With the year winding down the racing is still coming on with plenty hitting the start line over the weekend.

In Melbourne we had Kathy Delos Santos running in the Carmans 1/2 marathon. In blustery conditions she ran her way to a 2 minute best time over the half marathon distance and showing that she is now knocking on the door of that sub 2hr soon.

Further down The Bay Martin Spronge lined up for the Sufferfest events in Mount Martha. A mixed format event where competitors did a sprint distance event then after a short break completed a super sprint distance event. Martin took a bit to get the motor going on the first event finishing 4th in his category but hit his stride in the shorter format finishing 2nd and gave him 3rd for the combined events. A great format to mix up different styles of racing.

Up in Canberra Samantha Doust made the trek with the aim of logging her qualification swim for the Rottnest Channel swim where she will swim solo next year. Sam made easy work of the 9km non wetsuit event even though it was in challenging wind chop conditions. Her brother Josh who was paddling was bailing water from his kayak late in the swim which added to the drama but didn't slow them down too much. Sam took 3rd overall in the non wetsuit category and more importantly swam well under the qualifying time of 4 hrs finishing in 2 hrs 37 min.

Up in Qld Coach Mon Liston is getting the body back moving post her Kona qualification earlier in the year running as a part of a team at the Kingscliff triathlon. A 10k run on full gas when you are coming off a break isn't pretty, but a good motivator to get back training come the new year.

Over in WA we had athletes in the ironman/70.3 events. Sam Elliot pieced together his best ever swim and bike in terms of racing to plan and being patient. He ran into trouble on the run but still managed to get it home for an iron distance pb of 30 mins. Sam is hunting for that Kona spot and can see it is within reach when he can put together the full swim/bike/run. Sam has had a simply stunning year starting in Geelong in February with a pb 70.3 and 1st sub 5 hr and top 10 placing. He then went on to a pb Iron distance time in Cairns in June and then broke 5 hrs at the Worlds in South Africa.  He bettered his pb again at Shepp half last month (short run but big enough time drop to count) finishing in 4 hr 31 min and then finished the year with his 10 hr 21 min at Busso on the weekend. A well earned rest now after a stella 2018.

Leanne Keating, or 'Croc' as she is better known in our group, got her teeth out and had what was in my opinion, one of the guttiest runs by any of the MEC in 2018 (probably only matched by Chris White at Ultraman). Leanne stuck to her race plan and put herself in the position that she wanted to be in. She went to Busselton to learn how to 'race' an ironman, not just complete one. She did everything well and got herself out of the water in the top 10 and maintained that coming off the bike in 8th. She was told she had 20 mins to make up at the start of the marathon to make 3rd place and she went to work. At the end of the run she was a mere 3.5 minutes away from 3rd and finished in a gallant 4th place (her first age group top 5) and the knowledge she needs for when she races this distance again.

A late entry had David Cunningham lining up in the 70.3 event and it was great to see him get through after such a tough 2018. Tenacity is something that David has plenty of and we hope that things are on the up for him in 2019.

I could see the thought put into my training plan

My motivation increased when I could see the thought put into my training plan and the difference it made in my result. The sessions were built for what I needed and I felt strong all day racing. Most of all I could feel Michael cared, so a very big thank you.

Samantha, Age group winner March 25, 2016