Recent Mooloolaba Open Age Group winner, Sarah Crowley dominates the bike/run to take out The Urban Hotel Group Ironman 70.3 Cairns on Sunday. Cairns on Sunday 3rd June hosted both the full Ironman and 70.3 events, with the 70.3 event commencing at 6:45am, just after sunrise. The usually stunning waters of the North East coast of Australia were spoiled by days of rain in the lead up to the event. So the athletes plowed through the murky grey waters of Sailfish Quay.

Newcastle’s 22 year old, Lauren Parker, who was stepping up from her usual ITU distance racing, displayed her speedy swimming prowess, exiting the water in 27:20, with a huge lead of 1:29 over the chasers, Jo Lawn and Michelle Wu, a further 40sec back.

The bike course was relatively flat for the first 25kms of the race as athletes manouvered their way over speed bumps and tight corners before they hit the main road. Strong rider, Lawn, who was originally signed up for the full Ironman, but dropped back to the 70.3 after weeks of illness, was riding well, but was unfortunately given a time penalty, allowing late entrant into the race, Sarah Crowley, to remain in the lead for the rest of the day. Averaging almost 38kph, Crowley flew away from her competition over the undulating far end of the course.

With a lead of 3:30 over Lawn out of T2, and her running strength, Crowley was a certainty to take out the race. Wu was trailing Lawn by two minutes out of transition, with Sydney’s Matilda Raynolds making up time on the bike to follow. However, Raynolds would eventually be disqualified for not taking a time penalty given, due to a miscommunication.

Crowley continued to creep away from her chasers, maintaining 4:03min/km average. Once she was off the main road and onto the winding paths through the Cairns esplanade, she allowed for a smile to creep across her face knowing the race was hers. “This is the best bit”, she said as she could see the crowds starting to gather along the path. “It was great coming back to The Esplanade and seeing the crowd – they really lift you during those last few kilometres,” she said. Crossing the line first with a solid 1:23:35 half marathon, Crowley recorded the fastest bike and run splits of the day, with a total time of 4:23:27, and dominated in the hot conditions.

Further back, Wu had put time into Lawn in the initial stages of the run, however, was starting to struggle out on the lonely part of the course. The splits remained even for approximately 10kms, with Lawn holding her at bay a minute up the road. However, with three kilometres to go, Wu started to make a move and was reeling in the New Zealander, Lawn. “She must have sprinted the last two kilometres,” Lawn exclaimed, “when she (Wu) passed me, her stride had lengthened, and she was pushing hard!” With one kilometre to go, Wu overtook Lawn and was gunning for that finish line. “I really did think that I was gone when I kept hearing one minute down,” she said after the race. Wu crossed the line just 15secs ahead of Lawn, and took second place with a gutsy finish to her half marathon. Lawn was content with her result, and happy to be back racing after having to change her race calendar due to picking up an illness after her race in Koh Samui.

 

TOTAL SWIM BIKE RUN
1 Sarah CROWLEY 4:23:27 0:29:48 2:22:56 1:25:35
2 Michelle WU 4:30:00 0:28:49 2:29:22 1:26:42
3 Joanna LAWN 4:30:15 0:28:09 2:28:01 1:28:40
4 Jacinta WORLAND 4:36:06 0:29:59 2:30:49 1:30:31
5 Lauren PARKER 4:58:30 0:27:20 2:45:46 1:37:57

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Stef Hanson. Chief.

Chief and founder of WITSUP Serious about what I do, but don't take myself too seriously

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