Australians Sam Appleton and Annabel Luxford took the elite titles at Challenge Melbourne.
Appleton made up for a 3 seconds deficit to fellow Aussie Dan Wilson on the swim with a 3rd best bike split and race-best run to finish in 3:44:51 with a 1:32 margin of victory over Wilson.
Wilson’s 25:34 led the swim which gave him a 3 seconds margin on Appleton, 6 seconds on Casey Munro, 42 seconds on Reed, 1:50 on Mitchell Kibby, 1:51 seconds on Lachlan Kerin, and 1:54 on Gerald Wild.
After a 3rd-best 2:04:41 bike split, Appleton held a 1:45 lead on Kerin, 2 minutes on Wilson, 2:20 on Matt Burton (race-best 2:03:00 bike split) and 2:43 on Reed.
While Wilson held on the best of the rivals, Appleton’s sizzling 1:11:13 run split brought him home in 3:44:51 with a 1:32 margin of victory over Wilson and 9:20 over 3rd place Reed (1:17:50 run).
Appleton’s win was his second of 2017, coming after a victory at Geelong 70.3 where Wilson finished 3rd. Last year Appleton finished 5th at the Ironman 70.3 Worlds and 4th at Ironman 70.3 Vineman.
Luxford combined women's-best swim and bike splits with a women’s 2nd-fastest run to finish in 4:09:58 with a 6:04 margin of victory over Laura Siddall of Great Britain and 29:13 over 3rd-place Zoe Adams of Australia.
Luxford’s 28:57 swim split gave her a 1:57 lead on Penny Hosken, 2:05 on Kathryn Haesner, and 3:13 on Siddall.
After a dominating 2:14:42 bike split, Luxford held a 7:41 lead on Siddall (2:19:13 bike split), 14 minutes on Hosken, and 23 minutes on Adams.
While Siddall gained back 54 seconds with a women's-best 1:20:57 half marathon, that still left the British competitor 6:04 back of Luxford at the finish. Adams’ 4th-best 1:27:45 run brought her home 3rd.
Luxford’s win comes after a 4th place at Ironman New Zealand and a win at Geelong 70.3.
Challenge Melbourne Half Distance
April 9, 2017
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Sam Appleton (AUS) 3:44:51
2. Dan Wilson (AUS) 3:46:23
3. Timothy Reed (AUS) 3:54:11
4. Matt Burton (AUS) 3:55:48
5. Lachlan Kerin (AUS) 3:56:15
1. Annabel Luxford (AUS) 4:09:58
2. Laura Siddall (GBR) 4:16:02
3. Zoe Adams (AUS) 4:39:11
4. Penny Hosken (AUS) 4:39:20
5. Annelise Jefferies (AUS) 4:40:29