Congratulations Lisa on achieving an enormous goal of Challenge Roth.  Lisa conquered her quest in a time of 14hrs and 29m.  We loved getting the updates from Paddy and seeing all the pics roll through.  Now let’s get the real story from the super woman herself!

WARNING – LONG-WINDED RACE REPORT ALERT!! The short version: I swam, I rode, I ran, I fell, I finished.

Long version: Breakfast at 4am at the hotel (the hotel Dormero was fantastic for many reasons, but serving us Roth athletes breakfast from 3:45am on race day was definitely a bonus). Bus arrived at 4:40 to take us to swim start. Raining lightly in T1. Water temp 24.3, so wetsuit optional. Got wetsuit on then watched pro men start with the famed cannon blast. No hot air balloons due to inclement weather. Mine was wave start 8 so got corralled pretty soon after. Did some light activation/stretching. Got into water at 7:08 then 2 minutes later we were off ??‍♀️ 250 women in my wave start. 3400 athletes in total. Drank lots during the swim – fresh water canal. Got swum over by the following few waves. Lots of spectators on both sides of the canal. Slower than expected but within range – I thought 90min and was out in 95min. 
Collected bike kit bag then headed into T1 tent. Got out of wetsuit and swimmers and put on dry knicks and jersey. Jogged to bike, ran to the road, got on bike and started riding ??‍♀️ 2 lap course. Lots of little inclines, 1 big hill and several smaller hills, including the famous Solar Hill (Solarer Berg) which was as epic as you see on the highlights. The big hill was maybe 4-5km long, steep at the start then not so steep for the rest. Original idea was to average 27km/hr over the course but after the first few km it was revised to 26km/hr. Nutrition worked well. Only had 1 caffeine gel. Started overtaking people during second lap as the wind picked up – it’s rather amazing how much experience you can acquire reguarly riding back from Mt Eliza to Melbourne with a head wind the whole way! 
Rode into T2 feeling reasonably ok (although surprisingly sore feet from doing a lot of “dancing” on the pedals going up the many hills). Was hoping for a 6hr40min bike, and did it in 6hr54min. Bike catcher man was a great help getting off the bike. Collected my run kit bag then into T2 tent for 2nd clothing change into dry running pants and top. Ran out of the tent and into feed zone and toilet zone (where I also took panadol+nurofen), then saw Paddy and Tim Watts. Quick hugs then it was run time ??‍♀️. The first 3-4km were a slow incline, then flat along the canal. Followed a 5’30” run/30” walk program, plus walked through the aid stations. Started on the cola at 10km mark. Discovered my new favourite run nutrition – lemon wedge dipped in salt! Fructose from the lemon but not sweet, and salt. Went a treat with the cola. Alternated lemon/salt with watermelon at each aid station. Was feeling reasonably good and trying to keep HR in Z2 as much as possible. Another incline at 32km mark, but at this stage I’ve got 10km to go, cutoff time is nearly 90min away, so I’m starting to feel confident of finishing. The crowd support along the ride and run course was massive – it’s kind of hard to describe but it kept me smiling throughout most of the day. Lots of music, lots of clapping and cheering. I’m feeling pretty euphoric by the 40km as I head back into Roth and towards the finish line, as I‘m amazed at how good I’m feeling. Zone 2 training works!
With 500m to go, Paddy was allowed to join me in the chute for the run around the stadium to the finish line. I had always said that I wanted Paddy to give me my finishers medal, and this way he could – it’s very much a Challenge thing. We started jogging along the carpet, then just before the stadium entrance I tripped on the carpet and went sprawling head first on the ground! ?I lay there laughing, feeling a little embarrassed, then went to get up and realised I couldn’t weight-bear on my right leg, and my whole hamstring was in agony. Tried to stand and couldn’t, so Paddy became my crutch as I proceeded to hobble towards the stadium. Every right leg step was excruciating. A few steps into the stadium and the announcer yells “and here is Lisa MacFarlane, and she is hurting!!!” and he came over and so I hobbled around the stadium being supported on my left by the announcer and by Paddy on my right. Not quite the way I anticipated doing the victory lap! Just before the actual finish line I stopped to let a group through, then let go of my “crutches”, stood under the finish banner with my arms up, then took two steps and collapsed dramatically just past the finish line. And yes, Paddy gave me my medal as I lay on the ground. With any luck I’ll make the highlights reel.
So with help from Paddy and a volunteer I hobbled to the medical tent where they said I’d either badly strained or lightly torn my hamstring, so they wrapped my leg in a pressure bandage, gave me some anti-inflams and let me go. Didn’t really get to appreciate the finishers tent but did get my finishers t-shirt and souvenir beer glass. The amusing post-script was that we couldn’t get a taxi to take us back to the hotel because all the roads were shut for the race. So the 700m journey back to our hotel took 45min of very little baby steps.
My support crew Paddy, Tim and Nola took lots of photos and videos on the day which I’ll edit and post. The videos in the stadium (and yes, there is video of me and my human crutches as I make my way around to the finish line) were so cool, with a special finish for the last athlete of the day, followed by the fireworks.
The next day was unsurprisingly sore but otherwise ok. Took it very easy and kept off my leg for most of it. It was a lot of fun staying at a hotel with lots of other athletes as we could all share stories. There were many good stories apart from mine … one guy missed the bike turnoff to T2 so did an extra 80km of riding (and still finished in 10hr45min!!). One lady got her pain relief and sleeping tablets mixed up so took tramadol before the run and kept falling asleep whilst running! Another guy got penalised for drafting, so in addition to 5min in the penalty box during the ride, he had to do an extra 1km on the run! 
In summary, an unforgettable experience. I was hoping for 14hr30min, and with the hobble around the stadium I finished in 14hr 29min, so pretty happy with that! 
Tri-Travel was the company we used to get entry to the race plus accommodation, and it made for a predominantly stress-free experience. They took us on a swim+bike+run course recon, organised our bikes and kit bags to and from the hotel to transition and back to the hotel after the race, organised bus transfers to race start, took the supporters to different vantage points during the race … yes you pay a premium for this service but in a country where English is not the native language, and with a race of this scale, it was well worth the cost just to have someone say “we’ll sort that for you”. And staying at a hotel in Roth itself was such a great thing because we could walk to the race expo (which was amazing and deserves a whole post all to itself) and more importantly, walk (or in my case limp) home after the race.
So now time for R&R with my number one supporter Paddy. Thank you to everyone who has “liked” my posts over the past few months and who have sent messages of support – it has truly been an unforgettable adventure and I hope you’ve all enjoyed the journey!



The Gold Coast Marathon festival took place over the weekend in the sunny sunshine state (!) and we had a few more than expected athletes racing with some taking a sneaky trip up north to get amongst all the fun!  Congratulations to all those who took part.  Shout out to Carly who completed the 10km and full 42km events (with a 10km time identical to her husband #couplesgoals), to Steve & Jen smashing out a half marathon in their build up to Thanyapura (and looks like Jen pipped you on the post, Steve!), to Neda who set a big goal of a new 21km PB and smashed it and to Mario who back up his recent efforts at Cairns with a very fast GC marathon!


Mario: Gold Coast marathon done 40 seconds faster than last year.  Age is just a number.

Neda: Best day ever to get a 4 min PB with these amazing people! Thank you Ollie Allan and Michelle Bond and Old Xavs xxx #Tri-Alliance Victoria#[email protected]

Carly: Marathon number 18 in the books. Now give me all the food ?


Mario 3:16:10 (marathon)

Carly 4:39:38 (marathon)

Neda 1:37:29 (half marathon)

Jen 2:12:24 (half marathon)

Steve 2:12:25 (half marathon)

Carly 1:08:49 (10km)


We were super excited to see long time friend and Tri-Alliance athlete Andrea Koderisch take to the start line of Ironman Frankfurt in his trusty TA kit #TAAbroard.  Unfortunately things did not go exactly to plan and made for a very eventful day!

Race Report time!!!

Short version: Survived hell, finishing in an in-official time of 10:55. DQ’ed.

Long version: It was what in German is called a “used day”, (I was about to write “a day to forget”, but that I won’t!) …
After a week in the high 30°s and a forecasted temperature of 39°C for the day the “non wetsuit swim” did not come as a surprise, I’m relatively faster with it, but ok.
Nice balmy water and rolling start got me off to a relaxed swim until the first turning buoy @750m where I sank about €400 of Garmin Fenix (which wasn’t protected by a wetsuit…) in Langener See. On the ways back I had major issues with the sun glare and lost a couple of minutes at least, trying to find first the Aussie 
exit and later the final the swim exit…

Through T1 I went calmly and was about to mount when someone yelled “Your front tire is flat”. Apparently they meant me. So off went the front wheel and on went the spare tube. About 7mins, I think (don’t know exactly, no watch, remember…?), hadn’t put on the front wheel well which lead to another 10 second stop a few km’s later.
Cycling went well sticking with my planned power and passing quite a bit more than being passed. Around km50 I had to pee badly, and as they had said in the briefing that peeing on the road side, if done discreetly, was acceptable, I did that. Apparently the official on the motor bike had a different understanding of discreetly than I: Red card for public urinating.

So I rode on considering to put in a complaint (with a probability of it being accepted of about zero) and decided to take it easy, enjoy the ride and just see how the day turns out.
I finished the 185k in under 5h30 including a changed tyre and a discussion with a race official…

The run turned out to be as horrible as expected. Kept to my planned 5min pace for the first 12k but then that started to deteriorate. As by now I was running “just for fun” anyways, I decided to play it safe and walked the aid station making sure to use any means possible to cool down. The marathon took me slightly over 4h in the end.
So, yeah. No result on the tracker. Hope of my Kona roll-down-moment blown away; what remains is the pride of having finished in these horrific conditions even after all the hurdles the day and myself had thrown in my way.
Now rest up. Rehydrate and plan the next race. Somewhere cold. Please.


The Surf Coast Trail Marathon is a trail running experience offering a solo or team marathon & half marathon along the stunning Surf Coast Walk.  The route snakes from Australia’s Mecca of surfing, Torquay, to the beachfront Fairhaven Surf Lifesaving Club on Victoria’s famed Surf Coast.  In the marathon, you can have a crack at the full distance solo, or knock off roughly half each in teams of two. Or try the half for a taster.  From iconic Bells Beach (yes you run a short stretch of this hallowed sand) to the clifftops of Point Addis and Anglesea and on to Split Point lighthouse at Airyes Inlet: this course has become renowned for the experience of journeying through a unique coastal landscapes. *

Michelle recently took on this event for the 3rd time in very wet conditions:

Time for a wet trail run #surfcoasttrailmarathon

My third Surf Coast Trail Marathon done. Soaking wet from the close to non-stop rain, but no king tide this year so no swimming. Love this course ❤️#surfcoasttrailmarathon #trialliance

A wet Surf Coast Trail Marathon today. Anyone who wants to give trail running a try you’ve got to sign up for this – quite a bit of beach running, lots of trails, no roads, a few hills but not crazy hilly.


* Text from



1 Comment
  1. Lisa MacFarlane 2 years ago

    Thanks for posting and/or reading my long-winded race report! It was an absolutely incredible experience. Getting a photo of me, in TA gear on the bike, published in Triathlete magazine was also pretty cool (thanks Stef Hanson for the shot!). If you want to see photos of the race, here’s the link:
    If you’re contemplating doing a long/full distance triathlon and aren’t inspired by Bussi/Cairns/Port Mac (like me!) I’d strongly recommend Roth!


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