Race Report – Canberra, ACT, Australia

I had my slowest Half Iron yet with a 6:59:21.  Thirty nine seconds to spare before cut-off and yes, I was doing the math on the run. A decent swim, a dismal bike, and somehow a strong run summarize the performance. I comparitively ranked strongest on the swim, followed by the run, and with a 4 hour and 12 minute bike it is no suprise I ranked the worst here. I am going to explore Canberra on bike and will give you a personal rundown after I get into Sydney tonight. The following is the race report from the race management team.

Here are my splits – The areas in blue are the swim, bike, and run times:

Darran KELINSKE 06:59:21 2529 64 Male 442 Surry Hills, NSW Finished 00:42:46 329 45 294 04:12:04 535 68 466 02:04:30 390 50 347

 Aaron Farlow and Melissa Vandewater win the 2008 Canberra City Half Ironman for Team HiPer3


Breakthrough wins for Queanbeyan’s Aaron Farlow and Sydney’s Melissa Vandewater highlighted the eighth annual Canberra City Half Ironman Triathlon held in the ACT on the weekend of 13/14 December.


The event, comprising a 1.9km swim in Lake Burley Griffin, an undulating to hilly three-lap 93km bike course and a flat 21.1km lake-side run, attracted 620 individual and 26 team entrants. 


The event, considered one of the great challenges of Australian triathlon saw mother nature add to the physical challenge in this edition, the conditions made all the more daunting by blustery, cold and overcast conditions. 


Race Director Graeme Hannan commented that although far from ideal, the unseasonal conditions certainly made for some tough and honest racing amongst both the professional and amateur (age group) athletes.


For Farlow, a 27 year old boilermaker from Queanbeyan, the win capped his most successful year since becoming a professional triathlete in 2001.  He recently finished 7th overall at the Noosa Triathlon.  Prior to that, he took out the Desaru Long Course Triathlon in Malaysia (August 2008), and had finished as the first Australian in the inaugural Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore.


Farlow exited the water in second place, right behind the ever-consistent Pete Jacobs.  The two men headed out on to the bike course with Boyd Conrick.  Mid-way in to the ride, Jacobs made his move and started to surge, however Farlow was able to stay with him.  The duo then continued to ride close, and at T2 (the bike/run transition), had established four minutes lead over their closest rivals.


Farlow and Jacobs then ran side by side for the first 5km, however Farlow eventually able broke away from a tiring Jacobs.  He continued to run strongly, recording an impressive half marathon time of 1:15:44 and going on to win by more than five minutes.


Tim Reed ran from seventh in to third position, following a superb run in the second fastest time for the day (1:17:32) while Danish Champion, Jimmy Johnsen raced to his second fourth place in successive weekends, after last’s weekend’s Ironman Western Australia.


For Farlow, today’s effort was just reward for many years of effort.  At the finish line, he said “I finally had a good race in Canberra!  I’m stoked to win this race.  I’ll be taking it easy for a couple of weeks now, then heading up to Thredbo with some of the boys (previous round winners of the Australian Half Ironman Series, Cam Watt and Dave Dellow) for a three week smash fest (hard training camp)”. 


Farlow thanked his employer, Baxter Engineering, for their financial and moral support which has enabled him to focus on his triathlon career.  His ultimate goal is to make it to London in 2012.


Melissa Vandewater triumped in the women’s race, taking her inaugural Half Ironman win, while last year’s winner Michelle Wu battled a stomach problem to produce another stellar performance for second place. Recently-turned pro Jennifer Dixon finished third overall.


Like Farlow, Vandewater emerged from the water in second place, just behind Victoria’s Elly Franks.  The women challenged each other throughout the first the first lap and a half of the bike leg, however Vandewater made a strategic decision to make her move during the second lap.  “I know how strong I am on the bike at the moment.  I really love the hills, so I just decided to go for it”, she said later.


This proved to be the ideal tactic, giving Vandewater enough of a buffer going in to the run to hold off all challengers.  Her run leg has also improved significantly over the past year, which she puts down to recent weight loss and her natural affinity for the longer distance events.


Vandewater works part time as an Occupational Therapist.  This morning’s result was the highlight of a strong season, which also saw her finish 2nd at the Gold Coast Half Ironman, and 3rd in the Open Female category at the Noosa Triathlon.


Her focus now turns to Ironman 70.3 Geelong, the grand final of the Australian Half Ironman Series. 


The Canberra City Half Ironman Triathlon is part of the seven-race Australian Half Ironman Series, and is a validating race for Ironman Australia, to be held in Port Macquarie on 5 April 2009.  The final round of the Series is the Snap Ironman 70.3 Geelong (8 February 2009).





Position                           Overall      Swim           Bike           Run

1. Aaron Farlow (ACT)   4:12:39     26.16           2:30:39     1:15:44          

2. Pete Jacobs (NSW)    4:17:57     26:14           2:30:32     1:21:10

3. Tim Reed (NSW)        4:19:41     27:59           2:34:19     1:17:23


1. Melissa Vandewater (NSW)   4:52:06     31:24 2:50:57     1:29:34

2. Michelle Wu (ACT)    4:56:56     32:10          2:54:51     1:29:55

3. Jennifer Dixon (ACT) 5:03:20     31:39          2:57:50     1:332:54

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