Near perfect conditions made for super-fast racing with Queensland athletes and training partners Josh Amberger and Sarah Crowley smashing both the men’s and women’s course records at the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns.
It was also a double for Brisbane based coach Cameron Watt, steering both Amberger and Crowley to the biggest wins of their careers.
n only his third start in an IRONMAN, Amberger upset much more fancied rivals with a near flawless performance in front of a very supportive Cairns crowd.
“I have never won a major championship, so to put it together on a day like this is amazing. Everyone talks about how wonderful this race in Cairns is and all the guys that do it always seem to come back. I can see why, it was just unbelievable. One of the best, if not the best course I have raced on.”
“It was literally like a dream. I led out of the water, I was first off the bike and I managed to have good legs. I am still new at IRONMAN so I was unsure of the run pacing. I think I went out a bit too hard but managed to hold it together and run a really good marathon.
“I had a feeling I had the race wrapped up but I didn’t want to celebrate too early. The last two km was lined with spectators and being a Queensland boy to take this race out in front of a lot of family and friends and people who have watched my career over the last ten to fifteen years it was fantastic. Well done to the people who came here to support the race and thank you for getting me across the line.”
“Full credit to my coach Cameron Watt. I started with him in December last year and I have gone ahead in leaps and bounds. He has put a lot of work into both Sarah Crowley and myself and to have Cam here supporting us is unbelievable,” Amberger said.
Amberger will now travel to Europe to support his partner, Olympian Ashleigh Gentle and take some time out to consider his race schedule and whether to focus on the IRONMAN World Championship in October.
“I haven’t seen much of Ashleigh this year because she is very focused on what she is doing with the ITU circuit. I am pretty excited to take this title and enjoy some time off and spend some time with her. When you race IRONMAN you cannot expect to have a race like that every time. A lot of guys who have had success in the past in Kona have left it awhile and gained experience in other races. There will be some expectation from the people around me to start in Kona but it is a bit too early to say if it will be this year,” he said.
A new course record is Sarah Crowley’s reward for revitalizing her racing career and seven years of loyalty to the Cairns event.
“I have been performing really well over the past six months in the 70.3 races and I went away with my coach Cam Watt to extend my running to long course and the work we have done on the swim has unlocked my whole race.”
“Coming out of the water up the front I don’t have to chase and hurt yourself in the first part of the bike by trying to play catch up and you can set your ride up better. It happened here, I was able to build through the ride and I really hammered the back end where I knew the race would be won. In the past I would have had to hurt myself out to Port Douglas to try and catch up. Taking that off the table has unlocked my racing for me.”
“This race is pay off for all the work we have been doing. I won the IRONMAN 70.3 Middle East Championship Bahrain at the back end of last season but it hasn’t got the status of a Regional Championship. This is definitely my best result. It is unbelievable and who knows from here.”
“I was pumped when I saw Josh out there in front and I couldn’t believe it. It was like ‘Far out’, then I saw the gap and It was like ‘What is going on?’ I love it. It was so good to see. Our squad is so positive. We support each other and complement each other at training. It is wonderful to see that Josh had the win in Cairns as well but there is gonna be a fight for who is top dog at training now,” Crowley laughed.
Joshua Amberger 8:02:16
Joe Gambles 8:04:02
Braden Currie (NZ) 8:07:45
Sarah Crowley 8:58:13
Sarah Piampiano (USA) 9:08:19
Kristin Moeller (GER) 9:14:07
PLEWS AND ROBERTS SET HOT PACE AT IRONMAN 70.3 CAIRNS
New Zealand’s Dan Plews and Gold Coast athlete Madi Roberts have set a hot pace in near perfect race conditions to take line honours at IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns.
Plews was in town to assist Tim van Berkel in his title defence, but as an athlete in his own right he came to race IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns to punch his ticket to the IRONMAN 70.3 World
Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee in September. He was in sensational form despite a limited build up, he reveled in the mild race conditions.
“I only did two weeks of training for this race but I had quite a big build up for IRONMAN New Zealand earlier in the year where I was first age grouper and tenth over all. So that work held me in good stead here in Cairns.”
“The conditions out there were spectacular and this is a beautiful course. I have never been towards Port Douglas before, it is amazing. The bike course was really rolling and I didn’t know it was going to be like that and didn’t prepare for it but the run was pretty good. Nice and flat and quick. The scenery was amazing out there, I had a bit of a look when I could and I tried to take it in as best as I could when I had the opportunity. It is not always possible when you are going flat out. I am super happy with the race and my result,” he laughed.
Plews had planned to race the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona but with a baby due on around race day he happily changed his plans.
“I was going to do Kona but my wife is pregnant and she is due on 21 October so I had to prioritize that obviously because I didn’t want to miss the birth. So I thought I would switch it up and do IRONMAN 70.3 Worlds in Chattanooga instead. I have been told it is a pretty hard course so that will suit me.”
Gold Coast’s Madi Roberts was delighted with her result and full of praise for the Cairns course.
“I haven’t raced a 70.3 since November, so I was actually a bit nervous about this race because my preparation was mostly for sprint and Olympic distance racing where it is flat out and gung ho all the way. My concern was about how I was going to pace it but I found it pretty good and I am very happy. I was in my zone the whole way and just did my own thing.”
“I have done most of the 70.3 races in Australia and I was looking for something new. I want to come to Cairns because it is a lovely place and the course is awesome and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t care about the wind I was just hoping it wouldn’t rain and I got my wish thankfully. I was really happy with the conditions and I didn’t even mind that little head wind on the run it was really nice.”
“My ribs got a bit stiff on the first lap of the run and having trouble breathing but I got it together for the second lap. That made the run a touch slower than I wanted but other than that the day pretty much went to plan,” she said.