YOURIRONGUIDE is a huge supporter of the Age Group triathlete. All who finish an Ironman deserve the medal and also our admiration. Again this year, we have looked through the start list to select, with the help of Xavier Coppock (TEAM Tri), the best of the best AG athletes we believe will figure prominently at the finish line for Ironman Western Australia 2015 as a form guide.
What an Age Group line up! We may have a triathlon gold medallist who also won outright an Ironman in Austria (to be confirmed), a 3 times ITU open world champion (also to be confirmed), a current IM age group world champion, 2 ex-AFL players attempting to make the distance and a well-known Australian actor who has made it to the World championships before. A great line up for a great event.
18 – 24 Did finishing IMWA scare the youngest male age group from last year? The special mention here goes to Dallon Hay who is the only one from this age group to enter again this year. It shows how brutal Ironman can be and how hard it is to repeat year after year. Joel Macallister showed some early form to go top 5 at Busso 70.3 but Sam Dwyer will be the one to beat. He finished IM Melbourne 2014 with an 8:55 and won that event back to back (the first year winning his age group by 17 minutes). He also made the top 6 in Kona back in 2013 – quality of the field.
25 – 29 Daniel Macpherson started his Ironman journey back in 2008 at IMNZ. Many will know him from TV shows “Neighbours” and “Dancing with the stars” but he is a true competitor. He will be towards the very front of this Age Group. A recent fan of Daniel let us know that he would be in the next age group up this year and so this also may be a story of the same name for two different people. Sorry girls - GMac may not be in the house after all.
Margaret River local Jarrad Bolton qualified for the World 70.3 champs in Austria this year but may find the longer distance more of a challenge.
Special Mention to Beau Waters (ex-West Coast Eagles AFL player). He ran 1:28 off the bike in Rockingham for 5th in the lead up event and could surprise many in his first ever IM. News in that his biggest challenge is staying calm and not firing off all of the bullets early on the bike. With local pro Katy Duffield (Duffield Ironman Twins) as a coach, he will be well prepared for the event.
30 – 34 The top 7 from last year all take a break. Barry Oelofsen will tackle his very first IMWA. That does not mean the Exceed triathlon club pin up boy is underprepared however following a quick turnaround from Kona this year. Coached by Brett “doc” Sutton, Barry is all class with an 8:58 IM Melbourne this year to qualify for the World Champs. Hopefully he will be enthusiastically cheered on by the current open WA triathlete of the year watching her second ever Ironman. Chris Rancie will mount a challenge. His 9:02 IM Melbourne 2015 is a high benchmark. The third man to watch for is Brad Wall. He went 8:51 last year on this very course and was one of the first AG on to the run. He ages up this year but should find no issue with that as he has trained under the watchful eye of local pro Courtney Ogden (Ogsquad). He is our pick for the win. Nathan Doig deserves a mention as well. The AFL boundary umpire and “The Running Centre” local can really run – he will be the fast finisher shown by a 1:18 half marathon to finish IM Mandurah earlier this year.
35 – 39 This has to be one of the highest calibre 35-39 age group fields ever assembled in Australia if they all start. Trent Chapman was 3rd overall at IM Oz a couple of years back and comes from the Chapman stable of elite triathletes. He is rumoured NOT to be racing but only the start line will confirm. Rob Johnston finished 11th overall at IM Oz back in 2011. Peter Robertson is another athlete listed to start. We believe there are two Peter Robertsons that would both be in this age group and both from Australia. One is a 3 time ITU world champion and has been flying around as a pro at IM events recently. He finished 3rd outright behind Cam Brown and Tim Van Berkel in Cairns the year it rained in 2014 and ran with the leaders for the first 15km. The second is entered to start IMWA (but you never know which one?). Jason Shields , an ETPA athlete, was IM Cairns champion and adds to the quality , The list does not stop there however. Simon Johnson has plenty of Kona background and is just plain consistent. Brad Jones and Kevin Coyle both believe their training programs and numbers have been spot on so no excuses from them that the form is not 100%. Travis Atkins also must be mentioned here, he went 9:01 last year and Travis Gray (Elitesportz) has been in good form with a 45minute PB at Mandurah 70.3 recently but would need to have the race of his life to step on the podium. The fastest age grouper on the day will come from this field and they will push many pros – game on.
40 – 44 Mike Musk (pursuit coaching) looks a very strong contender. His first place at Mandurah 70.3 in the lead up (4:15) would give him confidence. A 9:09 in Melbourne shows he can run out a full Ironman. Rob Wormald (Ogdogs) has also tasted Hawaiian air on more than one occasion and is a very well drilled athlete who will be there at the finish. His form in the water during recent open water swim sets looks like all boxes have been ticked and a recent finish of 3rd overall at the Rottnest Long Course has to show good signs. Special mention to Dean Hodge (training locally with Elitesportz). His progress on the swim and run over the last few months adds to his strength on the bike (a BMC tmo2 we think) and he currently looks very fit according to sources at Vault Cycle Services. Late note, Dean has had some back issues recently and may struggle to be at his best. That's Ironman unfortunately. Best wishes to you Dean.
45 – 49 Local legend, Mathew Jennings (coincidentally also riding a BMC), hits this age group for the very first time. He has been to Hawaii every second year for as long as we can remember and takes racing seriously. He was in Hawaii this year just to check out the conditions from the sidelines. He will go head to head with Matt Koorey - the ex-Commonwealth games triathlon representative we successfully predicted last year who returns to defend his title. Reports indicate he has struggled with a knee injury recently following his demolition of Port Mac 70.3. That day, he won by 14 minutes (yes, a 70.3 race won by 14 minutes). If he starts, he will be a major contender. Arnaud Selukov finished 3rd last year after being within a whisker of leading in to T2. He cannot be discounted either. Jason Lord adds to the mix with a sub-9:30 to his name and rounding out the likely candidates is Vince Zofrea who went to the big island in 2012
50 – 54 Last year’s champ David Boyes (half of our local Ironman royal couple) is not listed to start along with all of the top 10 from last year who go missing. Wayne Crook finished 11th last year but would need to improve to get to the pointy end. Daryl Harris finished 4th at Busso 70.3 and 2nd at Mandurah 70.3 This shows speed but will it mean stamina? David Cane was 3rd at IM 70.3 Busso and also in good form. Mark Sladden is the dark horse. He won an AG category in Brazil over the full distance and has proved very capable.
#Special mention for John Cooke. He is the quintessential Ironman who just keeps finishing race after race. This year, we believe he will get the golden legacy ticket to go to the dream land of Hawaii. No one is more worthy.
55 – 59 Doug Robertson from Pursuit coaching – has great strength on the run and that can be the most important leg in an IM. He has worked hard to improve the bike this season in preparation for this event and should be the big improver. Another Ex-Eagles footballer, John Annear, has also shown a liking to Ironman racing qualifying for Kona in 2012. No questioning his fuel tank over this distance. Others in with a chance are Jeff Blackwell (Kona 2011), David Braus who finished a 1998 Kona (yep that’s 17 years ago) and won IM France 4 years ago. Obviously he has the pedigree. Rusty Cook – 5th IM Cairns with 9:56 is a solid contender as well. John Hill however is the man to beat if he starts. He has had heart surgery from local reports so may be a question mark. How many times can one person complete the Hawaii Ironman? Ask John and he will tell you 21 times!
60 – 64 Last year’s winner Thomas Valena is back again. In the recent lead up race in Mandurah (the 70.3) Ian Mossenson finished 1st and Steven Bertling 2nd. Good form but will it extend in to the longer distance – we think so and they will be near the podium. The final mention is TEAM Tri Coaching athlete Stephen Hempel who has been in great shape recently.
65 – 69 Masaaki Horino finished top 10 in the world this year and is the quality of the field. He should register a win if he has a trouble free event (which never happens). Michael Besser and Theophile Resutek will improve from top 5 positions last year to fill the podium.
70 – 74 Not often do we see a current world champion at the start line. Griff Weste took on the best of the world and won in Kona this year in just over 13 hours!!! His run split was 25 minutes faster than the elite field that day. He has to be the favourite here. Geoff Thorsen in the reigning IMWA champ and will be in the mix. Dieter Reithmeier goes up an age group and will make the podium after 3rd last year.
75 – 79 John Webber 2nd in AG last year finishing 16:29 and should win this year. He went to Hawaii and competed in the 75 – 79 AG (11 competitors). Only 3 finished. Can he record the finish and win here? We think so!
80+ Yataka Kojima finished last year in a time of 16 hours to win the 75-79. He went on to compete in Hawaii in the 80+ category (there were 3 in this AG). He failed to finish in brutal conditions as an 80 year old. Can he do it here in Busselton? We will be at the finish line to see it if he does! – What an inspiration.
W18 – 24 Kate Vernon (Pursuit coaching – Mike Gee) will compete in her first Ironman but latest info has her a strong contender. Her training has gone well and with some self-belief, she will be a contender. The open win at the Rottnest Long Course event recently also shows good form. Jacinta Wright is the only person to go back to back at this event in this age group. She finished 5th last year and our tip is she will be on the podium now she has tasted the distance.
25 – 29 Lisa Luckin is listed as a starter but rumours are she has withdrawn due to injury. Lisa would have been one of the favourites. That doesn’t mean there is no other quality here though. Kate Lahart (Irish) finished Kona back in 2012 and if the heat does not get her, will be a realistic chance. Emily Loughnan is a dark horse. She finished 6th overall at Busso 70.3 (first in AG) beating a number of pro girls this year. Will this translate into Ironman distance speed though? We think so. Chantelle Oliver finished 3rd in the 18-24 last year and steps up an age group. Libby Storm (another local pursuit coaching athlete) was 2nd AG state champ but is known more as a short distance specialist. She has speed but endurance is the question mark. Clondagh Glynn (also pursuit coaching) was 2nd last year in her first ever IM and won her age group at the local Rottnest Island long course event. Local information tells us she has improved all legs this year for a higher placed finish. Holly Ransom is the final hot tip to make the top 3. A great field to watch in this age group with plenty of chances.
30 – 34 Nera Jareb was the fastest Age grouper in 2012. Now that’s smoking and quality you can’t ignore. Rosie Oldham’s 9:32 finish to be 9th pro at IM Melbourne in 2014 give her good credentials for the win. She is coming off a serious bike accident but still looks in great shape. Lauren McGregor is our final tip to make up the podium. She trains locally with Elitesportz and has had a good build from recent reports and would love another ticket to Kona.
35 – 39 Lee Anne Flugel spent most of last year out injured. A strong bike/run will put her amongst the front runners at the finish. Andrea Hopkins looks the one to beat however. Rumours from a close source are that she has been smashing training lately and if the day goes to plan, she will stand on top of the podium. She is another TEAM Tri Coaching athlete and if her coach Xavier has it right, she will be hard to beat.
40 – 44 Exceed triathlon club’s Janine Willis has plenty of Kona experience. She is our pick to win this age group. Kim Dorling (5th last year) and Michelle Gemmel (who has raced plenty of times and has many top 5 results) are the picks to make up the first 3.
45 – 49 We will apologise in advance here as it is highly unlikely but Kate Allen is listed to race in this age group. We do not have all of the background to each athlete but if it is “the” KateAllen (who turns 45 this year) then she won Olympic gold at Athens in 2004. Born in Australia and married to an Austrian, she became the first Austrian summer Olympic gold medallist in decades. She was also first overall at IM Austria 2003 in 8:54:01. We wish Kate all the best (which ever Kate Allen it is). Michelle Boyes moves up an AG this year. She finished 3rd at the world champs in October and is the standout.
Special mention to Carrie Crane who also epitomises the Ironman tradition and rumours are that she will qualify for a legacy slot this year – good luck Carrie.
50 – 54 Helen Vagnoni has been smiling her way through training as per usual. She has been twice to Kona and a great chance here to notch a win. Margaret Tremayne (5th. last year) will look to improve and Karen Taverner (2nd in a Cairns 70.3 earlier as a warm up) will hope to take race pace in to this event and complete the podium.
Special mention to Anna Woodhouse who continues to work hard for a finish to this event every year. She has a strong determination which captures the Ironman spirit.
55 – 59 Karen Scott has run plenty of marathons and finished plenty of Ironmans. She is well travelled and a good competitor. Jillian Burns listed as GBR but has raced as UAE competitor and won her age group over 70.3 distance ids the other contender in this AG..
60 – 64 Hisako Yagi will look to improve from a solid 3rd last year to a win in AG this year. Mirium Nielson will also improve for second place.
65 – 69 The oldest female competitor this year is Ann Grundy. Crossing the finish line will give her the win and everyone’s admiration.