Ironman Australia in Port Macquarie, race wrap up and results
It was an awesome day for the return or Ironman racing in Port Macquarie! Including the Ironman 140.6 and 70.3 Half race distances.
Rain had dumped over night (and most nights leading in!) making for a soggy transition, but a beautiful morning to kick start the day. Athletes took to a calming sunrise swim, a little tide made for some slightly slower times, but the cloud cover aided in easy sighting. Light rain came down on the bike and there was a bit of wind around (and hills!) but this didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit! Overall it was a nice mild temp, overcast and the rain (mostly) dried up for the run, leaving a little humidity, but otherwise they were pretty good conditions for racing!
The day started with our Half Ironman Distance athletes and what great races they each had including a first place finish for Caroline Houston!
Once the 70.3 athletes were out on the bike course the full distance athletes started their day. The swim for many in the Ironman is a source of anxiety, but knowing they had done the work, and with plans in place, each came out of the water with great swims and in control of their races from the get go. Regan showed her swimming prowess coming out of the water in second place and set herself up for a great race.
Out onto the bike course – which isn’t an easy one, with around 1400m of climbing over the full distance – including the famous Matthew Flinders Hill, and all on rough roads and it definitely takes it out of your legs. But each athlete had their race and nutrition plans set and worked their way around the 180km course.
But as many know, it’s the run in where the Ironman really becomes one. Over do the bike and it WILL come and bite you on the run. Start out too fast, and you will know about it later. Pacing is KEY. And what amazing work our Ironman athletes did. In control. Ticking the boxes (kms) as they went. Was so good to be out there cheering each of them on. Special mention also to athlete Janelle who made the trek and offered her support on course also!
HALF IRONMAN Caroline Houston 7:14.25, 1ST F65-69 ! Sarah Mulkearns 5:06.38, 4TH F40-44. Sharon Smith 7:04.11, 11TH F55-59 Full results here.
FULL IRONMAN Regan Hollioake 10:28.27, 3RD F30-34, and 5TH AG female overall. FIRST IRONMAN. Darren McKemmish 14:38.19, M50-54. FIRST IRONMAN. Ollie McNulty 15:37.38, M45-49. FIRST IRONMAN. Full results here.
Athlete Darren, shares some of his training journey heading into his first Ironman. It’s been a long time in the making, when 2020 was the plan, but finally we are about to embark on the final leg of his Ironman journey – the race itself this weekend! So keep reading to follow his journey and how he relates Ironman to that of ‘eating an elephant!” ;-p
Give us your back story – who is Darren and how did he get into triathlon?
Most people know me as Dazza or Dazzler, I’m based in Country Victoria, where I live with my partner of 32years Sue. I actually stumbled across triathlon after finding a bike in 2016. I had bought a steel frame bike at a garage sale and repaired it to get it rideable. A friend encouraged me to get out on the road and we would go riding Sunday mornings and I was terrible. I’d have to stop often, but every week it started to get a bit easier, and we’d get a little faster and I really started to love it. We started doing some running as well. And in 2017 I decided to do the local triathlon. Again I was terrible! The swim was only 250m and I was last out of the water, I had to breaststroke, my ride was slow, and the run was HARD! I came third last, but what I remember was how supportive people were during the event. But I knew I had a LOT of work to do. So I started some run training with a local running group, did a 12km run event – the furthest I had ever run! And later that year did my first sprint distance triathlon. And I survived.
Fast forward, I joined the local triathlon and cycling clubs and gradually got faster and stronger and in 2019 completed my first half Ironman in 6:38hrs, and 4 months later cut that down to 5:41. I was well and truly hooked now, and realised with consistent training, I could actually do ok!
When did you set yourself the goal of IRONMAN and how has that journey looked?
From there I knew I wanted to complete an Ironman, but the plans of Cairns 2020 got put on hold, 2021 was a write off but now here we are !
The Journey has had its ups and downs, a few stop signs and side steps along the way, a couple of mechanicals, road blocks, a destination change, but some great guidance over the past couple of years from Coach Sarah and some awesome company along the way and now I’m ready for my long awaited first crack at an Ironman!
What challenges have popped up along the way and how have you managed them?
COVID would be the biggest one. Not being able to swim much as all for such a long period of time made it tough getting back in the water and a little shoulder niggle thrown in there too. But we worked our way through that and feel comfortable now that I’ve done enough to get through. Having to train mainly solo during covid was tough at times, but my me and my training buddies kept supporting each other and encouraging each other which helped and which meant we all continued to train through which set up in good stead for when things opened back up again.
Work is another big one (isn’t it for everyone!) haha But I have some seriously long and tiring days at work, I often start at 4/5am and work through to late arvo, So training in the mornings weekdays is near impossible, and often in the afternoon I’m work tired. But Coach Sarah worked with me on this and helped make it work. I also have an understanding boss who provided some flexibility at times which was super helpful. So I found communicating with those around you super important.
Have you learnt anything new along the way ?
I learnt that making training fun was important to me, so we made that work by incorporating things I love into my training program including:
– I run with my dogs often, which they and I love! So they joined me on many of my runs – Riding with groups, as it makes the time go much quicker and more enjoyable ! So I’d include additional riding before and after to clock up my long weekend ride and not have to do it all solo. – Including our local tri races and crit racing on a weekly/fortnightly basis allowed us to include some intensity into the training, while for me enjoying it with others. So these became regular inclusions in my training over summer.
What parts of your program / training have given you the most confidence leading into your first Ironman?
Long rides for sure. Just knowing you can do the distance and not be absolutely smashed at the end is important. And practicing is nutrition and getting that right. As they say – nutrition is the fourth discipline of triathlon ! But really, just having a coach who can lay out the program for you and not have to think too much about what is needed has been so good. To have Sarah as a sounding board, to adjust my training when needed, give me a little push when I was slacking off and help me balance around work and family life ensured I was able to get to this point in a far better space than if I tried to tackle it myself!
Any pieces of advice tips/tricks (or what not to do!) from others you have had along the way that you will take into the race with you?
I’ve had plenty of advice and words of wisdom for others, a few that stick with me.
From Luke Barlow: “it’s like eating an elephant – one piece at a time!” I loved this. It made me laugh, but totally makes sense!
Don’t do too much to early
Don’t burn too many matches
Keep it under control
Pacing is key!
It’s about getting from the start to the finish as fast as you can but as WELL as you can (thanks coach!) I’m still learning these! (I tend to go all in!) HA! So lets hope I’ve learnt enough to put this sound advice into practice this Sunday….
Can you picture yourself crossing that finishing line yet?! And what do you think that will look and feel like?
I’m thinking it will be quite emotional. A lot of time and effort and mental and physical energy has been put into this event, so I may just shed a tear! It will be awesome to see my partner of 32years Sue at the end. She’s been just invested in this as what I have.
And importantly – how do you plan on celebrating / rewarding yourself? 😊
We’re having a well earned holiday afterwards and I can’t wait! Sleep in here we come !
Any plans post Ironman?
I have recently purchased a vehicle that we are planning on doing some trips in where we can take my bike, sleep in it and can explore the country side riding and running. We can’t wait.
I would like to get some stuff done around the house too! Sue has bee amazingly supportive during my training, so it’s time to finish off the garden for her and do a few more things for her and what she would like to do. It’s all about give and take! So time to give back. 🙂
Amazing work Dazza, I can’t wait to support you on the sidelines this weekend, cheer you on, and feel those goose bumps as you hear those words down the finishing chute “Darren McKemmish YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!”
Melbourne – how we have missed you the past 2 years! And for that, we now forgive you because you have put on the goods again for the last race of the 2XU Triathlon Series in Melbourne. What a cracker way to finsh off the season!
Well done to all athletes who took part in the series, whether it was a one off race, used as lead up races or you focused on the series. It’s great to see the sport alive and well in Melbourne!
Congrats to our CPC female athletes who took the stage the this week:
OLYMPIC Johanna Clark: 2:17, 3rd F 35-39 AND 2nd overall in the series. Jo Finished a well fought out 3rd place for a race we haven’t trained for at all but we decided last week why not give it a crack! And what a race Jo had, nailing her power and pace numbers could not have asked for anymore. INCLUDING having the fastest overall bike split for the day in a smoking 1:02, 38.2km ave!
Evelyn Wilton, 3:13, 17th F45-49 Coming off her first ever Olympic Distance only 2 weeks ago, Evelyn threw herself back out there to finish off the season with another. A little illness leading into the race didn’t stop her getting on the start line though and finishing off her season on a high. 🙂
SPRINT Elise Fookes, 1:44, 12th F30-34 Coming off a bike specific program, Elise jumped into the deep end literally in throwing herself into this race. With no specific preparation other than starting back some run training and a couple of swims. Elise can be proud of her efforts (especially clocking the 2nd fastest time in her AG) and now set her sight on getting some work done for bigger things to come! 🙂
Esther Toh, 1:46, 9th F45-49 Esther has had her sights and focus on some long trail runs and walks this season and nothing like throwing in a sprint event 1 week before a 100km Great Aussie Hike next weekend! Well done Esther. 🙂
Darren McKemmish – Crowned Club Crit Champion.! Although training for an Ironman – only 5 weeks away! Darren has been geting amongst the local crit racing scene every fortnight and last Friday Night saw him race a strategic and smart race and he crossed the C Grade finish line in first, taking the crown of Echuca Moama Cycling Club C Grade Club Crit Champion for 2022! Mighty fine effort Daz !
Kathy Wilkinson & John MacNamara – Snowy Mountain Classic Both Kath and Macca made the trek to Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains for a spectacular 110km 1600m ride through the Snowy Mountains. What an amazing event to do, one to put on the ‘to do’ list if you haven’t ever done this one before or ridden in this area!
Robyn Bourke – Australian Grand Traverse A 30km hike from Falls Creek to Hotham with 1400m+ of elevation (read climbing!), 8hrs on the feet. What an experience to do this with mates just 1 week post Ironman Melbourne 70.3 and Geelong 70.3 only weeks before that! (I’m sure Robyn apologised to her legs a few times!) haha. “Epic fun, epic views, epic quad engagement! epic company. Five stars” Robyn shared after the event. Now to give those legs a little rest! ;-p
Janelle Wolski – Softball Grandfinal x 2 ! Who said it was all swim, bike and run. One of our athletes Janelle paired her triathlon pre season training with her end of Softball Season which saw he land in not one but TWO Softball Grandfinals over the weekend. Back to back headers! Although they didn’t win the converted grandfinal trophies, Janelle was super impressed with her teams efforts and just a little bit chuffed about hitting a home run – over the boundary on the full! Something that doesn’t happen very often but when it does – what an awesome feeling, and to smash that out during a grandfinal! There’s a celebration right there! Well done Janelle. 🙂
This time of the year is soo good! There is literally a race / event of some sort every weekend, and we have athletes racing all over the countryside in various distances and events. Racing really is in full swing ! !
Some great race results again this weekend at the 2XU Triathlon Series, as well as other local races around Victoria where we had athletes toeing the start line of their race/event. Most of these a great stepping stone for bigger races still to come !
2XU TRIATHLON SERIES – RACE 5
Johanna Clark 59:33, 2nd F35-39 With a sub 20min 5mkm run, Jo continues to improve as we move through the season, and most importantly, loving racing again!
Peter Romanis 1:13, 40th M35-39 Is really starting to see his months of work come together. Tougher conditions this race, but still bringing out a faster run. Ironman is on the horizon!
Evelyn Wilton 1:19, 13th F45-49 This was a tough mental battle. One that she one! And that takes some courage. And managed a faster bike time than race 1 in FAR worse conditions. Well done Evelyn.
Ollie McNulty 1:13, 10th Clydesdale Continues to show that CONSISTENCY really is keen! A solid bike the day prior and backs up with another solid and consistent race. Another Ironman in the making !
Ken Rees: 1:43, 13th overall. This local event was a great chance for Ken to have a hit out at part of his preparation for his first ‘stand alone’ marathon, and see how his training is tracking. And the result? Training is right on track! Bang on our target on a course with 400m of vert.
Aaron Mulkearns – Overall Male Winner A great hit out before a tour coming up. A well executed race, which saw him outsprint his fellow riders to the finish line.
Sarah Mulkearns –Overall Female winner A great opportunity to race in her home town and along side Aaron. 3 riders inc Aaron snuck away on the first lap and I worked together with the chase bunch to finish off strong and first female.
Darren McKemmish I don’t have results for Daz as yet, but what a mighty hard fought race in VERY windy conditions. Head and cross winds for most of the race, and Daz completed half of that solo after not quite getting himself in the right spot at a turn around and dropping from our bunch. Kudos to you Daz for pushing through and hitting a new 1hr FTP !
We had a small but awesome stable of athletes toe the start line yesterday at the Geelong 70.3 Half Ironman. Such an iconic race on the Oceania racing calendar and brings athletes from all over the country to this magnificent location.
Regan Hollioake – 1st F30-34, 3rd Female AG overall Swim 26:26 Bike 2:25.52 Run 1:39.47 Overall 4:37.21
A super impressive race from Regan, in her first Half Distance and a 30+min PB ! She was 2nd out of the water in her AG. With the work we have done on her bike leg, we knew this too was now going to be a weapon to go with her swim/run combo and hat it was, with the fastest bike split in her AG and coming off the bike with a very handy lead and went on to dig deep on the run and win by nearly 3min. Putting her everything into the race and her finish down the finishing shoot showed that – literally NOTHING left in the tank as she stubbled across the finish line to take that much deserved win.
“I over cooked it!” Regan after emerging from the med tent. ;-p
With her win she also went on to secure her place in the Half Ironman World Championships in Utah later in the year! Let the journey continue ! !
Rachael Dols – 8th F25-29 a mighty fought out race! Swim 28:19 Bike 2:46.11 Run 1:54.07 Overall 5:15.48
If you haven’t read Rachaels story yet, make sure you do as she shared her story with us here after recently being diagnosed with External Iliac Artery Endofibrosis (EIAE). So to push through immeasurable pain barriers to have a bloody great race is a testament to her character! She had a great swim, pushing from the get go, coming 2nd out of the water and taking that into a strong bike – managing her symptoms that come along with EIAE. But we’d done LOTS of work on her bike and this showed with a massive 30min bike PB! She then worked her way through the run, managing pain and symptoms to finish with nearly a 30min PB on the run also and claim over a 1hr PB overall. What a legend!
“Thank you so much fo your support, especially the last month! It honestly made me feel better knowing you were going to be there, so if anything – a massive mental boost!” ~Rachael
Robyn Bourke – 10th F35-39 Swim 39:09 Bike 2:59.56 Run 2:19.17 Overall 6:07.42
You know those training days when you just feel a bit ‘meh’, when the legs just don’t want to go from the get go and it just feels like a slog? Unfortunately for Robyn that’s how her body felt today. So her time on the clock don’t reflect the awesome training and the hard work she has dedicated over the months to get her to this race. That can be a bitter pill to swallow. For her as an athlete and for me as a coach. It hurts because knowing how hard and diligently she worked for this and sometimes we may never know the answers ‘why’ either.
“I just felt like my tank was empty all day. Def didn’t think I was going to finish!” ~Robyn post race
BUT on the flip some, what I (we) do know, that she is one resilient athlete. To keep pushing through and on a day that wasn’t ‘her’ day, with a smile everywhere she went, that is why we do this sport. To PUSH our minds and our bodies with what we have on the day. I’ve always said that. If you can give 100% of everything you have on the day, then you cannot lose. And lose she did not. She gained. Experience. Knowledge. Another notch on her race belt. And comes out even more driven and determined. THAT I a bloody proud of !
You can check out full 2022 Geelong 70.3 Half Ironman Race Results here.
What another cracking day yesterday for Race 4 of the 2XU Triathlon Series in Melbourne, with this race being held on the slightly tougher course at Sandringham.
We had some incredible individual performance from our athletes over the Sprint and Olympic distance events. Each with their own back story and race experience. And this is what it’s all about. It really isn’t just about what time is on the clock at the end, or what place you finish in your category. It is about the training, the challenges, the personal satisfaction, of the time, effort, sweat and dedication to just stand on a start line. Of letting go of fears or insecurities, of comparisons. Of being out there for YOU and no one else.
And as a Coach, I get to experience ALL of that with my athletes. I truly feel privileged to share those experiences. Not just the rewards and accolades at the end. So hats off to EVRY competitor out there racing. Of putting yourself out there, whether you feel ‘ready’ or not. Of whether you hit a PB or not. But pushing yourself regardless and enjoying this amazing sport of triathlon!
SPRINT DISTANCE: Jo Clarke: 1ST F 35-39 Swim 14:10, Bike 32:41, Run 20:02: Overall 1:12.22 Cracking first race back after 2 years. Could not of asked from more!
Ollie McNulty: 3RD Clydesdales Swim 15:54, Bike 38:04, Run 25:35, Overall 1:28.08 He’s been super consistent in training, and each race he’s been inching closer to that podium. Today he cracked it ! And with a most impressive run also. Great work !
Esther Toh: 11TH F 45-49 Swim 15:44, Bike 40:44, Run 29:04, Overall 1:31.59 After a year of focusing on an ultra run, we went in with no expectations. As daunting as that can be when you know you haven’t trained specifically for a race, nothing can stop you once the gun goes off! And a slight side fact – this same race she did way back in 2022 (10 years ago!) she has finished with pretty much exact same splits as this year. Not a bad feat !!
Evelyn Wilton: 16TH F 45-49 Swim 19:09, Bike 42:02, Run 33:44, Overall 1:42.49 She keeps chipping away and with each race, new learnings. With her first Olympic distance on the horizon, these races have been great for experience and a good overall training race.
OLYMPIC DISTANCE: Rachel Dols 1ST F25-29 Swim 23:39, Bike 1:08.43, Run 44:41, Overall 2:23.25 What can I say. A bloody mighty fine effort !! She’s been working her arse off, is one of the most diligent athletes I know, and with a diagnosis only this week of External Iliac Artery Endofibrosis – to go out and push through the PAIN of such a condition and win in such a convincing fashion while in so much immense pain is beyond me. My hat goes off to you young lady! If you want to follow Rach on her journey through here training, racing and her diagnosis follow on the socials here