THUMBS UP: David Stielow makes his way through the 70.3 course in Cairns on Sunday.
THUMBS UP: David Stielow makes his way through the 70.3 course in Cairns on Sunday.

Ironman Gartrell steps up in Cairns

TRIATHLON: Stepping up in any sport brings its own challenges, but a more impressive leap in class would be hard to find following Martin Gartrell's opening foray into Ironman racing.

The local athlete produced a stunning 4.30 hours effort in his debut at the 70.3 Half Ironman in Cairns on the weekend.

Completing his transformation from couch potato to conqueror, Gartrell finished 32nd overall in the 1500 field and eighth in the 30-34 year category.

Gartrell will now look to recover over the comings weeks before turning his attention to the upcoming local season, held over the much shorter sprint and Olympic distances.

The Whitsunday Triathlon Club had an excellent representation with 16 athletes in attendance on Sunday, including a number of rookies taking on the 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21km run.

Overwhelmingly, the club had a great day out, with some personal bests, boxes ticked and several sore bodies.

The standout debuts included Adrian Roberts, who was not only doing his maiden 70.3 but his very first triathlon - a tough test as a first event.

Darren Wadsworth embraced his inner triathlete, tackling his fear of the swim and emerging in a solid 42 minutes.

Bernard Laverty had the opposite problem, smashing his preferred swim then having to tough it out on the gruelling ride-run.

He finished inside the magical six hour mark while the evergreen Graham Lockett sizzled to a 5.18 and was eligible to take a world championship age-group slot.

He declined in order to concentrate on the domestic season at hand, including the upcoming Townsville Triathlon Festival in two weeks.

Experienced campaigner Steve Jackson is normally fleet-of-foot but on this occasion the run proved his Achilles heel, with illness affecting both his and fellow Hamilton Islander Kyle Pevitt-Scott's performance.

There were PBs aplenty, with weeks of training for David Stielow, Sarah Osborne and Joan Hunter rewarded - the trio shaved a collective hour from their previous marks.

Also enjoying strong debuts were Paul Fraser, Travis Clarke and Kaira Biss.

Clarke was ecstatic with his 5.20 given a recent shoulder reconstruction while Fraser and Kaira completed their leap of faiths admirably.


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