Ironman 70.3: Byron Bay’s Tim Reed claims world championship in Mooloolaba

Tim Reed

The Ironman 70.3 World Championship took over Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast on Sunday morning, with 3,000 athletes from 83 countries participating in the 2.9-kilometres swim, 90-kilometre ride, and 21.1-kilometre run.

In the men’s competition, Australian Josh Amberger broke away from the lead pack during the swim and held that lead in the cycling leg until he eventually was overtaken.

Germany’s Sebastian Kienle, one of the favourites heading into the race, made up for lost time in the water with a strong cycling leg.

Reed shared the lead with Kienle during the run leg, but it looked like Kienle would take the win after numerous attempts to surge ahead.

The pair were never separated by more than 20 metres during the run.

At the top of the final hill at Alexandra Headland, Reed made his move and kept a relentless Kienle at bay to win the World Championship in 3:44.14, just a whisker ahead of Kienle’s 3:44.16.

“Sebastian broke from me a few times out there, but I just kept clawing my way back in,” Reed said.

“I’m still short of a few words, someone like Sebi is someone I’ve looked up to for many years.”

“Just to be even running alongside him I’m like, ‘how cool is this?'”

“To finally win a world title and achieve a real dream is just unbelievable, I really am short of words.”

Kienle said the World Championship was the biggest stage he ever raced on and that he was disappointed.

Asked if he thought he had the race after getting a 20-metre lead, Kienle said: “To be honest I thought yes, and that’s probably why I lost the race.”

“Tim is like the big red kangaroo, and with his tactics, he gave me this little bit of confidence and when it mattered the most he was there. That was my mistake in this race.”

Sunshine Coast woman places second by just two minutes

For the women, USA’s Lauren Brandon took the lead out of the swimming leg, with the next pack moments behind her.

Her time in first place did not last long, as the United Kingdom’s Holly Lawrence soon made her way to the front of the elite women during the cycle leg, and stretched her lead to a point where it seemed highly unlikely that she would lose.

Lawrence started the run leg with a five-minute lead on the next competitor.

Australian and Sunshine Coast local Melissa Hauschildt was sixth off the bike, but incredibly managed to work her way up into second place, only losing by two minutes.

The fact that Hauschildt was lingering so close to the front pack on the bike, was a good sign for a strong finish, as she is a dangerous runner.

Crowds at Mooloolaba to watch Ironman 70.3PHOTO: Thousands turned out to watch the competition. (ABC News: Daniel Prosser)

Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf was expected to win the women’s world championship for the third straight year, but could not find the speed in her legs.

She had done back-to-back Ironman races earlier in the year, which could have softened her up for this race.

Lawrence said she was lost for words.

“It’s not a nice position being ahead in the run, and watching the splits get closer and closer to you.”

Despite leading most of the race, she did not feel like she had won.

“It was only going into the finish chute when I really believed it.

“I’m a freaking world champion!”

Participants in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship