2018 in Review
It was a big year for many in the MEC squad and I very much enjoyed sitting back and looking over the results achieved an photos from 2018. This was the 3rd year for MEC which considering how short a period of time the group has been around the depth of results produced, the camaraderie between athletes by pushing each other to be better as well as picking each other up after the lows suggest a well established and successful environment.
We had an incredible year on many fronts with results showing great diversity in the group no matter what the age group or distance. Across all distances in triathlon from Sprint, Standard, Half & Full Iron distance we had World Championship qualifiers, countless podiums and personal bests. We had 2 new coaches start working with athletes and an additional 4 sit their Foundation coaching course later in 2018. Being apart of two school programs, beginning to work with junior athletes, training camps, clinics and club events made for a full year. For the full break down of the year read on below...
January brought about its usual influx of open water and short course triathlon racing. John Winterburn was in most open water events over the summer and on a mission. Sarah ‘Penguin’ Hardy took the Tasmanian Sprint distance title at home and we had 2 new coaches Andy White and Monica Liston start coaching with MEC. The Mighty Mouse also got one of her biggest training sessions done to prepare for her Epic 5 adventure doing an a full ironman after only finding out on the way to the pool from the coach that morning.
February saw the start of the school term and the beginning of MEC working with juniors through the Huntingtower Triathlon Program. It also brought some great racing performances particularly those at Geelong 70.3 where 6 out of 9 starters pb’d with Peter Smith and Bridie Meade knocking 18 min and 19 min off their respective best times. We also had Sam Elliot go under 5 hrs for the first time, finish top 10 and book a spot to the World Champs in his home Country of South Africa. The open water swimming continued and this time Samantha Doust paired up with Kelly Seagrave as a duo and swam the Rottnest Channel swim (19 km). Sam will head back in 2019 for a solo crossing. Christine Seymour also welcomed Braydon into the world in February and great to see Christine and Braydon both doing well and having a great 2018.
March had many getting the work done for key races ahead, some of which was done at our training camp up in Jindabyne. A perfect backdrop to get some strength in the body and many athletes coming to realise how strong they are becoming topped of with a little run to Australia’s highest point. Naomi Wood raced the Alpine Ascent taking 2nd female and the Ultraman boys, Chris White and John Winterburn got to work with their training that starts to be training runs of marathons about this time of the lead in. Sam Janssen and Sarah Hardy finished up collecting their points for the ITU world eagerly awaiting the team to be announced. It was also pleasing to have Kathy Delos Santos return to racing after a bike crash late 2017.
April brought about a swag of fast times at Challenge Melbourne care of a 800m short run course but that certainly didn’t dampen spirits of the 11 MEC athletes that raced that day with highlights being David Cunningham and Travis hill both taking upwards of 30 mins off their best times over that distance. We had our very first club Aquathlon in at Sandridge Beach and coach Monica Liston embarked on her comeback after injury in 2017 completing her local Burliegh 10km open water swim. The ITU Worlds Championships Teams were announced and both Sam and Sarah were selected to represent Australia in the Gold Coast in September.
May rolled around and the long course racing began first with Port Macquarie and Kathy Delos Santos crossing the line in her first 70.3 post her late 2017 bike crash and Naomi Wood taking 5th in her age group in the full distance. The Ultraman boys turned it on the following week with both Chris and John having great races. A stand out moment for 2018 being an incredible 7hr 08 min (5 min 04 sec km average) double marathon from Chris White on day 3.
June brought the highs and lows with Ben Hughes crossing the line in Ironman Philippines an agonising 2.5 minutes short of a Kona spot in brutally hot conditions. A 13 strong contingent headed to Cairns and was the first race where all coaches had athletes racing. Coach Andy White lead the charge in the 70.3 as 3rd male overall with Nick Fabbri who is coached by Andy completing his first 70.3. It was great to see Kate Elliot step back to the half distance and the athletes racing the full distance walked away with a swag of pb’s as well as top 10 finishes along with Pete and Donia completing their first Ironman. Marie Backstrom charged through her Surf Coast trail run as she built her training back up.
July and August were the months to take a breath half way through the year and was a running month with less triathlon and more road and trail racing. Scott Morrison was on the build for his first marathon later in the year and Shri and Stacey were putting in the training towards the goal races as well. Kerri Thomas made her first podium in the Bin Tan 70.3 taking 2nd place and showing she can race well in the heat.
September racing picked up and with it brought success and tough truths. Sam Elliot pieced together another great race in the 70.3 World Champs and again broke 5 hrs for the 2nd time. Sam and Sarah raced the ITU Worlds having strong races and proudly wearing the Australian colours. Stacey ventured off to complete her first 100km run on 2 weeks notice from the coach and on one of the toughest courses in Australia. Tim Martelli took the ‘early celebration’ award in his motherland race in Ironman Italy and in the same race David Lloyd crossed the line after a very uncertain 6 weeks leading in post tearing his hamstring.
The great days and bad days are never far apart in sport and Ironman Korea was that this year. Coach Monica "Kiddo" Liston completed what can only be said as an amazing feat of tenacity only 12 months after not being able to run due to a significant injury taking the win and her spot to the Ironman World Championships. Shri Vasudeva looked to join her and with a 21 minute lead at the beginning of the run looked to be close. 2 min 18 sec was all that separated her in the end as she took 2nd place. The mental fortitude showed to tough out that run when her body was failing shows her true character and drive. Both showed how deep they went to get the most out of themselves.
October had local racing with Melbourne Marathon and Scott Morrison completing his debut marathon in a time of 3 hrs 06 mins. Leanne Keating took 2nd place at the Australian duathlon championships in her build to Busso in December.
November brought with a surge of results towards the end of the year. The Captain took his 2nd consecutive podium up at Noosa, the ever young Hartley Wess completed the New York City Marathon, aged 71 and Kerri Thomas again showed she can handle the heat taking 5th place at Ironman Malaysia. More great racing at Challenge Shepparton with Simon Miller taking more than 20 mins off his previous best at the course, Sam Elliot laying down a phenomenal race taking 5th in 4 hrs 31 min and Chris White took his first podium in a half iron distance event with 2nd in his category. To finish it off we had our first ‘Mother/Daughter’ double in Bendigo where Sam Janssen and her daughter Jess both won their respective races at the off road triathlon.
December finally we got to where Sam Elliot finished off a huge year with a 30 min pb in Busselton Ironman and one of the best fighting finishes I’ve seen with Leanne ‘Croc’ Keating getting off the bike 20 min down on 3rd position and only falling short by a mere 2.5 minutes taking 4th spot and a 20 min pb to boot. Chris White and I began a new venture of ‘Momentum Through Sport’ Foundation which piloted a program based at Cranbourne Secondary College aimed at using the life lessons learnt through sport to help guide a be a positive tool for developing kids. This will continue to grow in the new year.
2019 is set to be a another big year with some rebooting over the Christmas break while others are already well on the way and building towards their goals ahead. Wherever you are in your progress and part of the MEC squad or not, we wish everyone the best for the year ahead and to aim be a little better than you were last year.