Defending Australian Champions to line up in Geelong

23 Mar 2024

Photo Credit: Korupt Vision - IRONMAN

IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong will host the 2024 Australian Long Distance and Aquabike Championships this Sunday with Elite and Age Group Titles up for grabs.

2023 Australian Elite Long Distance Champions Ellie Salthouse and Nicholas Free will both defend their Australian titles on Sunday in strong professional fields.

IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong doubles as the Australian Age Group Long Distance and Aquabike Championships where over 1,600 athletes will compete over a 1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21.1km run – and 1.9km swim and 90km ride for Aquabikers.

Brisbane’s Ellie Salthouse is looking forward to the return to Geelong, where she topped the podium in 2021 and will be joined by last year’s IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong Champion Grace Thek.

“I’m feeling fit and ready to kick off my 2024 season. It has been over three months since my last race so I’m eager to get back out there and see where my current fitness is at,” said Salthouse. “This year has attracted a strong field in Geelong, which always helps to get the best out of me.

“I had a great win here in 2021, on a day where everything just came together for me,” she said. “I have a lot of family down in Victoria who always come out to support me, so I think that really helps elevate my performances here. I love the honest course as well, with so many factors to consider, from the temperatures to the wind and undulations.”

“I’m so pleased that the Aussie racing scene has attracted such a strong field in Geelong this year. I think we will have a really solid swim, especially with a high likelihood of a wetsuit swim,” she said. “I think the bike will break up a little, due to the undulating course and the potential for strong cross-winds out on the course. We have some strong cyclist in the field, which will definitely keep the pace honest. The run is always pretty quick here in Geelong, so I am expecting nothing less on Sunday. As far as my expectations go, I’m really just looking to see where my fitness is at and implement a few new things that we’ve been working on over the off-season.”

Nicholas Free, 2023 Australian Champion, took Bronze in Geelong in 2023 and is looking forward to Sunday’s contest in the stacked professional men’s field.

“The body is finally feeling back to normal after I tore my calf last November,” said Free. “It’s been a long build back but I’m excited to be fit and on the start line again.

“I’m excited because I have no idea how it will play out. With some internationals racing it’s a really good chance to test yourself before some bigger races later in the year,” he said.

Free will be joined by Adelaide’s Steve McKenna, who has taken Silver in Geelong in 2023 and 2022 following his 2021 victory.

“I take a lot of confidence in my improvements each year at the IRONMAN distance, with New Zealand being my best performance yet,” said McKenna. “I also came away with an appreciation for the country, respect for New Zealand’s relationship with their indigenous community unified as one and I was also blown away by the IRONMAN history at that event.”

“I love a sea water swim, an exposed bike course at times and cooler weather for fast running,” he said. “Hoping for wind, cool conditions with a chance of a robot.

“I’m expecting blows in the swim, bike and run racing athletes with different strengths that cover each discipline. I think a well-rounded athlete wins a race like this, and I’m confident I’ll come in tapered enough to bring my A game and be that athlete,” said McKenna.

For Australian Elites. Geelong also represents an opportunity for selection on the Australian Team for the Townsville 2024 World Multisport Championships to be held in August, 2024. More on selection policy.

Racing for the Australian Championships will get underway from 7:32am AEDT with the professional males followed by the professional females at 7:34am AEDT on Sunday.

For more on IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong visit:

Learn more about the AusTriathlon Australian Championships

IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong – Professional Women’s Start List

1. Grace Thek – Australia
2. Radka Kahlefeldt – Australia
3. Lotte Wilms – Netherlands
4. Ellie Salthouse – Australia
5. Hannah Berry – New Zealand
6. Hanne De Vet – Belgium
7. Chloe Hartnett – Australia
8. Penny Slater – Australia
9. Sophie Perry – Australia
10. Aleisha Wesley – Australia
11. Paige Cranage – Australia
12. Daynella Eberle – Australia
14. Kate Gillespie-Jones – Australia
15. Cassandra Heaslip – Australia
16. Regan Hollioake – Australia
17. Samantha Kingsford – New Zealand
18. Angharad Llewellyn – New Zealand
19. Leanne Szeto – Hong Kong

IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong – Professional Men’s Start List
  1. Mike Phillips – New Zealand
  2. Steve McKenna – Australia
  3. Nicholas Free – Australia
  4. Nick Thompson – Australia
  5. Mitch Kibby – Australia
  6. Caleb Noble – Australia
  7. Tim Van Berkel – Australia
  8. Henrik Goesch – Finland
  9. Charlie Quin – Australia
  10. Kurt McDonald – Australia
  11. Calvin Amos – Australia
  12. Joe Begbie – Australia
  13. Thomas Bishop – Great Britain
  14. Nathan Dortmann – Australia
  15. David Fawkes – Australia
  16. Levi Hauwert – Australia
  17. Matthias Hohlrieder – Austria
  18. Hamish Longmuir – Australia
  19. Jarrod Osborne – Australia
  20. Sam Osborne – New Zealand
  21. Harry Sinclair – Australia
  22. Tom Somerville – New Zealand
  23. Benjamin Stern – USA
  24. Martin Ulloa – Chile
  25. Benjamin Zorgnotti – French Polynesia

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