Luke Bell and Rebecca Hoschke have turned adversity to victory to claim breakthrough wins in IRONMAN Australia, Port Macquarie.
Injury forced both to pull out during the bike leg of the URBAN Hotel Group IRONMAN Asia Pacific Championship Melbourne last month. Rather than waste all that training both decided to front up in Port Macquarie.
It proved a fortuitous decision as they both went on to record their maiden Ironman victories.
For Bell the win means he can finally add the tag of Ironman champion to an already impressive list of credentials.
The top spot on the podium was the only thing missing from the trophy cabinet that contains 19 IRONMAN 70.3 wins and four Ironman runner-up finishes.
“It’s been a little over 10 years so it’s nice to be able to tick it off for sure but it makes it more special that it’s here at Ironman Australia,” Bell said.
“This is where it all started, so it’s only fitting that I achieved it here. I do a lot of races around the world but it’s always nicer to win one at home, your family friends, all the other Aussies here, it’s a different feeling having the Aussie support out there that’s for sure,” Bell said.
Bell dominated his competition leading out of the water and racing solo to the finish line in a time of 8:30:22. American Patrick Evoe was second in 8:42:57 with Australian Luke Whitmore rounding out the podium in 9:03:28.
It was a fitting victory for Bell who wore the favourite tag from the moment he entered. He built a five minute lead in the water and by the end of the bike leg he had extended that to 11min 30sec buffer over Evoe.
The American battled hard during the run but could not eat into Bell's lead eventually finishing 12min 30sec behind the Victorian. Whitmore finished in third 33min 06sec behind Bell.
"I guess you could say the monkey is off the back. I can go to press conferences now and instead of being asked when I'm going to win one of these things, they can call me an Ironman champion," Bell said.
"Hats off to Luke today, he raced wire to wire and I'm really happy for him winning his first in his home country," Evoe said.
There was some synergy to Bell's win today, as a 24-year-old he announced himself as an athlete of the future when he recorded a sixth place finish in his first ever Ironman race at the 2002 IRONMAN Australia.
The following year he finished third at Ironman Australia and fifth in Hawaii, and in 2005 he finished second at Ironman Australia.
Now the tag of Ironman's ‘nearly man’ is a thing of the past, Bell has his first title, and it couldn't have come at a better time or place.
“It’s a long solo day out there and you know you’re playing mental games with yourself all day and trying not to think about the big picture and get ahead of yourself. It’s more about ticking off the little goals, little sections throughout the race and making sure that you’re in control and when you feel good go with it and that’s the way I tried to race today,” said Bell.
For Hoschke the win came after a stellar 2012 saw her finish third at IRONMAN Western Australia.
In the women's event 40-44 category age grouper Leanne Southwell lead the pro women out of the water, and held onto the race lead until she was caught by race favourite Nicole Ward, fellow Aussie's Rebecca Hoschke and Ange Castle.
By the end of the bike leg Hoschke, and Castle had separated themselves from the rest of the field. Hoschke held onto a two minute lead for first half of the run.
Castle, competing in her first Ironman as a professional, battled hard all day but just couldn't reduce the gap to Hoschke's to make the more experienced athlete panic.
Ward rounded out the podium in third place.
"Two days ago I woke up sick and didn't think I could race today, but I'm so glad I did the locals and the support from the crowd is amazing,"
"I loved every minute of the bike today, I felt strong, and I loved that course,” said Hoschke.
A full set of results – Click here
North Queensland schoolboy sports star Brad Beven would run four kilometres to and from his beloved Miriwinni State School every day carrying a brick in each hand.
The kids on the school bus would hang out the window and give him a hard time, laughing at the boy running along the road as they enjoyed their daily ride to class.
But this 10-year-old farm boy who would one day conquer the world, took the Miriwinni school motto of “Success Follows Effort” literally.
At the suggestion of his dad Ray, Brad added the two bricks – one in each hand - to build himself up when he set out every morning to run to school.
“I was a little on the puny side as a kid and dad suggested I run with bricks to help build myself up,” recalled Beven this week when he looked back over a stellar career in the sport of triathlon.
“The kids would give me a hard time, yelling at me out of the bus windows but later they’d say to me we never realised just how good you would be.”
Now there is a sign that welcomes travelers to Miriwinni (a little sub-tropical haven some 65 kilometres south of Cairns) “The Home of World Triathlon Champion Brad Beven.”
The puny kid went on to become a legend in the sport – winning four consecutive World Cup Series titles between 1992 and 1995 and three silver medals in the ITU World Championships in the 90s – amongst a host of amazing achievements at home and abroad.
The 1990 ITU World Championships in Orlando Florida was very much Australia’s day with Greg Welch taking the gold medal from Beven and Stephen Foster taking the bronze in only the second ever World Championship.
Beven was in the mix again in 1994, finishing with the silver behind the aggressive Brit Spencer Smith before taking silver again to another Brit, Simon Lessing in 1995.
But it was satisfaction of his consistency through the World Cup circuits that would bring great satisfaction to Beven.
“We would race 30 times a year and the World Cup winner would be the most consistent for the year and that was satisfiying for me,” said Beven.
The Miriwinni school boasts, “Nearby you will find lovely shady beaches, superb rainforests and crystal clear freshwater creeks, not to forget the excellent fishing spots” and Beven explored it all, training by himself without a coach and taking his talents to the world.
“Looking back I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Beven, “I would always run up and down chasing Dad’s tractor through the cane fields every day…I was always on the run and took up triathlon when I started cross training for my running and swimming training so I wouldn’t lose fitness in between seasons.
“It was all trial and error and I learnt so much despite the weather; it was either raining or stinking hot up home.
“And when Cairns hosted the first ever triathlon in 1982 I started riding with a group of guys. I was about 14 at the time and I have never looked back since.”
Nicknamed “Croc” because he would train through crocodile infested swamps around his parents cane farm in Miriwinni, Beven along with the likes of Welch and Miles Stewart, would go on to transform the sport of triathlon, putting it on the Australian sporting map – athletes ahead of their time.
And on Sunday night March 17, at the Triathlon Australia Celebration of Champions Annual Awards Dinner at Novotel Twins Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast, the “Croc” will join his two contemporaries as only the third male to be inducted into the Triathlon Australia Hall of Fame.
Beven will join Welch, Stewart, Michellie Jones and last year’s inductees Jackie Gallagher, Loretta Harrop and Emma Carney as the seventh inductee in Triathlon Australia’s select club.
“I suppose it’s recognition for devoting 30 years of your life to doing triathlons and to join Greg and Miles it’s nice to receive this induction,” said Beven.
“We came through an era when television came on board and it grew quite fast and it all helped build the sport and the popularity.
“People from Miriwinni could turn on the TV and see me in action and it was a huge thrill.”
But of all of his international wins and notoriety it was his victory in his home town Cairns Triathlon in the late 80s that stands out in an extraordinary career that saw him race consistently 30 times a year for four years to win those World Cup Series for four straight years (1992-1995).
“That meant so much to me, to win in Cairns in front of my Mum and Dad and family and friends was very special indeed,” said Beven.
“It was a race I always wanted to win in front of my home town crowd.
“Because Dad was always cutting the cane around the summer months when I was racing he never got the chance to see me race and he was also in New Zealand when I ran second in the 1990 Commonwealth Games (to Rick Wells) demonstration sport and that was also a thrill.
“To win as an individual was great, but to wear the green and gold at the Commonwealth Games was very special.”
First Off The Bike said of Beven when rating Australia’s best triathletes: “Domestically he was an absolute rock star and became a household name in Australia. He was super quick and competitive and also traveled well having multiple top 10 finishes in both ITU and World titles races. His dominance in Australia was the key point here. Brad made many athletes look very average when he was in his heyday.”
Many believe that Brad Beven was the world’s greatest triathlete “never to win a world championship.”
BRAD BEVEN’S RECORD
Four-time ITU World Cup Champion
7-time Australian Grand Prix Champion
International Grand Prix Champion
Five-time Australian Triathlon Champion
Three-time runner-up ITU World Championships
Silver medal 1990 Commonwealth Games, Auckland
Tickets to Triathlon Australia’s Celebration of Champions Dinner can be bought online from the event website http://regonline.activeglobal.com/builder/site/?eventid=1184961
Image courtesy of Triathlon Australia
After the weather gods showed their anger, the skies are now clearing just in time for the 7 th bi-annual Tweed Coast Holiday Parks Kingscliff Triathlon Multisport Weekend.
With competition fierce, reputations on the line and the joy of achievement being shown by every competitor, why not have a go and put your skills to the test.
Over 900 participants already have registered, and there is still room for more. With 200 competitors all set to test themselves in the new Sprint Distance (750m Swim, 20km Ride & 5km Run) there is an event for every age and skill through the picturesque coastal town.
Kingscliff is getting ready, with the locals on the edge of their footpaths in anticipation for what is becoming one of the coast’s premier events.
With locals lining the streets, what better atmosphere would you ask for to perform in front of family, friends and locals just enjoying the effort shown by all.
There are 9 different events over the weekend, sign up and give one a go, there ought to be an event for you.
Give yourself the opportunity to escape the much hyped and eagerly anticipated ‘Hyundai Cage’. As time ticks by more and more competitors are registering,fields are limited so don’t miss out.
Head onto www.kingsclifftri.com.au for more information and to register.
Don’t be one of those people sitting at home wondering what could have been on the 9th & 10th of March 2013, enjoy what you did not miss out on at the 7th Bi-Annual Tweed Coast Holiday Parks Kingscliff Multisport Weekend!!
Images courtesy of QSM Sports
Triathlon’s man-of-the-moment Peter Kerr called on all his skills as a surf lifesaver in Warnambool to set up his third major victory in three months to take out today’s Oceania Sprint Distance Triathlon Championship in Devonport.
The 24-year-old Victorian won a thrilling sprint finish to add the Oceania title to his victories in the Australian Sprint distance Championship in Geelong and the Noosa Olympic Distance Title late last year.
Kerr stormed home after reveling in the choppy one-metre surf conditions that were more suited to Australia’s best Ironmen and Ironwomen and not Australia’s budding triathletes.
But Kerr rubbed his hands with glee when he arrived at the Devonport Surf Life Saving Club to see the kind of conditions he grew up in a Warnambool.
He came out of the water in the leading group and after hanging tough on the bike survived an “up and down” run with Ryan Bailie, Dan Wilson, Jamie Huggett, Ryan Fisher and Marcel Walkington and to charge away over the final 500 metres for a spirited victory.
Bailie, who was never afraid to lead on the bike and the run, hung on to take second with a revitalised Huggett claiming a well deserved third ahead of Queenslander Declan Wilson with Dan Wilson notching a confidence-boosting fifth after a horror run with injuries.
Kerr, who will now set his sights on races in Wellington, Mooloolaba, Auckland and San Diego said the winning feeling was something he could certainly get used to.
“It’s a habit I’d like to keep – to bolster the CV is a good thing,” said Kerr, who has his 2013 sights on the ITU World Championships in London and his long term goal, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“We are developing a great new culture among our men and there’s ten guys who have the calibre to go all the way and it’s 100 percent my goal to go to the next Olympics.
“Our top men may well come from different States but we are all on the Australian team coming to these events and supporting each other and patting each other on the back.”
Meanwhile Canberra-based British athlete Jodie Stimpson won the women’s race in an all international podium, with Wollongong-based American Gwen Jorgensen taking second ahead of Irish Olympian Aileen Reid third.
Jorgensen’s Australian training partner from the Jamie Turner stable, Charlotte McShane, was the first Australian home and was awarded the Oceania gold medal.
In the Australian Junior Championships, Australian Youth Olympic Festival gold medallists Jaz Hedgeland and Jacob Birtwhistle continued on their winning ways to put themselves in the box seat for selection on the Australian team for this year’s ITU World Championships.
Western Australian Hedgeland, admitting she was “all at sea” in the choppy surf conditions, was surprised but delighted to come from the second pack on the bike to run down a brave Holly Grice from the Dan Atkins stable after a neck-an d-neck battle with defending champion and former ITU World Junior Champion, Mikayla Nielsen from New Zealand.
Birtwhistle, the boy from Launceston, who also said he was far from at home in the surf, coming out of the water in 13th place.
He lowly but surely worked his way through the field – coming from the second bike pack to put himself within striking distance for his specialist run leg.
But he knew the 5km run wasn’t going to be easy with the Kieran Barry coached Matt Baker from the NSW Central Coast, setting a hot pace on the run.
Birtwhistle took off on the final kilometre to reel Baker in and sprint away with the Australian Junior title and set himself up to lead the Australian Junior team for London in September.
Image courtesy of triathlonmag.com.au
On Saturday the 16th of February, the scenic township of Coles Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula will transform into a Triathlon mecca, as the Nations best Triathletes line up for the Coles Bay Half.
With the initial start list posted online today, you will see many local familiar names with the Current Australian 70.3 Australian Champion Tim Van Berkel and fellow National successes Matty White and Adam Gordon. As well as up and coming juniors; Justin Brewer and U/23, ITU Oceanic Long Course Champion Michael Murphy.
Beginning in the pristinely clear waters of Muir's beach, entrants will complete a 1.9km swim before surfacing to a short beach trek to the transition on the grassy Green of the Esplanade to throw on their riding gear and cycle two laps of a 45km course on Coles Bay Rd. Following 90km on wheels, competitors will then run a half marathon (21.1km).
The final leg is spectator friendly requiring entrants to complete 4 laps on the beach and Esplanade of a little over 5kms. The Coles Bay Half committee are focused on creating a great Triathlon for anyone and everyone in an iconic location “Mainlanders currently make up over 30% of the field which is a great indicator for us that people recognise what a picturesque challenge this event is”.
Coles Bay Half Committee Member Chris Parnham said. “We also have the option for competitors to compete in a Sprint Distance Race (500m swim, 20km ride and 6km run), as not everyone would find the long course race distance achievable and providing a Teams opportunity for the longer Half event provides everyone with an opportunity to participate”
More Team prizes will also be awarded this year for first Male, Female and Mixed Team as well as heaps of spot prizes to ensure everyone has a chance of coming home with a prize.
Visit www.colesbayhalf.com for more information. Entries close February 11th.
Image courtesy of Triathlons101.com
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