Cameron Wurf of Australia and Laura Siddall of Great Britain won the overall titles at the 2019 edition of Ironman Australia.
Wurf topped fellow Aussie Tim Reed by 3:33 and 3rd place finisher Denis Chevrot of France by 9:48, earning a big lead with a race-best, race-record 4:22:53 bike split and defending it with a personal best 2:50:20 marathon. While Wurf created some drama when he stopped for a few moments with stomach issues in the final kilometers of the run, his well-balanced 8:06:18 finish smashed Marino Vanhoenacker’s 2018 course record by 8:20 and edged Pauli Kiuru’s 1992 race record set at Foster-Tuncurry by 21 seconds.
While Wurf, a multi-talented athlete who competed in the Olympics as a lightweight rower and had a successful career as a professional cyclist, has set the Ironman World Championship at Kona bike record twice, he seems to have evolved into a more successful all-around triathlete by moderating his kamikaze bike splits and vastly improving his run.
In contrast to his performance at Ironman Australia, Wurf‘s 9th place finish at Kona last October was lopsided – he combined a 50:51 swim, a dazzling race-record 4:09:06 bike split and a 3:06:18 marathon to finish in 8:10:32. At Port Macquairie, Wurf’s 49:10 swim gave away 5 minutes to the leaders but he gained back 14 minutes with his 4:22:53 bike split. Key to his success, his quite good bike split was far less than his capabilities. As a result, he saved enough energy to run his by-far best 2:50:55 Ironman run and take the win.
Whilst Port Macquairie may be a breakthrough for Wurf, he has some prior successes including a win at Ironman Wales in 2017 and a recent victory at the Cannes International middle distance Triathlon.
On the road to a third straight win at Ironman Australia, Laura Siddall of Great Britain had an intense back-and forth battle with long time Ironman star - and new mother – Caroline Steffen of Switzerland.
Kelsey Withrow of the U.S. led the women with a 49:28 swim that gave her a 4 seconds lead on Steffen and, for purposes of the two-woman duel to come, a significant 6:27 lead on Siddall.
After 70 km of the bike leg, Steffen surged to a 4 minute lead on Withrow and 6:20 on Siddall. But 30 kilometers later, Siddall surged past Withrow and cut a few seconds off Steffen’s lead. By 130km, Siddall cut Steffen’s lead to 3:50. At 145km, Siddall cut Steffen’s lead to 2:45 and Steffen was shaking her head to course observers as an acknowledgement that she was struggling.
After a women’s second-best 5:06:01 bike split, Steffen surrendered her lead and hit T2 30 seconds behind Siddall, who erased her swim deficit with a women's-fastest 4:58:57 ride.
By 2.5km into the run, Siddall increased her lead to a minute. At that point, however, Steffen seemed to recover from her late bike slump and cut her deficit to 40 seconds at 3.6 kilometers. Twelve minutes later, Steffen popped back to running side-by-side with Siddall. Twenty-one minutes later, Siddall regained energy and pulled away to a 30 seconds lead at 13km.
At 16km, Siddall increased her lead to 53 seconds. But 2 kilometers later, Steffen reduced the gap to 36 seconds. One kilometer later, Siddall increased her leads to 47 seconds while Withrow held third at a 7:28 deficit.
At 33km, Steffen was struggling again and fell 3:38 back of the leader. One kilometer later, Steffen stopped the competitive bleeding and held steady at minus 3:48.
After a women’s second-fastest 3:13:09 run split, Siddall hit the finish line in 9:11:59 with a 5:30 margin of victory on Steffen (3:17:46 run) and 7:13 on 3rd place finisher Kelsey Withrow (women’s-best 3:11:08 marathon).
Port Macquairie, Australia
May 5, 2019
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Cameron Wurf (AUS) 8:06:18 S 49:10 T1 2:19 B 4:22:53 T2 1:38 R 2:50:20
2. Tim Reed (AUS) 8:09:51 S 44:54 T1 2:08 B 4:36:40 T2 1:41 R 2:44:30
3. Denis Chevrot (FRA) 8:16:06 S 44:45 T1 2:00 B 4:37:00 T2 1:28 R 2:50:55
4. Mark Bowstead (NZL) 8:29:21 S 44:48 T1 2:10 B 4:36:03 T2 1:40 R 3:04:43
5. Clayton Fettell (AUS) 8:23:53 S 44:47 T1 2:07 B 4:36:49 T2 1:26 R 3:07:47
1. Laura Siddall (GBR) 9:11:59 S 55:56 T1 2:30 B 4:58:57 T2 1:29 R 3:13:09
2. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 9:17:29 S 49:33 T1 2:23 B 5:06:01 T2 1:48 R 3:17:46
3. Kelsey Withrow (USA) 9:19:12 S 49:29 T1 2:20 B 5:13:38 T2 2:39 R 3:11:08
4. Melanie Burke (AUS) 9:26:55 S 549:40 T1 2:45 B 5:08:19 T2 1:46 R 3:14:27
5. Jessica Mitchell (AUS) 10:07:59 S 56:48 T1 3:23 B 5:32:31 T2 2:16 R 3:33:03