Ashleigh Gentle came from 1:30 back after the swim, arrived at T2 in close company of Hannah de Vet and Richelle Hill, and took command of the race quickly on the run, building a 1:30 lead by the 5k mark. Gentle finished in her best Noosa time ever – 1:55:14 – with a 1:35 lead over Sofie Malowiecki and 2 minutes over third place Richelle Hill. Gentle earned $15,600 Australian dollars for her decade-long domination of the 40th annual classic Noosa Elite race. The only Noosa prize beyond her grasp was Emma Carney’s 1997 course record of 1:54:22.
The men’s race offered a much closer contest and a course record. Like Gentle, pre-race favorite Hayden Wilde of New Zealand left the swim 42 seconds down. Wilde entered the bike-to-run transition with a small gap on home town favorite Matt Hauser. Wilde gradually built a 15 seconds lead halfway through the run, then held off the Aussie star to finish with a 13 seconds margin over Hauser and 2:24 over third place Henri Schoeman of South Africa.
Wilde finished in 1:41:56, 1:12 faster than the 2022 record setter Charlie Quin.
Noosa, has staked a claim as the world’s largest Olympic distance race fiesta with 7,500 pros and age groupers contending on Sunday and 6,000 more on various events from Wednesday - Saturday. Previous winners include World Champion Miles Stewart and Olympic champion Emma Snowsill as well as the Queen of Noosa herself – Ashleigh Gentle – who admitted to a case of nerves as the overwhelming favorite for this year’s crown.
Women’s Race Recap
Australian Mikayla Messer was the surprise leader by 1:00 over Lotte Wilms of Netherlands and 1:15 over Naralie Van Coevorden of Australia. One minute and 30 seconds back were Gentle, Fenella Langridge of Great Britain, and short course athletes Hanna de Vet of Belgium and Jaz Hedgeland of Australia, Sadly, Messer soon suffered a puncture and fell out of the chase. Thereupon, five triathletes formed a front pack including Gentle, Langridge, de Vet, Wilms, and Richelle Hill. Unfortunately Van Coevorden suffered a puncture and f ell out just before T2.
Gentle led into T2, chased by Wilms, de Vet, Richelle Hill and Sophie Malowiecki. Beginning a long slide out of the front back, Langridge eventually fell from 6th to 9th.
Storming out of T2, Gentle put her foot on the gas and erased all doubt – leading Malowiecki by 1:35 at the finish and 2 minutes ahead of Richelle Hill in third.
Men’s Race Recap
Australian Matt Hauser led the swim, with South Africans Jamie Riddle and Henri Schoeman quick on his heels, with Brandon Copeland was next in fourth. Normally a quick swimmer, Hayden Wilde had an off day in the water 42 seconds behind Hauser and equal to last year’s Noosa winner Charlie Quin and Aussie Jake Birtwhistle.
Wilde soon caught up to Hauser, Riddle, Schoeman and Copeland. When he took over the lead, Wilde found reason to complain to a referee that Hauser was riding closer than the allowed 12 meters draft zone. Reaching the 35th kilometer mark, Wilde finally managed to put some ground between him and the chase pack. Upon arriving at T2, Wilde had a small lead on Hauser and a minor gap ahead of Schoeman.
One quarter of the way through the 10k run, Wilde carved out a six seconds lead on Hauser and more than a minute ahead of Schoeman. In 4th and 5th, former Noosa Champion Jake Birtwhistle and fellow Aussie Kurt McDonald lagged 3 minutes aft. By 5k, Wilde expanded his lead to 15 seconds over Hauser while Schoeman, Birtwhistle and McDonald held their places.
The Kiwi closed hard, breaking the previous record with a 1:41:56 performance with Hauser 13 seconds back in second place and Schoeman 2:24 in arrears in 3rd.
40th Noosa Triathlon
Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia
November 4, 2023
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Ashleigh Gentle AUS 1:55:14
2. Sofie Malowiecki AUS 1:56:49
3. Richelle Hill AUS 1:57:14
1. Hayden Wilde NZL 1:41:56 - New Course Record
2. Matt Hauser AUS 1:42:09
3. Henri Schoeman RSA 1:44:20