11 female pros are lining up at Ironman Cairns this weekend. We caught up with each of them to gain a little insight into where they’re at just days before the big event. Out of  the 11 racing, 8 of them are Australian, 2 are from New Zealand, and 1 from Japan. The combined Ironman titles amongst these women is phenomenal. We are expecting a great race Sunday. A special shout out to the first two women on the list below – our very own witsup.com ambassadors – Bek Keat and Belinda Granger.


REBEKAH KEAT – last year’s winner

On training with coach Siri Lindley and prep for Cairns: My prep has been perfect. I’ve done everything I possibly could since Ironman Melbourne to be prepared the best I can be. I love training in Santa Monica, and love my team, SELTS. Siri has been the most positive influence ever in my life. I can’t thank her and my team mates enough!

On her competition:  It’s a mass start, so we race with age groupers also. This it makes it very tough to have a separate pro race, and can really change the dynamics of the race. All I can do is focus on myself, and not worry about what anyone else is doing.

On focus for the year: It’s always been about firing on all cylinders. I want to be fitter and faster than ever come Hawaii in October. Everything until then is a stepping stone towards that big goal.


BELINDA GRANGER – 5th last year

On her busy year so far: You know me. I love to train and race, so I have no problem lining up yet again – think this is race #5 for the season. I usually recover pretty well, but since I turned 40, it takes me just a tad longer to recover after Ironman. But I am really looking forward to Carins. I had such a wonderful time there last year. It’s such a spectacular course, particularly the bike – nothing like it in the world! My body is in good shape and the mind is still willing. Well I am giving it no choice really.

On her strong bike leg: Back in the day I used to know I could put time in to the other girls. But these days I have a hard enough time trying to stay with them. The standard amongst the pro women in Ironman is improving at a rate of knots! Of course I will ride as hard as I can –  I don’t really know any other way. I will be happy to dismount my bike with the likes of Bek Keat, Carrie Lester and co.

On her competitors: Bek Keat, Carrie Lester and Melissa Hauschildt will be battling for top spots. I realize the Mel is carrying an injury, but I am not convinced that on the day she won’t have a crack during the run. I will be happy to slot in somewhere behind them. I was fifth last year, so I will be satisfied to stay in the top five.


CARRIE LESTER – 3rd last year

On going full time pro and training with Brett Sutton: Giving up work was difficult. I always had that as my safety net – never sure if I could make it as a “real pro.” I have put my trust 100% in Bretts words and the oppportunity that Team TBB has given me. Since doing this, I finally I feel like I am on the path that I was meant to be on all along.  When you have your head in the right place, the training and race performances lift on their own.

On recovering and prep for Cairns: I’ve learnt a lot about what I need to do post race, so I felt great after Koh Samui and was able to get straight into Cairns prep. Everything has gone to plan for Cairns. A big improvement from where I was this time last year!

On last year’s 2nd fastest bike, and 3rd overall: Last year I had to chase the first 60km of the bike because I lost a few minutes in the swim. I am stronger this year, so we’ll see what happens on Sunday. I can’t say what will happen – that’s the beauty of Ironman.


MICHELLE MITCHELL – 2nd last year

On backing up from winning Ironman Australia: I am expecting to be carrying some fatigue into the race. I didn’t have a great lead into Port (Ironman Aus) with injury and sickness, but happy with where I am, given the circumstances. I’ll be excited to get through Sunday, and then hopefully settle into a big training block.

On her normally strong run: My bike is actually stronger at the moment. I was riding predominately on the windtrainer for two months after breaking my hand. So I wasn’t covering much of the other training. So I won’t be able to leave the race until the run.

On her competitors: Obviously Bek, who won last year, but the field is full of top competitors – it’s going to be competitive!



On Previous Races: I recently came sixth, in 4hr38, at Ironman New Zealand that was shortened to the 70.3. My last Iron-distance race was Challenge Roth, July 2011, where I came fourth in 9hr06.

On Preparation: Prep has gone well. I’ve done some very consistent work.  We’ve had some rough weather this last month, so adjusting to the sun might be a bit of a challenge, but I’m feeling confident.

On turning pro (nearly two years ago): It has been very exciting – I’m enjoying it. The standard is high and sometimes I feel lost in a sea of fast girls, but I’m working on making my mark.

On her competition: Well, there are 10 other girls racing and I can’t count out any of them – they’re all capable of something amazing. I know it sounds clichéd, but I’ll just be focusing on myself for this race, doing the very best I can and seeing where it gets me.



On her season so far and Cairns preparation: This year I’ve raced, Geelong long course (3rd), Huski Long course (1st), Bateman’s Bay Ultimate (2nd) an Busso 70.3 (6th). After Cairns IM I’ll be racing Challenge Roth in July. I’ve been happy with my preparation leading into Cairns. I love it there – racing in the warm weather and the course is definitely one of the most scenic on the triathlon circuit. My husband is also racing his first ever triathlon and will be competing in the 70.3 event, so this is also a huge highlight for me and I’m really looking forward to sharing the experience.

On her game plan: Ultimately on race day I will be racing myself. Ironman is a long day and anything can unfold. My goal is to own my own race, give it everything I’ve got and get as much out of the Ironman experience as I can. That’s what I love about Ironman, you learn so much preparing for this distance, the training and the race itself – it’s an amazing life experience



On stepping up to Ironman: I’ve completed four halves now, so feel I’m ready to step up for the full – Although I’m at the stage where I still think it’s a little crazy to be doing such an event. The butterflies have started for Sunday, but the game plan is pretty simple – Believe in my abilities, be strong and enjoy the experience. I don’t know what to expect, so just have to keep positive and keep pushing ahead. If I run faster it will hurt for less time! Haha! We’ll see how that one goes in reality.

On preparation for Cairns: Training has been going really well and enjoying the challenge. Gradually building up over the past months. The Caloundra Triathlon Club and coach, Scott Penny from GetBiking, have been a brilliant source of information & motivation.

On turning Pro: I qualified for my long course pro license late last year. I’ve raced two pro events since – Phuket 70.3 & Busselton 70.3.



On being back racing and training with Siri: Siri is AMAZING! I love her, her work ethic, her friendship and guidance. She is so personally invested in her athletes. She is smart and patient. She is tough but fair. She is the best coach because she is an excellent communicator. This is her secret. She listens and then gets the best out of you by making you believe that you are more capable of things than you ever dreamed possible. My training is going well. I am working on consistency this year. I have many other things going on in my world besides just my training, so balance is hard, but Siri is teaching me to put myself and my training first. Having ABM Sports Management, and it’s 10 fantastic athletes, is a full time job. Add SOAS Racing Australia into the mix and I am very busy. I also look after Luke, so you can see how screwy the balance in my life gets. Siri is pushing me to focus everyday on myself, and slowly I am learning how to do that. I am seeing the results of this consistency – very exciting. This is the first IM since my break last year. I hope I can reach my potential. It may not be a fast road I am on but damn, it’s a rewarding one. 

On her Ironman strengths: My strength is my bike. I love to ride my SCOTT Plasma 3 and when I am fit and healthy I am a 5hr to 5.15hr rider on some courses. Now put that up against Caroline Steffen, and I am a chopper, but on Sunday I hope to be seeing the right side of 5.30, and slowly work my way back to the rider I am by the end of the year. 



On racing despite her injury: I am doing the full IM at Cairns but I won’t be turning heads. I will be walking the entire marathon due to a small injury in my lower leg. The purpose of racing now is just to validate my Kona spot. It’s very disappointing. Obviously the original plan was to ‘race’ it and I was really looking forward to it. I’m still getting excited! I hope to finish in under 12hrs now. Read here for more info on Hauschildt’s decision to still race at Cairns





On her races this year: Abu Dhabi International Triathlon = DNF; Ironman South Africa = 7th.

On racing in Australia: I raced at Ironman Western Australia last year, and I am looking forward to visiting Cairns because it’s my first time there.

On her strengths: Bike. I am a strong biker.



New Zealand’s Fiona Eagles will be racing in the professional field as well. A small clerical error had her in the age groupers race originally. This is Fiona’s second Iron-distance race, and first MDot race. Running is her strength, and she is just looking for a solid day out. Her coach and Fiance, Professional Triathlete, Jamie Whyte, will be cheering from the sidelines after the swim in the 70.3 teams event. Both will be lining up at Roth next.

 CANDICE HAMMOND: 4th last year

Watch this space…

5 Responses

  1. Nic Ward

    Nice work Stef- it’s great to have a women’s specific race preview and its awesome to see so many top girls having a crack in Cairns. Shame I can’t be there too! Best wishes to all the amazing ladies. I will be following the race from a hammock in Fiji xx

  2. Chris Eveleigh

    An amazing bunch of girls. I’ll be keeping tabs on you all but barracking for Bec Hoschke !

  3. Kacey

    Thanks for the pro female athlete profiles Stef.
    It’s great to read about each of the athletes racing and how they have prepared for Ironman Cairns. What a great field of athletes. It will make for an exciting day of racing. Looking forward to a day in front of the computer following the ladies and of course reading the updates from witsup.com:)
    Witsup.com rocks and is always providing race info on great female athletes:)


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