Melbourne-based triathlete Annabel Luxford was in a class of her own as she made it back-to-back victories in the pro women’s Ironman 70.3 Ballarat event.
Luxford crossed the line with a time of four hours, 14 minutes and 21 seconds - over seven minutes ahead of her closest rival Kirralee Seidel.
It was Luxford’s second Ironman 70.3 title in three weeks - underlining her credentials.
The 34-year-old took a one-minute lead out of the water and dominated the bike leg. At one stage her lead extended beyond eight minutes before she cruised home to victory in the run around Lake Wendouree.
Luxford was rapt with the win and said she really enjoys coming back.
“Like last year it’s a fantastic race, the support from the volunteers and spectators is great,” Luxford said.
“It was a bit windier and colder than last year, so it took me a bit longer to get going, but I’m super happy with the win.”
The victory caps an impressive year for Luxford and she is more than happy to put her feet up for the remainder of the year.
The defending champion, who has previously been a professional athlete, said she had a new-found respect for what non-professional athletes go through - combining work and training – after taking on full-time work following the Ironman world championship in Kona.
“It’s the end of a really long year for me and since Kona I’ve been working full-time, like the most of the athletes here today that’s their life, but for me, starting to work it’s made me realize how dedicated and how hard the age-grouper’s out here do it.
“For me, who used to be a full-time professional athlete there’s a few things to get used to, but I think I’m ready to hang up the bike and the racing shoes and have a bit of a rest.”
While Luxford was well clear in first, there was a tight battle for podium positions. Kirralee Seidel (4:21:39), Andrea Forrest (4:22:07) and Jacqueline Henricks (4:23:13) spent much of the bike leg in close competition before the run leg separated the trio
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