Changing of the Guard showcased at Husky 2018.
The showcase event at the festival is “Ultimate Husky”, a race that regularly has a roll call of the likes of Craig “Crowie” Alexander, Pete Jacobs, Radka Vodickova and Mel Hauschildt. The modified long course event sees athletes compete across the 2k swim, 83km undulating bike course and breathtakingly scenic flat 20km run.
For the past two years it has been multiple world champion Craig “Crowie” Alexander that has claimed the coveted title but after a serious cycling incident whilst training late last year, Australia’s most successful long distance athlete was ruled out of defending his title at the 2018 Shimano Husky Triathlon Festival. Alexander’s exclusion from the event left the door wide open for a changing of the guard in with last year’s second runner up Kieran Roche keen to cut the finish tape in 2018.
Amongst the other male professionals was 4 time Ironman Champion Tim Van Berkel, Nuru Somi and last year’s second placed Michael Fox. The Pro field made up part of a 1000 strong field of competitors who competed in the Ultimate distance.
Roche No Longer the Bridesmaid
In the Ultimate distance it was Fox and Roche that exited the water within 5 seconds of each other with Somi a further minute back. During the bike leg Roche kept Fox very honest with the pair throwing down the hammer on the 3 lap 83km course where the lead swapped a number of times. Out of transition and onto the run the final leg promised to be the highlight of the day with Fox holding onto a narrow 7 second lead as temperatures hit the early 30’s.
At the 7km mark Roche who is known for being a strong runner used his opportunity to pounce on Fox taking the lead and storming to his maiden victory at the Husky triathlon Festival finishing in a time of 3hrs 49minutes and 12secs. 3 minutes and 38 secs ahead of Fox (3.52.51) and Alex Reithmeier who ran himself through Somi (3.57.38) and into third place.
“Knowing that Crowie was out injured this year gave me great hope to come back and try and win it [sic Husky Triathlon] this year, I love racing here all the crowds cheering you on along the run course and through town”. “It was tough out there with the temperature picking up on the run, but I’m glad to come away with the win in front of all my friends and family” said Roche
In the women’s race a last minute decision to race proved to be fruitful for Jane Fardell as she took a 7 second lead onto the bike where Fardell was able to further her lead by taking an extra 2mins 55 seconds out of Holly Khan. A pro triathlete that has had a recent stint in marathon circles looked at ease as she cruised to a female run of the day and the overall victory in the Women’s race to finish in a time of 4hrs 25secs and 38secs.
In the minor placings in the Women’s Ultimate distance were valiant efforts by Khan (4.30.28) who has only recently stepped up to Elite level racing and Moya Johansson (4.35.37).
Event organiser Elite Energy has recently released that the 2019 edition of this epic weekend will be held across the weekend of February 22-24, with whispers of a new, faster bike course many will be keeping an eye on this iconic race that is due to go on sale in the next couple of weeks. Check the www.eliteenergy.com.au website for details of how to get pre-sale entries at discounted prices.