turning in his mind looking for the next IM but certainly after some well earned R&R.
Donia Trethewey-Brown was all smiles all day. Donia was so meticulous in her preparation after having surgery on a lower leg issue in 2016 and it all came together well for her in her first Ironman. Like many Donia works full time and has a young family to look after and she made no excuses with fitting in her training where and when she could. An evenly paced bike had her into T2 and like Pete ready to learn what all the 'talk' is about. The heat didn't wipe the smile and the Ladybug tapped out a great run. This lady has some big goals ahead and was a pleasure to watch her use this as her stepping stone. Well done Donia.
Stuart White was toeing the start line for his first IM in a while. Again another athlete that had made great progress in the water but nonetheless got on with the big day. Starting the day well on the bike but perhaps underestimating the heat and hydration requirements for the day caught up with him later. Stuart did well to salvage himself with some well needed replenishment of fluids on the run and bringing it home for another finish and some valuable lessons. Well done for sticking it out Stuart.
A mention to Marie Backstrom who took on the 70.3 in Busselton. After wetsuiting up before the swim was cancelled she got on with a handy bike and strong run as the day heated up. A great race from Marie.
Samantha Doust is in training for a big swim next year and was using the Bondi to Bronte on the weekend as some open water practice. The water temperature certainly wasn't warm at a balmy 15 deg and the course was modified to 2km within Bondi beach however she made short work of the 2km course finishing in 28mins. The build will continue for Sam as she gets ready for her main event early next year.
Finally a mention to Les Toth who took on the Saftey Beach 'Rushfest' event comprising of 2x races back to back. Les has shown that his consistent training in running is starting to pay off with regular improvements.
We head to Portsea this weekend for race 2 of the 2xu series with a new swim/run format.