Timo Bracht from Germany took today’s SunSmart Ironman Western Australia title, showing great form on the run. Bracht was followed by NSW youngster Clayton Fettell, who led for much of the race, while third place went to course record holder Jason Shortis.
The women’s title was all about the Michelle’s, with the relative newcomer on the Australian scene, Michelle Bremer (NZ) winning the race in outstanding force from second place finisher Michelle Mitchell (NT). Queensland’s Carrie Lester rounded out the women’s podium, coming in third.
This mornings conditions could not have been better with the sun rising, turning the sky pink and lighting up a picture perfect Geographe Bay. With only a breath of wind, conditions for the swim were near perfect.
Professional athletes grouped together on the shore and were individually introduced, in rock star fashion, as they entered the water for the swim start. At 5:30am the canon fired signalling the professional race start, fifteen minutes ahead of the remaining age group field.
Right from the get go Fettell, from NSW, led the SunSmart swim course, making it look easy as he increased his lead throughout the 3.8km course. Luke McKenzie, Qld, was the only athlete able to remain in touch with Fettell and ahead of the main pack.
Maintaining his lead, Fettell came out of the water in 45:11, with McKenzie coming in just over two minutes later. The chase pack, including Josh Rix, Aaron Farlow, Dion Harrison and Matty White, were some two minutes behind.
Mitchell was the first female professional to finish the swim in a time of 53:16, followed by Hilary Biscay and Yvette Grice.
Out of T2 the temperature began to rise and the wind picked up as the professionals headed out onto the 180 km BikeSure bike leg. At the 90 km mark Fettell was still dominating the race, 4:16 ahead of Luke McKenzie, whose recent ninth place in Hawaii began to catch up with him as he soon fell away from the leaders. Germany’s Maik Twelsiek (who now lives in the US), led the chase group that included Leon Griffin, Guy Crawford, Aaron Farlow, Timo Bracht and Matty White, but there were almost eight minutes behind.
Leading the female professional race at the 90 km mark was Bremer, with Elly Franks in second place. Another minute back was defending champion Kate Bevilaqua and Hilary Biscay.
Fettell came in off the bike in a time of 4:25:25, ahead of Matty White and Timo Bracht, just as the clouds began to roll in and give the athletes some reprieve from the heat. As the rain showers began to fall the professional men headed out on to the 42.2 km K•Swiss run course.
In the female race, the top five off the bike were Bremer, Elly Franks, Kate Bevilaqua, Michelle Mitchell and Carrie Lester. The five of them headed out on the run as the crowds began to build around the town centre with plenty of action to watch. With four laps of the run leg, spectators were guaranteed great viewing.
The men’s race lead changed for the first time 32km into the run when Germany’s Bracht took the lead, giving Clayton Fettell a hand shake as he ran past. Bracht did not look back as he gained momentum, crossing the finish line first and taking the SunSmart Ironman Western Australia title in a time of 08:12:39. He remarked on the finish line that there were so many Germans on the course, which really helped to spur him on.
Second place went to Fettell, who pushed himself to the limits, crossing the finish line in a time of 08:19:02, which assures the 25-year-old a bright future ahead of him in Ironman.
“I have had to overcome a lot of injuries, including multiple stress fractures, and training 40 hours a week, so to get this result makes it all worth it. I got to the 17 km mark and felt I was gone, but just as Timo past me and his encouraging words I came good and felt comfortable throughout the rest of the marathon,” Fettell said.
Jason Shortis who was completely under the radar coming into the race used his years of experience racing Ironman to run through the field and cross the finish line in true style in third place.
He said: “It was a really tough race out there. I did not have a great swim and these are the toughest wind conditions I have experienced here. I know this course really well and the training I have to do to be successful here.”
Bremer stormed through the run to take the women’s race in 9:25:38. Bremer said she was happy with the result.
“I only began doing Ironman four years ago on a social basis,” the 28-year-old said.
“I would like to go to Kona, but not for a couple of years. I just have to get some experience under my belt.”
Mitchell, who led out of the swim, lost time on the bike but out of T2 found her running legs firing and crossed the line in second place in 9:28:07. Mitchell said she hadn’t completed an Ironman at the beginning of the year, and has now done four, so she was looking forward to a break before focusing on Kona.
Carrie Lester, who recently had a nasty bike crash, came into the finisher’s chute third in a time of 9:32:04 and rounded off the women’s podium.
Ironman Western Australia
Top 5 Men
1. Timo Bracht (GER) 8:12:39
2. Clayton Fettell (AUS) 8:19:02
3. Jason Shortis (AUS) 8:27:31
4. Josh Rix (AUS) 8:30:59
5. Aaron Farlow (AUS) 8:34:09
Top 5 Women
1. Michelle Bremer (AUS) 9:25:38
2. Michelle Mitchell (AUS) 9:28:07
3. Carrie Lester (AUS) 9:32:44
4. Elly Franks (AUS) 9:37:51
5. Hillary Biscay (USA) 9:39:41
FILED UNDER: All / Race Results TAGS: Aaron Farlow / Busselton / Carrie-Lester / Clayton-Fettell / Elly Franks / Hillary-Biscay / Ironman / Jason-Shortis / Josh-Rix / Michelle Bremer / Michelle Mitchell / Timo-Bracht / Western-Australia