With 3 weeks before race day I got a bit of a cold and couldn’t shake off a nasty cough for about another week, every athlete treats this like a death threat and that is exactly what I did too. I was so worried I would loose my fitness (even though I know that’s not true but the mind certainly plays games sometimes).
I was a bag full of stress the last 3 days before 70.3 which is never ideal before a race, as I was worried that the changes I had made throughout my training were not going to pay off. But through some positive thinking all I could do was get out there and do my absolute best on the race course.
The morning went pretty smoothly, got to transition very early which was great because I was in and out transition with loads of time to spare. I found a good spot to sit down look out at the beautiful calm ocean and watch the sun rise before suiting up and going through some warm ups before it was time to head down to the start line.
I had a great start in the swim managing to just get onto the feet of the front group, the pace was strong and after the first 1000m I started to fade a bit having to swim the last quarter on my own. I exited the water 40 sec down from the leaders.
I had a smooth T1 coming out the gates strong to start making up some time on the bike.
I moved into 3rd around the 30km mark and shared some of the load with Evert Sheltinga. At the turn point Romian Guillaume was already around 5-6min ahead biking super strong and looking really good while Mark Threlfall was also up the road by about 2min as well. I was really struggling to push down some good power and never really could say that I felt absolutely amazing out there but I tried to stay positive and hang on as long as I could. James Cunnama came past us with 15km left to go, so I just tried to hang in there and get to T2.
On my run I came out of T2 with James Cunnama, we were running strong and holding around the 3:35 per km range. Unfortunately at the top of Bunkers Hill at the 4-5km mark the leash snapped and all I could do was then to focus on running my own race. I was lying in 4th position and at the 11km mark I made a strong move into 3rd place. I consciously made sure to hang tough and run strong for the 9km remaining of the half marathon but with 5km to go as I made another turnaround I clocked that Stuart Marais was only about 1:30min back. I know when he’s running strong because he has a great bounce in his stride and the look on his face only means that he’s working hard to hunt you down. The only thing I could do at that stage was to run as fast as I could to get to the finish line and it worked.
I dug really deep towards the end and very happy to start the year off with a podium and finishing 3rd overall. I am very happy with how my race unfolded for an early season race, and looking forward to see what the rest of the year brings to the table!
Congrats to the winner Romain Guillaume and James Cunnama in 2nd. And huge respect to Jodie Cunnama winning number 7 in a row!!!!
Thanks also to my whole team behind me, you guys are awesome.