By Paul Healy
So, Christmas and New Year has all finished. the countless get togethers eating tons of food and drinking, and let’s be honest a well-deserved break from training over the festive season. Well into the new year now and maybe you’re trying to figure out what Ironman races to do in 2019. Well I have the perfect Ironman for you.
If you are after a great Ironman experience why not sign up for the 2019 Ironman Western Australia in Busselton Western Australia which takes place on the 1st of December 2019. I have completed this Ironman five times now, and It is a must do event of my triathlon season as well as the majority of fellow Perth triathletes.
Located approximately 2 hours’ drive south west of Perth the town of Busselton is located on the stunningly beautiful Geographe Bay. Busselton itself is a great place to visit with plenty of restaurants, shops and accommodation options. The surrounding areas of Busselton are worth a visit including the vast wineries dotted around the South West corner of WA. Whilst you’re in Busselton for the Ironman you should take time to visit one of the wineries, cheese factories or my favourite the chocolate factory in the small town of Margret River. If surfing is your thing then fear not Margret river is a great spot for a surf.
Back to Ironman WA the event has been around for 15 years now, with the inaugural event back in December 2004. The course has had some minor changes in the past but what remains the same is the distances the 3.8 km swim ,180km bike and 42.2 km run. 2018 saw Ironman WA organisers change the swim course which used to go around the iconic Busselton jetty, and also introduce a rolling swim start procedure which means a safer and fair swim for all competitors. The brand new 2018 swim course now involves competitors swimming directly underneath the jetty followed by 2 laps of a rectangular shaped swim course. The beauty of this is that it increases safety for swimmers who are less exposed to conditions and don’t have to swim 2 km out to sea. another great thing about the swim being 300meters from the shore is its more spectator friendly with your supporters able to stand on the jetty at the point that you swim under, or they can watch from the beach.
The flat fast bike course is a highlight of Ironman WA being 2 laps of 90km with the halfway turning point in the Busselton town centre with the commentators calling your name at the turn. Also, it allows your spectators a chance to see you. There’s also the option of your loved ones to drive out to parts of the course to see you whilst you cycle though the tuart forest which gives you some protection from the wind. With no hills whatsoever, the bike course is pan flat so expect some fast bike times with professional triathlete Cameron Wurf holding the bike course record with a 4:07:14.
The 4-lap flat 42.2km run is when the Busselton locals and triathlon community really gets together to cheer on every single athlete. the run takes place on the Busselton foreshore each lap being just over 10 km in length. There are plenty of aid stations and volunteers on the run course. The great thing about the Ironman WA run course is that you run past the finish line multiple times which gives you a sort of energy boost knowing that your time down the finish chute is coming soon. Ironman WA organisers have a dedicated area of the run course for all the local triathlon clubs to spectate from and set up their club banners and tents.
The finish line experience is like no other with music blearing, loads of spectators and the Ironman commentators saying those coveted four words ‘you are an Ironman’! The Ironman WA finish line really comes to life in the night time hours.
Overall Ironman Western Australia is a fantastic must do event in 2019 being just a few weeks before Christmas you can treat yourself to that extra slice of Christmas cake as you have done an ironman only weeks earlier. If you don’t feel up for doing a Full Ironman just yet don’t worry as Ironman Western Australia 70.3 is run on the same day as Ironman WA with an earlier start time so after completing the 70.3 you can sit back and cheer on the athletes competing in the full ironman.