News 11/26/2017

Michael Raelert: Strong Australians take it in Western Sydney

Thrilling race at the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship – 8th place in an extremely tough competition – Battle on the bike costs too much energy.

Western Sydney. Michael Raelert finished as the best Non-Australian at the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in eighth place. "Unfortunately, I couldn’t fulfill my potential today," said the Rostockian after the race. The reigning Ironman 70.3 European champion was in a promising position for a long time, but finally he could not intervene in the fight for the title of this thrilling competition which was fast from the get-go. "No question, the outcome of the race was just disappointing," said Michael Raelert who belonged to the lead group until he started the run. Last year's winner Dan Wilson took the win in 3:42:11 hours ahead of the 2016 Ironman 70.3 World champion Tim Reed who finished in 3:43:33 hours. In third place, Braden Currie completed the Australian podium in 3:43:36 hours. Michael Raelert finished the race in eighth place in 3:50:25 hours.

"The half marathon was definitely not what I wanted and what I can," said Michael Raelert after the competition. "For sure, the race was very fast right from the start," he said talking about the outstanding line-up of the race, "but that was clear even before we started. On the one hand, some of the best Ironman 70.3 athletes were taking part. On the other hand, the Australians were absolutely focused to battle it out in this continental championship." During the swim in the Penrith Lake, Aaron Royle, who ranked 6th in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, dominated the race in 23:12 minutes. About 40 seconds behind the Australian, there was a chase group consisting of his compatriots Dan Wilson, Sam Appleton and Sam Betten. Michael Raelert was positioned right behind the second chase group which included, among others, Tim Reed. Michael Raelert managed a swim time of 24:48 minutes, he came out of the water in 9th place.

Michael Raelert pushed hard to catch up with the leaders early on the bike. "It was clear that I had to close the gap early to get back to the front," he said after the race, "that was my only possibility." Already at half-way of the bike course, Michael Raelert caught up with the lead group thanks to an average speed of about 45 km/h. From this group of five, he really wanted to continue his break-away to the front. "Unfortunately, my way into this lead group had cost a lot of energy."

When Michael Raelert came off the bike after 2:29:09 hours of racing, he was in the top group of nine athletes. And he already knew that the run would be a hard one after a tough bike split of 2:03:10 hours. "When nine runners within a lot of Olympic- and World-Championship-experience get together on the run course, it is obvious that there will be a loud bang," he said, "and that's the way it was here, too." Michael Raelert tried to stay with the others’ pace on the first kilometers of the half marathon, but he had to let them go especially on the last few kilometers. "Unfortunately, I could not keep up with their pace," he said after his run of 1:20:22 hours, "I think, there is simply race practice missing."