Wowsers! Could Ironman Western Australia and 70.3 WA have been any more eventful? Sharks, wallabies, fires, running out of water at aid stations, scorching heat, and then rain….oh…..and did we forget about having to complete 90kms/180kms on the bike and a 21km/42km run! It could not have been easy to suddenly have your day turned upside-down before it begun. Kudos to all those who regrouped, refocused and set themselves new goals to achieve. We had 7 first timers in the full distance and 1 in the half, some experienced athletes lining up in both races and some repeat offenders who just can’t seem to get enough! By all accounts, this event was one tough, tough day for everyone out on course and it would be only fitting to hear their recap in their own words. Here are some of their reflections…
- James Tyler 9:50:52 (29th in AG)
- Mario Staffieri 10:12:54 (17th in AG)
- Ashley Purcell 10:42:28 (12th in AG)
- Andy Wood-Rich 11:22:01 (101st in AG)
- Jayde Osborne 11:32:06 (14th in AG)
- Dale Beehre 12:35:28 (70th in AG)
- Greg Nugent 12:38:40 (37th in AG)
- Pam Tunas 12:56:59 (22nd in AG)
- Gradyn Friso 13:06:08 (112th in AG)
- Caroline Houston 13:41:08 (5th in AG)
- Michael Gallagher 14:19:09 (96th in AG)
- Juliet Cooper DNF (read race report below)
- Rainer Langhoff 5:53:12 (49th in AG)
- Simon Gronow 5:57:34 (52nd in AG)
- Emily Rowbotham 4:57:32 (4th in AG with a medical emergency stop!)
- Margaret Mielczarek 4:52:18 (12th in AG)
Ironman WA and number 6 is done and dusted in 9:50. As is typical for this sport, plans get made, nature intervenes, and then plans get thrown away! With a cancelled swim due to 5 sharks, grassfire closing part of the bike course, 2 competitors (one pro) getting knocked off their bikes by kangaroos, and track temperatures up to 40 degrees, well, it was always going to be an interesting day. Tough conditions, and no bike/run PB, but under the circumstances I was happy to get through (with a good age group ranking now in the top 12%) and thankfully with no nutrition issues … other than dehydration from the extreme heat. Such a fantastic experience and I was thrilled and privileged to be part of such a fun and dedicated Melbourne Tri Alliance crew, many of whom were first timers.
Ok my friends the dust has settled, the emotion has drifted, the Ironman village has been dismantled and I am ready to give a few thoughts about my experience over here at Busso. The training and build for this event really started 12 months ago after 70.3 Ballarat where I decided to go even longer. I am not really built for speed so it was the full Ironman distance I settled on. We arrived early at Busso on the Wed before race day we swam in the beautiful Busso water, rode the bike course, and ran most of the great run course. Come race day we were ready to fire but did notice some of the 70.3 athletes were dry when they came into transition, an announcement was made the swim would be cancelled. I was immediately annoyed, disappointed, and sad. I felt like I had been robbed of the chance to prove to myself and the world I could do it. There were 5 sharks spotted off the Busselton jetty. That was such an emotional blow but after a few wise words from my coach pulled it together. So a rolling start from the beach to transition began the Ironman. My bike leg was going extraordinarily well until about 120kms where I found myself in a slump until about 150. My nutrition was no longer working so mostly water for the remainder of the bike. I was definitely dehydrated there was a lot going in but not much coming out. The heat was causing others to drop like flies. 40 degrees out there. I was very happy with my bike leg just a couple of things to work on. Started the run in the hottest part of the day and boy did that hurt. I had decided well before time to walk the aid stations just to get some nutrition in. I did have some stomach cramps and had to walk short periods as well. The Busso run course is awesome but cruel as well because you go past the finishing chute twice per lap. The coach told me before the race just keep ticking the legs over. I ran with my good friend Dale for some time he got me going again. Finally got to my last lap and the finishing chute 200m was all I had to do but got a massive cramp and could not run. There was no way I was walking the finish line got it together made sure I was the only person in the chute so that finish line was all mine. My awesome wife Jodie Purcell was there to give me the finishers medal I was so tired and emotional even shed a tear. I was done. I am an Ironman. Even though there was no swim I earned every bit of that medal.
Wow, what a day. They say this event is unpredictable and they are right. After months of training we arrived in beautiful Busselton. Race day morning in bike transition the announcement comes over that the swim is cancelled due to shark sighting. Deflated, disappointed, but better than the alternative. We headed off the beach for our 180 km ride in near 40 degree heat. All seemed to hold up well, nutrition and hydration went to plan. Start the 42 km run with hot sore feet but was able to push through with the help from our amazing support crews cheering us on all afternoon. The locals spraying us with garden hoses, the enthusiastic crowd diverted the pain. Massive stomach cramps at 20 km meant I couldn’t take on any more fluids so ran the last 22 dehydrating by the minute. Got to the finish chute and spotted my family. What a sight for sore eyes. Cheering till the last step. Did the race in 10:12 and am super happy and appreciative of this opportunity but I feel there is some unfinished business here that needs to be finished in Cairns 2018.
So, to say yesterday was interesting is an understatement….. this race had it all, swim cancellation due to sharks, yes plural spotted about 400 meters from the swim course, grass fires (true story) on the bike course, Andy and everyone else are fine but they finally had to close that part of the course so some people didn’t get to do the full bike, a rogue wallaby knocking someone off their bike and scorching 40 degree heat on the bike course. Yet through all of this adversity The Big Fella never ever wavered. He just kept going and kept everyone else not just his own team going. This year the kids got to meet him on the finish line and give him his medal and towel, Ironman number 7 is in the bag but it may have been his hardest race to date, he dug deep and finished with a shit ton of that classic stubbornness and determination. Incredibly proud of you Andy, on to number 8, at least Port Mac doesn’t have sharks……
Race report- IMWA! Swim cancelled – ? sharks plural. Hot, hot, hot – dehydration early ? ?35 air temp. Vomiting from 50km ? ? ?♀ ?♀ ? ? Dizzy, pins & needles in extremities Grass fires ? ? on bike course. After 3 weeks with this virus I expected it to be challenging but I’m not stupid & wasn’t going to put my health in danger! DNF! They picked up 17 athletes when I was collected & going back for more! There will be others races! There will be other IM! Thanks to everyone for your support & my nurses Jo & Brendan!
Yahoooo!! I did it!! Shark in the swim. Got 330m in and then have never swum so fast towards the pier, haha! Fun, fast bike, then good run trying to outrun the stupid flies!! Overall, LOVED it!! So … THIS just happened!!! IM 70.3 World Championship South Africa here I come!!!
Number 6 in the bag. Number 3 for the year. Today we had fish issues and roo issues. Plus it’s hot as here in Busso. Some thanks to Fikriye for the pics. Sam for the suit fix this morning to the Busso crew thank you. It’s been awesome I’ll be back out support shortly. Kudos to Emily for stopping her race to help another who was hit by a roo. To Ollie and Greg thank for your guidance and support. To Greg Anna Andrew and the rest of u thanks for support words etc. over the last few days and weeks. To Pam we hatch a plan some 12 months ago. Today’s is yours more than mine I’ll be back out there shortly to support and guide your home. Ps sorry if I missed anyone.
Happy to finish our 4th Ironman 70.3 each (with his wife Annette) without becoming shark bait….