The flat and fast conditions on the back made for an exciting finish in Busselton.
by Andrea Gee
Two-time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, Craig Alexander broke the course record in his win at the SunSmart IRONMAN 70.3 Busselton in 3:42:59.
It marked his third consecutive IRONMAN 70.3 win in as many months.
In the women's race, Australian Annabel Luxford prevailed in her first race after her IRONMAN debut in South Africa.
Alexander enjoys the conditions
In cold, but otherwise perfect conditions, Alexander was tested on all fronts by a world-class field where former ITU performer Pete Kerr (AUS) led the way in the swim, breaking the swim-course record with a time of 21:34.
A minute back out of the water, Alexander had some time to make up, but was in good company heading onto the bike course with New Zealand's Guy Crawford.
On the run it was the Philippines-based Australian, Mitch Robins who set the pace, with Alexander only able to break away late in the run to claim the victory, following on from his wins in the Philippines and Malaysia.
"I couldn't ask for better conditions," says Alexander. "As an athlete you want to take your opportunities when conditions like that are present."
Known for its flat and fast conditions, the Busselton course presents its own challenges.
"Flat courses are the hardest because there's no opportunity for your heart rate to come down – you're on the gas the whole time, whether it be on the bike or the run," says Alexander.
Continuing the theme of the day, powerhouse Matt Burton broke the bike-course record, shaking things up with a lightning fast 2:00:34.
"It's nice to see the races break up and it takes a bike rider of Matt's caliber to do that," says Alexander.
"It was a world-class field that was assembled, particularly Mitch Robins on that run – he pushed me the whole way and Matty Burton made it a good, honest bike."
The men's podium was rounded out by Mitch Robins (3:44:35) and Callum Millward (3:45:28).
Luxford joins in the records
In the women’s race it was Annabel Luxford who stood atop the podium after leading the charge from the onset and finishing in a record breaking time of 4:12:34.
Having raced IRONMAN South Africa just three weeks prior, Luxford was in unfamiliar territory as she toed the start line.
"Backing up three weeks following an IRONMAN – I've never done that before, so I was glad to get around and feel okay," says Luxford.
She also broke the women's swim-course record with a 23:59, exiting the water with Alise Selsmark (AUS) on her toes, although that record was short-lived, when it was broken by an age group competitor, Kate Shyrock.
Once on the bike Selsmark couldn't stay with Luxford, who broke away and created a gap of more than three minutes over the chase pack of Selsmark, Katey Gibb, Kate Bevilaqua and Leah Lassche.
It was Lassche (NZL) who lit up the run course, running herself into second place (4:14:25) ahead of Katey Gibb (4:15:03).
Full results here: