Ironman Melbourne

Ironman Melbourne… what a race! These are a few of my thoughts as a spectator. We were impressed when we first saw the expo from a distance – it’s looked big (always a prelude of what is inside!) and street flags along St Kilda foreshore bore the Ironman logo creating an atmosphere of excitement 🙂

A few purchases from the expo (it was good) and a cake from one of the many patisseries on Ackland St was the perfect way to prepare for the event.

It was an early start to drive down to Frankston – thank goodness we weren’t racing – we would have had to get up even earlier! The transition was full of bikes ready to go – a great sight from above as you walk down the slight hill towards the beach.

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The pier was the place to watch the swim – we positioned ourselves out at the end and watched the pros start (in the dark following the SUP) and the age groupers follow 15 mins later.

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Then we experienced the spectators dilema – do i watch the swim exit or the exit from T1? We chose T1 as it was very crowded around the swim exit and hadr to get a good view. The pros came flying out of transition and we managed to get a few good shots (Go Rinny!).

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Then it was the all important coffee and breakfast. The cafe’s in Frankston were a little underprepared for the onslaught of hungry spectators so early on a Sunday morning but rallied well and provided good (if somewhat crowded) service. With our tummies full of bircher muesli we were ready to watch the bike turn around (the pros had ridden a full lap in the time it took us to eat breakfast!). It was thrilling to watch them fly down the slight incline to the turn around then up the hill again and off on another lap. Then it was off the bike and onto the run. the run course was interesting – one way from Frankston to St Kilda made it a little difficult to spectate. But once we negotiated our way out of Frankston (slowly) we were driving alongside the competitors on the Nepean Hwy! I hope they appreciated the people leaning out the car windows yelling encouragement.

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We were too slow on the drive the catch the lead males before the course split onto Beach Rd at Mordiallic however we did see Caroline Steffen powering at the front of the women’s race and Rachel Joyce chasing hard!

We got the St Kilda with just enough time to find a spot on the finish chute before Crowie arrived!

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An iPhone fail (batteries flat – rookie spectator mistake – take a car charger next time!) meant we weren’t sure who would get there first – Crowie or Cam Brown. Super excited to see an Aussie winner and a heroic effort by Cam Brown to finish a close second.

Also great to see Caroline Steffen come so close the the women’s world record on her way to a commanding win! The first time I remember seeing her race was Gold Coast Half Ironman in 2009 – look how far she’s come! We saw her training up at Jindabyne over Xmas – swimming in a lane at Thredbo pool next to her, Dave Dellow and Aaron Farlow made me feel like I was doing doggy paddle!

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All in all a great race. My tips for those spectating in the future:

– take a bike and ride to Frankston if you can – this way you’ll be able to ride back along the run course cheering the runners!

– have a phone charger/ spare battery if you are planning on using twitter/ ironmanlive to follow the race.

– charge your camera (my battery went flat during the ride portion of the race)

– take snacks (we didn’t have time to get lunch and were STARVING by the end of the day)

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