Michelle Dillon, who overcame a double fusion of her spine that ended her stellar pro career in 2008, won the women’s 45-49 age group and took top overall honors at the 2018 ITU Age Group sprint distance World Championship event on Australia’s Gold Coast Thursday.
Luke Harvey of Australia led a 1-2-3-4-5 sweep of the Overall results by 16-19 age group competitors in the ITU Age Group Sprint Distance World Championship.
U.S. competitors Todd Buckingham (M25-29), Kirsten Sass (W35-39), Lauren Jensen McGinniss (W50-54), Missy LeStrange (W65-69), Jon Adamson (M80-84) and Wayne Fong (M85-89) won gold medals in their age group category on the 750 meter swim, 20 kilometer bike leg and 5 kilometer run course.
Dillon combined a 45-49 women’s-best 10:06 swim, second-best 32:03 bike split and by-far 45-49 women’s best 18:00 5 kilometer ruin to finish in 1:04:01 to win the 45-49 category by 1:14 over 45-49 runner-up Samantha Bradley of New Zealand and 36 seconds over 16-19 winner and second women's overall finisher Chloe McLennan of Australia.
Dillon, now a renowned coach, whose professional résumé included wins at the 1999 Noosa World Cup, the 2004 Salford World Cup, the 2005 ITU Duathlon World Championship and 6th at the 2004 Olympics, was over the moon with her hard won physical recovery and return to international triumph albeit in the amateur ranks.
“It’s been a while since I’ve had this on top of the world feeling, to win my AG today meant a hell of a lot to me with such a tough journey to get back to racing again,” she posted on Facebook. “ I was surprised to lead the swim out (never happened before!) even more surprised to clock the fastest female time out of all Age Groups (gobsmacked). I will cherish this moment as you never know if this will happen again. So incredibly happy.”
In an unexpected sweep of the men’s overall finishers, youth swamped the wisdom of the older, presumably craftier contestants. Men’s 16-19 competitors to 1st through 5th overall. Luke Harvey of Australia took top honors in 57:05, followed by Lachlan Haycock of New Zealand (57:39), Josiah Ney of New Zealand (57:48), Adam Martin of New Zealand (58:02) and Troy Whittington of Australia (58:08).
The nearest older competitor was 25-29 winner Todd Buckingham of the U.S., whose 59:03 finish placed him 7th overall and 1:58 behind overall champion Harvey.
With his 25-29 win, Buckingham earned his first world title. He won bronze in the men’s Olympic distance ITU World Championship in 2016.
“On the bike, it was four Aussies and me,” he told USA Triathlon media. “We were all working really well together. We’ve got our USA teammates out here, [and] the camaraderie between us was cool.”
Kirsten Sass’s 35-39 age group win was her 10th ITU age group world title in triathlon and duathlon. “There is just nothing like toeing the line with the best in the world and representing the USA,” Sass said. “While I’m out there racing, it’s an incredible atmosphere. A true celebration of the sport.”
Lauren Jensen McGinnis, an elite competitor in the early 2000s, overcame a torn meniscus and an avulsion fracture earlier this season to take her first amateur world title. “I’m so happy I could cry,” she told USA Triathlon media. “I think I won on emotion. It meant a lot to hold up the U.S. flag. I’ve been doing this [sport] since 1985, and normal people would’ve gotten a new hobby by now!”
Jon Adamson won the men’s 80-84 age group in 1:42:11. This was his second ITU age group World Championship, as he won the 80-84 Olympic distance ITU World title last year in Rotterdam. “I’ve been doing this for 36 years,” he told USA Triathlon media. “I’ve done every distance there is, every race there is. I guess it’s in the blood.”
ITU Sprint Distance Age Group World Championship
Gold Coast, Australia
August 13, 2018
S 750 m / B 20k / R 5k
Top 5 Overall
1. Michelle Dillon (GBR) 1:04:01 * W45-49
2. Chloe McLennan (AUS) 1:04:37 * W16-19
3. Elle Hoitink (AUS) 1:05:11 * W16-19
4. Samantha Bradley (NZL) 1:05:15 * W45-49
5. Claire Dedden (AUS) 1:05:22 * W20-24
Chloe Mclennan (AUS) 1:04:37
Clair Dedden (AUS) 1:05:22
Rhiannon Roberts (AUS) 1:06:22
Kate Bramley (AUS) 1:05:32
Kirsten Sass (USA) 1:05:59
Kym Coogan (AUS) 1:06:12
Michelle Dillon (GBR) 1:04:01
Lauren Jensen McGinnis (USA) 1:10:19
Sally Musgrove (AUS) 1:10:44
Penny Rother (GBR) 1:13:36
Missy LeStrange (USA) 1:18:15
Jane Mountford (AUS) 1:24:17
1. Peggy Crome (GBR) 1:41:22
2. Sibyl Jacobson (USA) 1:44:18
1. Mary Anstey (GBR) 1:58:13
2. Sheila Isaacs (USA) 2:08:34
Top 5 Overall
1. Luke Harvey (AUS) 57:05 * 16-19
2, Lachlan Haycock (NZL) 57:39 * 16-19
3. Josiah Nay (NZL) 57:48 * 16-19
4. Adam Martin (NZL) 58:02 * 16-19
5. Troy Whittington (AUS) * 58:08
Luke Harvey (AUS) 57:05
James Hodgson (GBR) 59:11
Todd Buckingham (USA) 59:03
Edward Castro (GBR) 59:14
James Wilson (GBR) 59:50
Joshua Goldstat (AUS) 1:00:15
Frederic Tate (TAH) 1:00:45
1. Jeremy Critchett (AUS) 1:01:53
3. Barry Phelps (USA) 1:03:24
Danilo Palmucci (ITA) 1:02:14
Neal Pugh (AUS) 1:07:21
1. Greg Bush (AUS) 1:10:03
2. Philip Friedman (USA) 1:10:59
3. Rick Kozlowski (USA) 1:11:24
Robert Eadie (AUS) 1:`15:31
Raymond Hunt (AUS) 1:25:36
1. Jon Adamson (USA) 1:42:11
2. Jack Weber (USA) 1:49:13
1. Wayne Fong (USA) 2:22:38
2. Winston Allen (USA) 2:32:26