Ironman Western Australia in Busselton is known for its picturesque coastal backdrops and a flat, lightning-fast course. Australian athletes dominate the start list for this year’s race. 

Text By Jordan Blanco | Images By Witsup


Top billing goes to 2016 defending champion, Melissa Hauschildt, who is fresh off a win at last weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney. The Aussie placed 14th at this year’s Ironman Hawaii after not finishing there in previous attempts so this weekend’s race will be a great stepping-stone for accruing points for a return to Kona in 2018.

Hauschildt expects to go fast and is capable of anything.

“It’s been a rough year but after last week I’m ready to go,” She said.

“I hope it’s a fast day and a few of us can go sub-nine hours.

“I’ve been biking and running well. This course is flat and fast and suits me!

“The number-one goal is to win Kona and that keeps motivation going year round.

“But I love these days leading into race day; such a good feeling.”

Another Australian, Carrie Lester, just had her best ever performance at Ironman Hawaii, taking 7th place in a time of 9:19:49 and improving on her 10th place finish from a year prior. It’s her first time racing in Busselton and she’d no doubt love to earn the win on home soil.

Germany’s Mareen Hufe has finished in second place at Busselton for the past four years and she’s returning once again to take a crack at the top step of the podium. Hufe is fresh off a frustrating 11th place finish in Kona, just one spot outside the paid placings.

Hufe would desperately love to grace the top step this weekend.

“I’ve had four second places over past years here,” The German said.

“It’s great to be back and I’ve had good races here and if I get a chance to climb one spot higher I’ll be going for it!

“This will be my third Ironman in seven weeks.

“I races one Ironman in May and then focused on Hawaii with local short races in Germany. I had a good Hawaii with 11th and backed it up in Malaysia so this is a great way to end and celebrate the year.”

Yvonne Van Vlerken from the Netherlands last raced in Busselton in 2015, finishing in third place. In the summer of 2017, Van Vlerken raced mostly in Europe, targeting the Challenge race series, in which she took top honors and a bonus check of 25,000 Euros. She also found time to take on Ironman Barcelona, which she won at the end of September.

Van Vlerken loves Australia and feels at home in the West.

“I’m really happy to be here. There is a lot of family here. It feels like a far away home. It’s so nice to be relaxed before race day.

“People remember me because of my big crash here before, but I’ve seen the course is different so I’ve checked it out and I’ll be taking it easy around there.

“I love what I do and I race a lot. This is full distance this year! My boyfriend races too and we love traveling the world and meeting awesome people. It’s just such a high being amongst the athletes.

“But I’m not going to lie. I’m tired after some course records this year as well.”

Ironman Western Australia 2017 Start List

35 Hauschildt Melissa AUS (AUSTRALIA)
36 Hufe Mareen DMA (DOMINICA)
37 Van Vlerken Yvonne NLD (NETHERLANDS)
38 Lester Carrie AUS (AUSTRALIA)
40 Davis Claire AUS (AUSTRALIA)
41 Duke Dimity‐Lee AUS (AUSTRALIA)
42 Eberhardt Anna HUN (HUNGARY)
43 Gailey Michelle AUS (AUSTRALIA)
44 Hill Meredith AUS (AUSTRALIA)
45 Juhart Monica AUS (AUSTRALIA)
46 Lehrieder Carolin DEU (GERMANY)
47 Lindholm Borg Camilla SWE (SWEDEN)
48 Mitchell Jessica AUS (AUSTRALIA)
49 Morrison Tracy AUS (AUSTRALIA)
50 Sansome Kierra AUS (AUSTRALIA)
51 Selsmark Alise AUS (AUSTRALIA)

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