A WEEKEND OF GREAT TRIATHLON RACING
For the second time the New Zealand Ironman was a reduced race changing the dynamics, favouring the shorter course specialist. The race attracted some great female triathletes, Jo Lawn, Gina Crawford, Kate Bevilaqua and Meredith Kessler
Jo Lawn has been a dominant force in New Zealand and it’s unfortunate that she wasn’t able to show her strength as an Ironman athlete in the shortened course but speculating on potential results is difficult.
Meredith Kessler dominated the race from the water and never looked back. She led Gina Crawford after the swim and dominated on both the bike and run. The tussle for 2nd place is reminiscent of 2008, when Jo Lawn and Kate Bevilaqua ran side by side until the last 5km when Jo took line honours. In 2012 Kate was victorious by only 3 seconds.
Gina Crawford has had an amazing year after having child and then winning the Lake Wanaka Challenge Iron distance race. She finished the race in 4th position
Swim 26:39 Cycle 2:29:57 Run 1:21:37 TOTAL 4:22:46
Swim 29:04 Cycle 2:32:52 Run 1:23:23 TOTAL 4:30:37
Swim 27:45 Cycle 2:33:42 Run 1:23:47 TOTAL 4:30:40
This race attracts a great field of athletes due to the high prize money and alternate distance. With a 200km ride and only 20km run, it’s a race for the bikers who like the heat.
Jodie Swallow led the women in the swim with a time of 58:53 leading the pack out of the water. It was the bike leg that saw this great race develop, Nikki Butterfield, Canadian Angela Naeth , Melissa Rollison and Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen leading the way. Naeth hit the run in first place and kept this lead through out the run to win the race.
“Honestly, I came here to try and win this race but when it comes to the day you never know what might actually happen. This year boasted such a strong women’s line up but I knew if I had a good day out on the course it meant I was in for a great chance. I was behind at the end of the swim so that wasn’t unusual – it was just a matter of minimising my losses and saving the energy until the best part – the bike race,” said Butterfield, who crossed the Abu Dhabi finish with her daughter Savana in her arms.
“I caught up on the bike and I knew I was in with the chance. However, I was really concerned about Melissa Rollison – she is such a good runner. My first priority was to beat her off the bike and she was more tired than me – she left little gaps open and I sat 15 metres behind her. I jumped across to Angela, Caroline and Jodie and while I was messing they came up hard and I hit it even harder like it was a cycling race.
“At the end of the day you want to get the best out of yourself and I am glad I pushed myself today to and won it. I am so motivated by winning this race because when I came down here that was what I had planned for exactly,” added the Australian, a former Under-23 World Champion and Australian Long Course Champion.
- Nikki Butterfield 7:00:22
- Angela Naeth 7:03:00
- Caroline Steffen 7:04:29
- Melissa Rollison 7:05:00
- Rachel Joyce 7:06:25