Coral Coast is a very unique event and is actually Australia’s longest running triathlon beating the Noosa Triathlon by a few months. The race always attracts a lot of the Cairns Ironman and Cairns Ironman 70.3 pro athletes, as these races are both held the week later. This means that Coral Coast 5150 is hotly contested and although used as a lead up race for the pro’s is still very competitive.
After finishing 5th at last years race I was motivated to improve and at minimum get myself onto the podium in 2014. Race morning I made the 1 hour drive from my homestay in Cairns to Coral Coast. I was feeling good and ready to race hard knowing that I had experienced what this course had to offer 12 months ago at the 2013 edition of the race.
The swim was a straight shot out, across and back in along the beach. I started quickly and sprinted into the water to ensure that I hit the first turning buoy right up the front of the pack. The swim leg was very rough with the waves and I found myself drifting from equal 2nd at 100 meters in to 4th position after 1400 meters of the swim leg. Honestly I didn’t find my rhythm during the swim leg and felt very sluggish. I excited the water just off the lead 3 athletes and hit T1 with a small group on my tail.
Onto the bike Clayton Fettell (last years winner) hit the gas and established a 1 man lead on Tom Davison and Brad Kahlefeldt with myself in a small group just behind. I saw the danger of leaving Tom and Brad riding hard together and tried everything I could to limit the loss of time spending a good 80% of the next 40km’s leading my group over the course. Going onto the 2nd lap I spotted Brad on the side of the road with a flat front tire, which meant just Clayton and Tom remained in front of me.
Hitting T2 I felt good about my chances for a podium spot and hit the gas pretty early on in an attempt to catch both Tom and Clayton. The entire run is along the sandy beach of Coral Coast so it is always going to be a real battle. This year the wind played a big factor providing a very tough out and back, 4 loop course.
I managed to reel Tom in faster than I though catching and going past him early on during the 2nd of 4 run laps. Clayton looked to be hurting and so I keep pushing hoping to close the gap but in the end I ran out of runway despite having the fastest run split of the day.
1st Clayton Fettell 01:48:11 00:19:32 00:00:59 00:51:18 00:36:20
2nd Sam Betten 01:49:24 00:19:45 00:01:05 00:53:36 00:34:57
3rd Nuru Somi 01:50:55 00:19:45 00:01:00 00:53:40 00:36:29
4th Tom Davison 01:51:34 00:19:46 00:01:01 00:52:14 00:38:32
5th Bryce Mcmaster 01:54:08 00:19:35 00:01:13 00:56:42 00:36:37
All images by Lucas Wroe and not to be copied without permission