Clayton Fettell and Lisa Marangon were the favourites leading into the Forster Ultimate and it’s easy to see why – the unusual course, with its extended bike leg,
is almost made for the superior swim/bikers from New South Wales.
Location: Forster, NSW
Date: 7 October 2012
Forster is the home of the original Ironman Australia and the course is a favourite for many athletes. One of the reasons it is favoured is its unusual distance of 2km swim, 120km cycle and 20km run.
THE MEN’S RACE
Athletes who had missed an hour’s sleep with the change in time due to daylight savings awoke to howling winds and an overcast sky on the morning of the race. Diving into the waters of Main Beach, it was no surprise Fettell was out of the drink in first place, leaving the others in his wake. Exiting in a time of 24:15, he was almost a minute ahead of his nearest rival, 23-year-old Michael Fox, who was competing in his longest triathlon to date. Tim Berkel was almost three minutes behind the leader, followed by Alex Rigby and Chris Dmitrieff.
As expected, Fettell flew through the 120km bike course, averaging nearly 42kph. The chasers attempted to make up ground from their swim deficit, but Fettell’s domination on the bike was untouchable. Berkel caught Fox just as they were getting to the first turn around and they rode together as the chasers until more athletes caught them near the 90km marker. The pace increased, and a group of five men – Steve Halliday, Adam Gordon, Berkel, Dmtrieff and Fox – entered transition all within a minute of each other, however, they were behind the storming Fettell by over 11 minutes.
Fettell was all smiles on the run course, knocking out a great start to his Australian season, and grabbing the finish line tape in first place with a huge gap on the others in a time of 4:34:53. Back in the field, Berkel had edged away from the group. Light on his feet, he ran his way to the fastest run of the day in 1:13:53, claiming second place. Fox managed to hold off the other men to round off the podium in third place.
THE WOMEN'S RACE
Back from an overseas stint racing at Hy-Vee and Vegas 70.3 World Champs, Lisa Marangon led from the start – just where she likes to be.
“I think anyone who races loves to be out in front. It’s a lot harder to chase,” she said.
Out of the water nearly one minute ahead of nearest rival Nic Ward, Marangon made sure she stamped her authority on the bike leg as well. However Bec Hoschke, who was nearly five minutes behind Marangon out of the water, certainly made her presence known on her two wheeled steed and at the 25-30km mark she passed Ward. Over the 120km bike leg Hoschke was only one minute off Marangon’s final bike split.
“Lisa is amazing on the bike and to have a split that is one minute off her pace is something I’m pretty proud of, particularly in the conditions yesterday – crazy winds!” Hoschke exclaimed.
“Having not come from a swimming background it’s been the more challenging leg of the sport for me, so this race probably does suit me with the additional bike distance. It’s still a tough distance though, racing 120km at pretty much Half Ironman pace,” she explained.
Marangon entered transitions nearly six minutes ahead of Hoschke and continued to pull away from her on the run, but only marginally. Ward was a further nine minutes behind Hoschke.
Marangon crossed the line in 5:11:03, exhausted. “I really like the Ultimate distance as I believe I am better at the longer distances. But I had a really hard day from the start. Training has been intense for two weeks and I didn’t taper. I had a few issues going into the race that mentally drained me, and I had nothing left in the tank when I finished,” Marangon explained.
Hoscke claimed second and Nic Ward ended up posting the fastest run of the day, 1:24:32,
to claim third.