While here in Canada we’re nutty envious of the state of play in New Zealand and Australia, it is worthwhile noting that, like Ironman New Zealand, which took place yesterday, Ironman 70.3 Geelong had to be postponed because of a state-wide lockdown in the state of Victoria.
As we reported earlier this year in our ongoing 2021 COVID-19 race update page, the race in Geelong was supposed to take place in February, but a five-day state-wide lockdown forced officials to move the race to today.
While the race certainly wasn’t huge by Ironman standards with 917 participants, that’s a lot more than have competed at a race here in Canada over the last year and a bit.
Salthouse continues unbeaten streak
While she doesn’t usually spend as much time training in Australia (she’s usually based on Boulder, Col.) Ellie Salthouse’s time down under sure seems to be working in terms of training and racing. She’s now taken three straight half-distance races, beating New Zealand’s Amelia Rose Watkinson in all three.
Salthouse led pretty much from start to finish, leading the way out of the water with countrywomen Grace Thek and Stephanie Demestichas on her heels, with Watkinson rounding out the group of four.
Once on the bike, though, Salthouse and Watkinson quickly made it a two-woman affair, hitting T2 nine seconds apart. Watkinson was first out of transition to start the run, but it wasn’t long before Salthouse was back in the lead and running her way to yet another win.
Salthouse crosed the line in 4:09:30, with Watkinson just over five minutes back in 4:14:36. Third went to Thek (4:18:52), with Penny Slater in fourth (4:22:29) and Chloe Lane fifth (4:26:39).
You can find the women’s results here.
McKenna takes first 70.3 title
While Australia’s Steve McKenna has enjoyed some success at Challenge-Family and independent races, until today he’d never taken an Ironman 70.3 title. That changed thanks to an impressive 1:10:54 half-marathon split that pulled him clear for today’s win.
The swim provided an interesting stat – one of the few times that Aussie super-swimmer Josh Amberger didn’t lead the way out of the water as he trailed New Zealand’s Trent Thorpe after the swim. The main group of contenders including 2016 Ironman 70.3 world champ Tim Reed and Tim Van Berkel came out of the water about 1:40 down.
Amberger and Thorpe made a go of staying clear, but they were caught by the chase group of five, which put seven men into T2 together to embark on a half-marathon footrace for the title.
McKenna quickly put his stamp on the race, finishing in 3:46:46, just under a minute ahead of Thorpe (3:47:39). Reed rounded out the podium in 3:49:23, with Van Berkel fourth in 3:50:15. Levi Maxwell managed to get to the line in 3:51:57, which left Amberger in sixth(3:53:23).
You can find the men’s results here.