Ballarat, Victoria (Thursday,13 November 2014) - German Michael Raelert’s winning performance at last weekend’s SunSmart IRONMAN 70.3 Mandurah has heightened speculation that his own world record could be under threat at Sunday’s IRONMAN 70.3 Ballarat.
He was a full minute under world record pace for much of the race in Mandurah, only slowing when victory was assured. He finished in a time of 3:35.55 just over a minute slower than his record of 3:34:04, set in 2009.
“I was racing for the win, I didn’t realise how close I was to the record,” Raelert said. “I’m not disappointed, but if I knew it was that close I would have raced a little differently.”
Luke Bell, who finished fourth at Mandurah, believes given the right conditions and based on Raelert’s form the record could go.
“For Michael to come within one minute of his own world record at Mandurah will have given him some motivation to 'go for gold' on Sunday and set a new world’s best time,” Bell said.
Since recovering from a bike crash in January this year Raelert has reeled off three wins in a row, taking titles at IRONMAN 70.3 Reugen, IRONMAN 70.3 Miami, and SunSmart IRONMAN 70.3 Mandurah.
Those wins have seen him regain the form and confidence that saw him win back-to-back IRONMAN 70.3 World titles in 2009 and 2010.
The biggest threat to Raelert looks to be Bell. For the Victorian, who has been troubled by a knee injury since IRONMAN Melbourne in March, just getting through IRONMAN 70.3 Mandurah pain free felt like a win.
“Since getting home from North America I’ve had numerous physiotherapy appointments along with biomechanical analysis and strength and conditioning work. And the body has responded well,” he said.
In the women’s race the winner looks set to come from one of three athletes; Melanie McQuaid (CAN), Mareen Hufe (GER) and Madeleine Oldfield (AUS).
Hufe finished second at IRONMAN Western Australia last year and was seventh at SunSmart IRONMAN 70.3 Mandurah.
Oldfield comes into the race on the back of a second place at the weekend’s Murray Man Triathlon.
“I am recovering pretty well from Murray Man. I'm still a little sore and tired, but I've been taking it fairly easy over the past few days, so I'll hopefully start to feel better and be ready to race,” she said.
McQuaid is looking forward to racing in Ballarat, and has had a solid year recording victories at IRONMAN 70.3 Boise, IRONMAN 5150 Saskatoon and Xterra Canada.
“I really enjoyed my stay in Victoria last year and I look forward to racing at a new venue in a city I have never visited. It is a great way to pick my way through Australia, meet some new people and experience new places,” she said.
Race day on Sunday 16 November.