It was a tale of two very different races at Ironman Australia, with Paul Ambrose leading from start to finish, while Michelle Mitchell only got her nose in front midway through the run, as ironman.com’s Nick Munting reports:
For one pro athlete the URBAN Hotel Group Ironman Australia for 2012 will reflect the very best of races with an emphatic gun to gun victory. For the other it will remain even more special as she battled two determined opponents with a never say die attitude that made her maiden Ironman victory all the sweeter.
Outright winner, Paul Ambrose, tasted Ironman victory for the second time with an amazing win that started with crossing the swim finish first and then saw the Aussie build on that lead to establish a 12-minute buffer to his pursuers in the latter stages of the bike leg.
He then ran a controlled marathon, though felt it all in the last lap, as he came home to win in a time of 8:17:38.
“My game plan was to go from the start, which I did, and I’m still not sure about that,” said Ambrose. “During the race I just pushed, trying to stay in my own rhythm and stay at a good tempo. I tried to keep it all streamlined and went out in the bike and held the tempo, but the course threw me a little as it’s very difficult and it took more out of me on the bike than I planned. It’s very undulating, so you’re always grinding against the gears, but I was happy to lead off the bike.”
“The last lap of the bike was great, though, and I actually got a look at the surf break on the way out and I was actually in awe and thought ‘Sh**’ I could be surfing out there, I couldn’t have had a better day.”
“I did feel the marathon. I had so many blisters and the last lap was agony, but the finish line was a great highlight.”
Behind Ambrose it was home town hero, Tim Berkel, who finished in 8:21:11, having pegged around four minutes back on Ambrose on the run. In third, and storming home was veteran, Jason Shortis, running a 2:51:57 marathon to claim a podium placing from Leon Griffin, who long held third in the race, but suffered a penalty on the bike and lost ground in the run to finish fourth.
In the women’s race the day’s racing was exciting from the get go as American Hilary Biscay led them out of the swim in 50:40 and also for a long time on the bike. Chasers Nicole Ward and Michelle Mitchell pushed each other to the limit also overwhelmed Biscay for a time. In the end the American led into T2, but it was Ward who had the fastest time at 5:28:57. Ward passed Biscay out of T2 and onto the run before the diminutive Mitchell fired up and ran into the lead, never to be headed.
Mitchell came home in 9:34:57, with a very solid 3:08:38 marathon.
“I was really excited to get off the bike and excited to get through the swim with no damage to my hand (Mitchell had broken her hand shortly before Ironman Melbourne).” It hurt a bit on the bike – I was supposed to wear a sling. The ride was tough and all the time I thought of that hill. We knew that Hillary could struggle on the hills but she was so strong on the flats. I had a big smile on the last corner of the bike ‘cause I just like getting off the bike! It’s really special to win – it’s very exciting my parents didn’t make it down because my dad is sick – so yes…”
The leading age group athletes in Ironman Australia were Matt Burton, home fifth outright and winning the M18-24 age group in a time of 8:57:10, while Kym Jaenke took the age group women’s crown going 10:08:20 to win the F35-39 age group.
Over 1,450 age groupers entered this race, and the day held as very special for many of them.
Top 5 Men
1. Paul Ambrose 8:17:38
2. Tim Berkel 8:21:11
3. Jason Shortis 8:40:02
4. Leon Griffin 8:55:54
5. Matt Burton 8:57:10
Top 5 Women
1. Michelle Mitchell 9:34:57
2. Nicole Ward 9:44:40
3. Hillary Biscay 9:58:19
4. Kym Jaenke 10:08:20
5. Kathleen Bourchier 10:11:57
FILED UNDER: Race Results TAGS: Hillary-Biscay / Ironman-Australia / Jason-Shortis / Kathleen Bourchier / Kym Jaenke / Leon-Griffin / Matt Burton / Michelle Mitchell / Nicole-Ward / Paul-Ambrose / Port-MacQuarie / Results / Tim-Berkel