Hometown Favourite Liz Blatchford Wins Ironman Cairns
Liz Blatchford defended her title at Ironman Cairns in Queensland, Australia this weekend, claiming her fifth Ironman title. The Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team member was a pre-race favourite and race ambassador. In rainy conditions, Blatchford led from start to finish in 9:16:58. Melanie Burke of New Zealand and Asä Lundström of Sweden completed the podium.
Blatchford’s domination began with an exceptional swim that saw her exit the water four minutes ahead of super swimmer American Hillary Biscay. Blatchford got out of the water with the top men and was out on the bike as the fifth pro overall. On the bike she built a nine-minute lead. But a four-minute penalty going into T2 would close the gap to 1:28 ahead of Melanie Burke. Running a steady marathon, Blatchford held on to her lead.
On her win she said, “This feels amazing. There were so many spectators along the course. As an ambassador for the race, I have met so many people this week. And today, it just felt like the whole crowd was behind me. It really was a fantastic feeling; it brought a smile to my face. Of course, it wasn’t easy. These Ironmans don’t get any easier, that’s for sure. But I had a good day. The water was very choppy because it was so windy and stormy. Those conditions suit me, so I was able to work hard and build a good gap on the rest of the girls. The bike ride was pretty lonely for the most part. I tried to stick to my own rhythm, but then at about 150 k a bunch of age group men caught me. As they were speeding up and slowing down, I ended up moving into a draft zone. Just a lack of concentration for a second, but there was no way I could move past 20 men. So I got a yellow card and coming into T2 I had to stand down for four minutes. I just tried to not let it get to me much. I knew I had a pretty good gap on the rest of the field and I did still manage to get out on the run first. Mel was close at the start of the marathon and she was running well, but I just tried to stick to my own race plan. I went out fast and managed to gradually pull away. It’s nice to be able to focus on the build-up towards Kona now. I have a couple of weeks downtime coming up now in which we’re headed towards the US to start preparing for Hawaii.”
New Zealand’s Cameron Brown won the men’s race in 8:20:15 while Australia’s Tim Van Berkel was second in 8:23:23 and Peter Robertson was third in 8:33:26.