Ironman NZ 2016 - Post Race Report
Wow, what an amazing day Saturday was. And how great was the weather?! You could not have asked for a better day. During the week I was thinking that it would have been great to be competing but come Saturday I was happy to be sitting on the side-lines supporting you all, on your quest to become Ironman finishers.
All up there were 15 athletes competing that I have direct involvement with either as ‘GO’ coached athletes or those that may swim or have swum in the Swim Smooth Hamilton squad. There was also quite a number or other Hamilton athletes that we, as supporters, were cheering on. Well done to all of you who finished, it’s a huge achievement whether is your first or thirty-first time.
As mentioned above, the conditions were stunning, but the consequence of this was that by mid-afternoon it was very hot and hence me telling a number of you to keep pouring water onto yourselves to try to keep your body temperatures down.
Below I have highlighted a few of the achievements of those within the GO coached team and swim squad. For those I may not mention I am very proud of you all and look forward to catching up and hearing your story in the near future.
• Apple Blackmore - despite many doubts throughout the year, what an achievement. To start training from scratch early last year and get to the finish in a time of 12:23:23 was amazing. You battled a lot of self-doubt and won Apple.
• Dave Bullen - not the day that you expected but you were still smiling every time you came by we supporters. The high fives while riding up the Taupo/Napier road were possibly a little risky but great to see you were still able to enjoy parts of the day.
• Fiona Goddard - to see you exit the swim in 1:03 with 3 fingers raised in excitement was the highlight of your day. A great swim but a stumble on the green carpet while running through to the bike transition causing a strain of the hamstring meant it was going to be a difficult day to finish. You did extremely well to get as far as you did into the race before stopping and I know that you won’t be able to finish your Ironman racing on this result.
• Karen Hopson - this was my emotional roller coaster person. A great swim, as was everyone else’s from the swim squad, and then a great bike but the mystery of how the run was going to pan out was yet to unfold. We knew it was going to be difficult and to see you hobbling in so much pain was really hard to watch. You did exceedingly well to reach the finish in your condition where many would have pulled the pin. I have to admit that I had to hold back a tear or two when I walked alongside you on the run leg.
• Paul Kelleher - the swim sensation going from a 1:20:03 last year to 1:08:51 this year. What an improvement and what a PB taking 23minutes off last year’s time. Tracking you seemed difficult at times as you seem to fly under the radar. I am sure that when you knew you were approaching us you would hide in behind another cyclist or runner and jump out at the last second.
• Richard Murphy - One of the first timers in the GO coached team who paced himself really well. Out of the water a few seconds in front of Paul and then a solid bike and run to finish in 12:45:40. To see the smile and excitement on your face when you stopped to shake my hand approx. 1 km from the finish is one of the reasons I love to coach.
• Alyssa Stieller - the build-up wasn’t the best with a knee issue over the last couple of months causing a few training hiccups. You had a great swim (1:13:16) as well as bike and we knew that the run was always going to be difficult so with a plan of 10mins walking, 5mins running we thought you may get through. That plan went out the door when at the end of the first lap you said you could not run anymore which meant 2 laps of walking. You kept that walk going right to the end and it was great to see you cross that finish line.
• Katrina Whaanga - a PB, taking 36mins of last year’s time. You look solid all day Katrina and that is even on the run with those major blisters developing on the soles of your feet. A good 4 minutes off your swim time from last year as well. You as well as many of the others competing with full time jobs and young families, are an inspiration to those without.
• Shane Yeates - what can I say. It was only a few months ago that you majorly broke your collarbone so to get from that date to yesterday and race was an achievement in itself. It wasn’t quite a PB but not far off. 4mins quicker in the swim though is a Wow from me.
• Swim Smooth squad members - Indy Kraal, Megan Arthur, Nicola McCormick, Roger Broadhurst, Mike Wright and John Gray. Crikey some amazing results here. Well done to Indy for winning outright the female age groupers on her first IM attempt and Megan for winning her age group, both Kona bound I hear. To Nicola and Mike well done for finishing another Ironman and to Roger and John ‘You are now both an Ironman’- Welcome to the club!!
Well done also to everyone else from Hamilton competing e.g. - Bevan Littler, Cor Storey, Nikki Edwards, Grant Budd, Blair Tubb, Simon & Larisa Cochrane, Jemima Brindle and Rach Koopu all finishing with their own stories to tell.
Cheers everyone and here’s to Ironman 2017, hopefully as good as 2016