This years Shepparton Half Ironman was set to be a big one thanks to WTC (World Triathlon Corporation) announcing it on the 70.3 race calendar. This means it is not only backed by the ‘Ironman’ brand, but it also means it was a qualifying race for the 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas September next year.

Tri Alliance had it’s largest ever Half Ironman squad head up to Shepparton to take on this race with 50 individuals and 4 teams, and with 15+ of those athletes completing a Half Ironman for the first time, there were a lot of excited (and nervous) athletes pre race.

Race morning and the day was set to be pretty good race conditions. With cloud cover to help keep the heat down, the bike was probably the toughest part of the race with the wind picking up on lap two of the course feeling as it it got you from nearly every direction you rode. So around 5min slower on the bike course than last years super fast race.

The race kicked off at 7am, with the pro’s set to finish in sub 4 hours and with 7.5hours for everyone else to complete the course it was going to be a great days racing! The swim is a lake swim in the murky waters of Kialla Lakes. With the recent rain in Shepparton, the Lake was ‘darker’ than normal meaning you couldn’t see your own hand under the water let alone the person in front of you. So sighting became ever so important as well as trying to find your own little bit of space without swimming over someone OR being swum over!

The bike this year was changed to a 2 lap course – not a spectator friendly, but was to help with drafting. Every rider was to be at least 12m from the rider in front / behind. Although with so many competitors this is quite learhard with other riders often riding into your ‘gap’. Frustrating at times – but ‘thems the rules!’ Just as Ollie and Sarah quickly learnt as they both got sin binned and had to sit out 5min to contemplate the rest of their race.

As athletes headed out on the run they were greeted with cheers all over the course, chalk marking of words of support and encouragement and fantastic volunteers at the aid stations to ensure everyone got through their race. And the Tri Alliance cheer squad did not disappoint! We had a convoy of cars head up the highway to specifically watch and cheer on our athletes and their support (and camera work) on the sidelines was greatly appreciated by everyone on the course.

So a big thanks to Mick Gray, Mick Ryan, Bdette, Mark Jenkins, Steph Lowe, Evalin, Tim Watts, Kris Cockbill, Nathan Sims (i’m sure I’ve forgotten someone) and many more atletes, family and friends who made their way to Shepparton to support their fellow athletes. Special mention also goes to the Nicholl family who spent a good portion of Saturday writing messages of support to our athletes. Kept us entertained for a good portion of the run course when the going got tough!

Our last athlete crossed the line in 7:16min – and got one of the biggest cheers of the day. Well done Amnon on a tough day out. Big congrats also goes to everyone of our first time athletes including: Stan Assimopoulos, Michael Canning, Narelle Crooks, Paddy Fitzgerald, Natalie Howard, Anthony Leverington, Steve MacDonald, Adam Murone, Paul O’Dowd, Katee Pedicini, Brad Riddington, Brianna Scarlett, Amnon Trebish, Magda Urbanek, Kerri Whitney, Andy Wood-Rich.

“Crossing the finish line, I was full of even more emotion that I anticipated. All the training camps, early morning, head winds, hills and rain came down to one day and it was all worth it. Becuase I was prepared and had the training under my belt I was able to enjoy the day and achieve my goal tme (and more!). There were obstacles along the way, lots of hard work and sometimes doubts, but with the support of my Coach Ollie and Tri Alliance I could overcome these to reach my goal. It’s 3 days later, I’m knackered, incredibly sore but I still have a huge smile on my face!” Katee Pedicini – First time Half Ironman!

“What a day! Running down the finish chute with a huge smile on my face was an amazing way to finish my first Half Ironman. I had a great race with a time well beyond my expectations, so a big thankyou goes out to all the TA Coaches and support cre for making it possible!” Narelle Crooks – First Time Half Ironman

Check out how our athletes raced in our  Tri Alliance Race Results. For full race results CLICK HERE.

A big thanks also goes to Daniel and Dane from The Performance and Sports Psychology Clinic who made the 2.5hour trip to Shepparton to experience their first Half Ironman first hand and be on hand to chat to our athletes pre race to help calm nerves and focus on their race plans. Thanks guys!

Special Mentions:

  • The controversy in the male’s pro race when 4 of the leaders were hit with a 5min penalty for following the lead car and cutting the course short. Won’t be doing that again will they!
  • Sheridan Brown for offering pro athlete Matty White a ‘lollie’ when he had to pull out of the run with a calf injury. Needless to say he declined….
  • Our favourite Stan for offering his support to a competitor who was struggling in her race and helping her by ‘singing’! 🙂
  • Mick Gray for taking the infamouns penalty box picture which had Sarah reinstated to first place in her age group.
  • Sarah Lausberg in her TO’ing. Her first big gig and she managed to ping 3 unfortunate fellow’s on the bike course who simply stopped to ‘relieve’ themselves, little did they know it is illegal and you can be disqualified. Sarah was nice enough to only hand them with a 5min penalty. 5min to work out where the toilets were on their next lap! 🙂
  • Sarah & Ollie on securing themselves a spot to the 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas next year!
  • Anthony and Dave from CBD Cycles in looking after our athletes as always – great work boys!!
  • The SPC Factory – if you head up next year make sure you take the time to visit!
  • The Shepparton Tri Club on putting on such a great event – Tri Alliance will be back again next year!
  • The entire Tri Alliance athletes and cheersquad for making it such a memorable day for everyone!

Lessons Leart:

  • Book your accom early – don’t learn the hard way like Andy and Co and be stuck in Negambie!
  • A Half Ironman is a tough event – consistant training is key!
  • Even if you swim WAY wide, you can still get swum over!
  • Don’t drink murky water – it can play havoc in your race and afterwards!
  • Wear Tri Alliance gear and you won’t go un-noticed on course!
  • Know where the toilet stops are – they can be critical in your race.
  • Having the day off work the day after your first Half IM is HIGHLY recommended for mere survival
  • Garlic Bread is the food of Champions! 🙂

For athletes who had Shepparton as their ‘A Grade’ race for the season and who have yet to plan out the rest of the season, please ensure you speak to one of our coaches. If you need to book in for a coaching consult to sit down and map out the rest of the reason and help you in the recovery phase both mentally and physically. The guys at PSPC can also assist if you are having difficulties.

Next years race is yet to be announced – so stay tuned for details and entries.

Team Tri Alliance

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