DESPITE abhorrent conditions, Orange’s Jess Richards produced a personal best time in last Sunday’s Toyota Ironman Australia at Port Macquarie.
Fighting powerful, cold winds throughout the 226km course, Richards clocked an overall time of 10 hours, 17 minutes and 18 seconds to finish third in her division, and eighth in her gender. She also finished 138th overall, of a huge 1699 competitors.
“It was great, I was very happy with my performance,” she said.
“I actually did personal best times in all three disciplines, which was surprising considering the conditions. It was a tough course, the wind was phenomenal. The cold didn’t bother us too much, you stay warm racing but the cross-wind was ridiculous.
“I’ve never been running in that situation, with the sort of headwind where you just feel like you’re going nowhere. People clocked times typical of good conditions, which makes it even more special.”
Richards came out of the water after the 3.8km swim leg in 1:05:22, before dominating the 180km cycle leg, her speciality.
The 32-year-old clocked 5:20:22 on the bike, first in her division and sixth of her gender, before finishing the 42km run leg in 3:45.
“I normally fall behind a bit after the swim, but I made up ground in the cycle,” she said.
“I passed something like 630 people in that leg, and just held position as best I could during the run.”
Richards was one of 13 central west athletes to compete last Sunday, joining Melissa Fogarty, Tracey Lamb, Julie Middleton, Sam Kwa, Simon Lun, Jacob Evans, Greg Tom, Tony Syme, Tim Ritchey, Brett Sammut, Alison Dermody and Pete Egan.
Richards lauded the other local racers’ performances, before giving credit to coach Dan Benton.
“Everyone performed fantastically,” she said.
“I think we all did much better than we expected to. A lot of us train under Dan, and he is the main reason we do so well. He’s an incredible coach.