YOURIRONGUIDE is a huge supporter of the age grouper no matter where in the field they finish. We need to again begin by saying that every person who registers and completes an Ironman distance event deserves a medal, finisher’s towel and admiration for commitment to the training needed. This includes both professional and age group athletes. They are an inspiration.
I always like to mention the local Pro athletes who put their lives on hold to reach amazing levels of mental strength and speed in our amazing sport. Previous winner Courtney Ogden returns, new kid on the block Alistair Caird along with Derek Cross and Matt Burton. Please support all the pro athletes on the day as they need just as much as any struggling age grouper.
I also need to make mention of the legends category of Age Groupers. They are common names in the local triathlon scene (some even broader) and they richly deserve to be at the head of the athlete start list. Athletes such as John Domican, Mark Kay, David Boyes, Dougal Burton, John Hill and Mick Bray (a very local Busselton legend) – what an honour to see all the legends roll around for another Ironman and good luck to you all.
2016 has not been a happy hunting ground for YOURIRONGUIDE on the race track as I will go through the entire year without toeing the line a single time due to injury. It is a reminder of what commitment is required to push the level of long distance racing in an ageing body. Every athlete has their challenges in getting to the start line and with IMWA just around the corner, we take a look at the very top end of age groupers and how their chances look this year.
18 – 24 Male
This age group looks wide open this year. It is always hard to get a gauge on the younger athletes as many are going full distance for the first time. Athletes with pedigree include Timothy Franklyn who hasn’t raced a long distance event since 2013. At IMNZ that year, he finished second though. Solid on all 3 legs but has the time off been productive to recharge or was it a long road back?
Doug Proctor knows this course already having finished 4th in May this year at the 70.3 version. Let’s hope he has trained hard for his first tilt at the full distance.
The podium is a flip of the coin from there
18 – 24 Female
A small field of six in the youngest ladies category.
Jasmine Davie seems to have done almost everything in both 70.3 and full distance except win outright. She has finished 2nd twice in Melbourne (when it had an Asia Pacific Championship event) and that shows real quality. Here is her chance to stand on top and she seems to be the favourite with very little experience from the others. The rest of the field boasts only 2 X 70.3 races between them in total. Not a huge amount of experience at this level but that makes it exciting to see who can cope with such a large hill to climb. My pick for 2nd is Britney Fitzpatrick. Her 2014 Western Sydney 70.3 showed that if she has been dedicated over the last couple of years and she should have the improvement for full distance here.
25 - 29 Male
Samuel Beveridge returns to racing after a massive 2 years in 2013/14. That included 2 qualifying events AND 2 Kona appearances in the 18 – 24 (the second one he was on the podium there). He looks a very solid prospect but the quality may be a higher level in this AG.
It must be said Jarrad Bolton’s best results have come from the 70.3 distance with 2 appearances at the 70.3 World Champs. Is this his year to step up at a longer distance? Plenty of local racing at Mandurah and Busselton and coached by GK Endurance (Local Pro athletes Kate Bevilaqua and fiancée Guy Crawford) means he knows the conditions well.
David Bryant continues to tick boxes in the lead in to this event. His improvement stems from a strong local training group that takes few prisoners. He will be ready on race day.
Ben Castles showed some form in the last IM Melbourne to be held, finishing in a tick over 9:30 that year. He can’t be discounted.
Christian Fassler is a travelling 70.3 specialist but anyone that can go close to 4 hours flat in a European Championship over that distance has the speed to be considered. He has been training locally under pursuit coaching guru Mike Gee for a tilt at the podium this year. Has the master coach got this preparation right? We will find out race day.
Nick Harger (local Bunbury Tri Club boy) returns this year after 9:50 last year for a 5th place. He has had plenty of racing but may need to improve slightly on that result to feature prominently
Charles Legget has already competed in 3 long distance events this year including IM Australia where he finished 7th. Hot off the 70.3 World champs he should be in the mix at the finish.
Claude Morris had solid IM Melbourne and Busso 70.3 results. He is another member of the local pursuit coaching stable with local knowledge. He also must be considered for a high finish in this age group.
25 - 29 Female
Zoe ADAMS travelled to the World champs in 2014, after 2nd in Melbourne that year to qualify. She has not raced IM for last 2 years but dipped the foot in the water as preparation earlier this year with 70.3 world champs where she finished 8thoverall.
Brittany Gardner finished fourth over the line in Melbourne last year. She raced Geelong as a lead in race and finished on the podium there just prior. With less racing this year, there are no excuses for being overcooked and should feature being fresh and primed for the event.
Local girl Kate Lahart (Bunbury tri club) finished 7th here last year. She knows the course and expected weather. Improvement this year is guaranteed
Monica Liston tries her first IM distance event in Busselton but has been to 70.3 world champs so the big stage should not be too daunting for her. Look for a good result here.
Cintia TOBAR is the dark horse from overseas. She has been on or near the podium in 4 different continents including the World Champs in Hawaii and that means experience. Also known as half of the Tobar twins from Brazil that competed together in Kona although she races without the support of her sister here. Predicted to be on the podium.
Katie WINKWORTH’s best finish came at IM Australia 2 years ago. No long distance racing this year (perhaps concentrating on a single goal race).She will figure in the final places.
Local Busselton girl Jacinta Wright will step up an age group this year and will find a new level of competition but we wish her well to push towards the finish in a high placing.
30 - 34 Male
ANDERSON, Simon has been to the World Champs after a swim shortened sub 9 hour finish at Melbourne earlier that year. His swim needs improving to be in the front pack but he gets better and better every leg and will be the flying finisher.
GATZOUBAROS, Matthew podium at IM Malaysia and went on to the World champs that racing year (2016).Will he have recovered from the lava fields only 8 weeks ago for this race – it’s very hard to do especially the first attempt but youth has a way of coping..
GROCH, Nathan up an AG this year after qualifying for Kona in 25-29 (9:40 finish)
HANSEN, Lars Dyrholm is our favourite here and a possible fastest AG finisher on his day. Anyone who can go 8:40 is a definite athlete (IM Copenhagen). Lars trained here all of 2015 but we have been sad to lose him to his native Denmark recently. His biggest issue will be acclimatisation after not feeling our Australian summer recently and training in a wet/dark European city for this campaign.
HAUWERT, Levi has not started a full Ironman (as far as we can find) but has plenty of 70.3 racing experience. Only recently in October he won his Age Group. That shows recent form and speed but IM racing is not about speed - it is about slowing down the least.
HOCKLEY, Joshua second IM Aus last year with sub 9:30. He last raced the IM 70.3 world champs. Has been 4:16 PB at 70.3 distance but would need improvement to hit the podium here.
JENKINS, Nikolai gets our obsessed Ironman award for 7 races this year including IM Malaysia recently. Hard to see him being able to be sharp for this race but a strong performer none the less.
NORRIS, Tom hasn’t raced this year after 18 months off long course events. He goes up an age group but 9.07 on the Melbourne course shows real speed. A 52 minute swim will place him at the front of the main pack for the bike leg.He will be an early front runner in this AG.
RUNDLE, Matthew went 9.22 at IM Cairns in 2015 in the rain and 9.34 at Kona also. He is a definite chance for a podium here. After not finishing at IM Australia earlier in the year, he will be keen for a good showing.
WATERS, Beau fresh off his break out season following an AFL career with the West Coast Eagles. He made an appearance at the world champs following qualification in wet Cairns with a 9:41. Another year of learning the new sport which he has taken on very seriously could show improvement if he is not burnt out.
CONNOLLY, Scott top 10 IM Aus but may find the speed a little quick at this level.
One final footnote to this age group. Blake Kappler is not listed to start however rumours are around he has been preparing for the event. He went a tick over 9 hours last year after leading out of the water and if he starts, will be in contention
30 - 34 Female
HOOPER-BUE, Manue second earlier in the year in Cairns. Quality athlete who is always in the top 4 of full distance events and a consistent performer. Has to be considered here.
KOCIK, Jo has a PB of 9.55 on this very course back in 2013. She finished top 3 at IM Vichey this year in August. She will be on the podium here with her strength being the bike. The rest of the field can try and hold her wheel speed at their own peril.
HOCKLEY, Krystle has a strength in 70.3 racing with regular top 5 finishes. She is yet to get the IM distance right however and we hope this may be her opportunity.
GRAVES, Stephanie is our outside chance – a possible career best top 5
35 - 39 Male
Anyone who can run a 2.56 marathon off the bike in Kona MUST be a good chance of winning the agegroup. Jarrod Owen is that guy. He improves each leg so will be the hunter all day but cannot afford to give away too much distance in his weakest leg – the swim.
He could give more than 15 minutes to the swim leader in Gary Couanis, the local sports specialist doctor with gills. Gary trains in the pool with local swim smooth coach Paul Newsome and is a chance to be in the first handful of athletes out of the water overall. With clear roads ahead, Gary will be making every effort to stay well out in front during the bike. Gary went 9.22 here 5 years ago but has learned a lot more about racing and pacing since then.
The man to beat could well be a foreign invader – Jan Henningsen. His swim/bike combination is super quick as he could be back in T2 with only 5:30 on the clock. 2 x sub 9 hour finishes to his name (one on this very course) places him as a favourite to takeout this age group.
Emir Mujcinovic will join the hunt as well. He has been to multiple world championship events and with a couple of handy sub 9:20 times on tough courses a couple of years back, he is primed for improvement. Worth noting a 6 minute swim improvement recently (admittedly in a DNF result) which puts him amongst the leading pack.
Another local hope is James Debenham from the TEAM tri coaching stable. Master coach Xavier Coppock will have been casting a watchful eye over his West Australian product who now also coaches triathletes locally. James recently won his agegroup at Challenge Iceland and was 4th overall (including the pro’s) at the recent lead in event, the Rottnest Sufferfest. Different conditions will greet him here but with a 9.03 here a couple of years back, will be on the podium.
Another TEAM Tri athlete from the east coast however is Marcello Mazza. He has consistently hit the mid 9 hour range in long distance races over the years. Extra time under the master coach will have done him no harm and with the Orange Army in full support come race day, expect big things from Marcello.
A dark horse in this age group is untried above 70.3 distance. Luke Cameron has a 4:15 on this course at a recent half IM and a 1.24 run that day. Luke will find race day a lot longer (and tougher) but if he gets the nutrition and pacing right, could turn some heads with a top 5 finish.
Others to have claims on a high finish include Ben Richardson (9:30 on the lava fields), Adam McLaine, Brett Archbold and Hayden Smith
Plenty of depth in this year’s 35-39
35 - 39 Female
BAUMANN, Melanie is fresh from IM World Champs this year. Best of 11.14 at Lanzarote (tough course) and plenty of racing under her belt. She must be a good chance here if she has recovered from Kona.
HART, Nicole travelled to the world champs in 2012 and won this AG in Melbourne with a 9:39 finish time. What is more remarkable is that she ran a 3:01 marathon off the bike that day – whew! That is smoking!
MOLESWORTH, Lilian has podiumed twice in this AG, once in Busso and once in IM Aus . Her PB of 10.31may need a little improvement to be a real contender for the title here.
STEINBERG, Steffi competed at the world champs in both 2015 and 16. She unfortunately did not finish the bike this year on the island so would be keen for a big race. She has raced in 4 continents, under all conditions, from Switzerland to Taiwan so will have no issues with what the weather gods produce on race day.
40 - 44 Male
The depth on show in this age group is worth viewing on race day. There are SO many athletes capable of going under 10 hours but unfortunately that won’t be good enough to be at the front of this race. Sub 9:30 will be required and probably low 9 hours to feature on the podium,
BELL, Ben Former IM World AG champion in one of the hottest years (2015) in the lava fields. No prisoners that day and to come away with the win, Ben must have the target on his back all day – Will anyone be capable of catching him? See link
BRUNT, Sean 3rd in the recent IM 70.3 world champs shows Sean has speed. Does he have endurance to back it up in this company? Top 5’s in the long distance events are very strong showings but will it be enough this year to hit the podium in this group of depth.
FLANAGAN, Brendan third here 2 years ago in the same age group and a 9:15 finish. That shows his ability on this very course but good conditions greeted athletes that day. It must be said his form has not been as dominant since then but still can make an impression if he has his perfect day.
HICKMAN, Travis was fourth at IM Aus last year with almost 90 minutes of improvement over the previous 18months. This shows Travis is on the right path of improvement. Fast forward another 18 months and who knows what level this dark horse may be at? Our rough bet for a top 5 finish.
O'DOHERTY, Paul sub 9:20 on 3 occasions means one thing- Paul O’Doherty gets the job done regularly. Add trips to world championship events and he also has experience on the big stage and will figure in the top 3 placings.
40 - 44 Female
This is a very hotly contested age group with chances for many athletes to shine on race day.
BROWNING, Jodie had a podium at IM Asia Pacific Cairns and then on to the World Champs earlier this year. As with all athletes returning from the big island, her biggest challenge will be to get the preparation right for this event.
DENNIS, Belinda 4th in the 35-39 last year in her very first IM and definitely one to watch this yea for further improvement.
DODD, Vanessa anyone who has been to 4 world championship events (70.3 and full distance) can’t be discounted. Her highlight was 2nd in the AG 2 years ago at a very difficult wet muddy Cairns. Vanessa should be with the front runners deep in to the final hours.
RENSHAW, Kerri has been on the podium in full distance events 4 times. An amazing effort but it must be said she finished that run over 3 years ago and hasn’t had the same form recently. Can she recapture the form from Lanzarote and Ironman UK, we think she can and poses a big threat here.
RYAN, Krystina finished third here last year and will again be in the mix at the finish line. The IMNZ run earlier in the year will not have done any harm and may be the best preparation for a year ending event.
45 - 59 Male
Last year I was lucky enough to have a bird’s eye view of this age group. The overseas raiders arrived and filled the top 4 positions, leaving the local Aussies to lick their wounds. This year, the winner returns. SPAGNOL, Olivier ran a 3.05 marathon last year to win by a minute (second place had a 17 minute slower run time). With a PB of 9.02, he will start again as one of the favourites
The rest of the top 10 from last year all take a break. This does not however mean a lack of depth in the field, quite the opposite.
Matt Koorey won here 2 years ago with a smooth 9:14. The ex-commonwealth games triathlete has plenty of tricks and knowledge and has podiumed in just about every state of Australia. He coaches many athletes (MKC –Matt Koorey Coaching) and with the likes of Craig Alexander sharing his training camps, you know he has the knowledge to get the job done.
Sadly for the field Allan Jeffersen was not fit for IM Cairns earlier in the year. He watched the fun instead. That allowed him to bump registration to this race. He doesn’t race unless he is ready and it shows. He has been top 10 in the world twice on the biggest stage. He won IM Cairns 2 years ago by 6 minutes……after taking an 8 minute T2 break. He will be on the podium here but which step?
Gary Kelly competed at the World champs last October. He is up an AG this year, and hopefully he won’t think it gets easier now. He may need to be faster than last years’ time of 9.33 to be considered. Difficult after racing recently.
Local boy MIDDLETON, Vince will be in the mix, especially if he can recapture his IMWA form of 2013 where he went 9:20. He has plenty of experience dating back in the long course events to 2011. A dark horse in this field
MORRIS, Jason has come up this year to a higher age group but travel seems to be his enemy. His excellent form tends to be at home in his native New Zealand. If he can capture that form abroad, he could be in the mix at the end of the race.
45 - 49 Female
Every year I cast my eye in to this AG looking for one name – Michelle Boyes. She has won here 4 times AND finished third overall at the Ironman World Champs a couple of years ago. The Boyes partnership (husband David) is legendary in this part of the world and if she is race ready, will be hard to beat.
MCLAUGHLAN, Joanne won this age group 3 years ago and has continued to post impressive results. Podiums in 3 of her last 4 races shows she is consistent as a competitor and will be a factor come race day.
TOWLER, Mandy finished second here last year and was in the mix off the bike but couldn’t hold the eventual winner’s (Michelle Boyes) run speed. If she can hold form on the run, she will be on a podium if not better.
ZAMMIT, Tracey is the dark horse here. She had a breakout race in Melbourne a few years back and that speed would be enough to make the podium easily here. She went on to compete at the World Champs that year. She also won IM Australia earlier this year. Keep your eyes out for this quick starter.
50 - 54 Male
DELANEY, John finished 4th here last year after giving the field a big head start out of the water. If John can limit the damage this year, he will be likely be on the podium. 3 visits to the 70.3 world champs indicates a liking for the shorter version but he is still very competitive over the IM distance.
DOMKE, Joerg finished third at IM Lanzarote in 2014. That course and his finish time show he is a quality athlete. Don’t take him lightly as a 3:17 run that day will have him catching the field at the business end. The swim leg is his Achilles heel.
HALL, Rodney is another athlete staking a claim to a podium here. A solid finish at the gruelling 2015 version of Hawaii shows an inner strength needed to be competitive. A podium in Melbourne the year before and Rodney has his hand up to be a contender.
HOGBEN, Michael was 4th here 2 years ago in the same age group and second the year before that. With local knowledge on his side, Michael will be a top 5 finisher this year.
SLADDEN, Mark finished 5th here last year but has stood on top of the podium before in Brazil. Solid is all 3 disciplines, he will be in the mix.
50 - 54 Female
Fiona Longdon has had some solid results without hitting the podium…..yet. Could this be her year on a home course. She has been training recently with local coach Deb Kempe to gain improvement. Let’s hope we see the results!
LYNCH, Claire has walked on to the top steps at an IM race with a 3rd in Cairns a year ago. Wet conditions that year and very tough mentally. Claire will be hoping for a similar result here.
TREMAYNE, Margaret finished 4th here last year and has raced a lot (8 times in the last couple of years including 5 full Iron distance events). She will be race hardened but hopefully not overcooked to make up the placings.
55 - 59 Male
55 - 59 Female
WARD, June is the lady to beat here. She is the current world champion at 70.3 distance and has been the Ironman World Champ as well (in 2012). No introductions needed here, if she is race fit, she is your winner – a triathlon legend and amazing athlete.
FRASER, Kim was our Asia pacific champion in Melbourne a couple of years back with a 12 hour flat time. Any form like that on race day will get the job done for her top 3 placing.
LEE, Annette finished 3rd on the rainy Cairns course in 2015.That was a tough day (I can report first hand) and it shows great character from this kiwi who could go better and better in poor conditions come race day.I predict a podium finish here.
MIYA, Yuko has won events before on different continents (Taiwan, Japan and podiums in Frankfurt and Cairns) but has not captured that form in recent years. Unless she has improved recently, she may fall outside the top 3
ABRAMS, Melanie has been 2nd here in 2014. Her recent form in Lanzarote however was not at the same level. It could have been a slight bump in form and perhaps this race is the opportunity to shine again on the big stage.
WOOD, Barb rounds out our predictions. She was good enough for 2nd in Texas back in 2012 (and I thought there were only 2 Aussies there that year, me being one of them). It was a very hot day back then and perhaps Barb is hoping for similar conditions to have an advantage over her competitors.
60 - 64 Male
FUNK, George finished 2nd here last year with a very smart sub 11:30 finish time. That was a break out result and it is always hard to backup consistently. We will see if George is as competitive the second time around.
HANLEY, Philip hasn’t missed a podium too many times over the last 6 years. The one exception was the IM World champs where he finished 6th – in the world. He will be at the finish line very early in this group and our selection.
HEMPEL, Stephen finished third here last year and is not without his chance to emulate that again. Any time around the 11:30 mark is very competitive here.
MCMANUS, Stephen finished 3rd at IM Aus a year ago but may be just off the pace hereamongst a quality field.
MOSSENSON, Ian has had many podiums including on this course in 2014 but never quite made it on to the top step. Will this be his year?
VALENA, Tomas is a name I have written in to predictions a few times. 6 individual wins since 2013 in races all over the country in many different conditions. 17th in the world this year in Kona and his only problem will be backing up after a tough October (and plenty of wet winter training). Cream comes to the top however and he will be in the top 3
WARE, Steve can’t be discounted in this quality field either. He won the 70.3 on the same track this year and was fourth in the world over the same distance in September. 10 hours flat a few years ago here is super quick .If he can replicate that, he will be on the podium.
YAMACHIYO, Akira finished 4th 2 years ago and will keep the rest of the age group honest all day.
60 - 64 Female
The overseas raiders have arrived!
Few athletes from the USA travel this far without a reason. BOLIN, Loree was 10th in the world last year. She was 1st at IM Fortaleza the same year and will have a plan for this race without doubt.
GBR athlete GREENOUGH, Glynis is a winner at 4 IM events in the last 3 years including Lanzarote. High class athlete ready to pounce here.If travel has been kind, she will be hard to beat.
TULLOH, Catherine won IM Cairns this year back in June and is our reigning Asia Pacific Champ. It rained all day that day in Cairns (as it has done the previous 2 years) but she was good enough to take the win and one of two capable of stopping the title heading overseas this year.
WILLIAMS, Pamela is the other local from Esperance that will have a say in the final placings. Her win in South Africa this year shows good form running in to this event.
65 - 69 Male
GREENOUGH, Keith winner in Brazil, and Lanzarote, and 4th here last year. Must be a consideration for a win
PATTERSON, Mark not finished below 5th in a race recently. Great consistency is hard to find and Mark has it.
SCHLIEBS, Ray 5 podiums but no #1 finishes in the last couple of years. IM Australia and IMWA experience, this is Ray’s year for a win in this age group
TOZER, Darryl is our outside tip for a podium
65 – 69 Female
NIELSEN, Miriam one of the legends listed is a big favourite here. Her background in grinding out finish after finish will mean she dominates this age group.
70 - 74 Male
WESTE, Griffiths world champion in 2015, if Griff finishes – he will win here, simple.
NOBUKA, Koji second here last year in a lower age group. Koji will be trying to take it up to the favourite all day.
75 - 79 Male
WEBER, John is the oldest competitor here this year and the current champion. Local Busselton legend, John will finish and take the first place ribbon.