Coming into this one was a little iffy. I knew I was relatively fit for a February race, but sometimes you don’t know how ‘race fit’ you will be until you’re out there in the thick of it.

I had strung together a decent block of work in January, and then headed to Kona for the Purple Patch Fitness training camp for the first two weeks in Feb. This was ideal timing for me, as I wanted to use the camp as a launching pad into Geelong, in the aim of showing up in decent shape.

I arrived in Oz on the Wednesday before the event, and made the trip south to Geelong on Friday. The conditions were cold, which suited me as I had not done too much heat work coming down from Boulder winter.

There was a loaded field lining up, but I had a pretty good pre race theory of how the race would unfold. I knew Josh Amberger would aim to take it to us in the swim, and the start of the bike, and I knew this could be a golden ticket to eliminating some of the major threats.

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Photo credit: Jaimi Joy

I found the first half of the swim hard, but settled a little towards the back end and emerged with a group of about 6 guys, 15 sec or so behind Josh. Straight out of T2 Jake Montgomery and myself were the only ones who went with the early pace on the bike being set by Josh, and we went to work closing the door on those guys chasing. The three of us worked well together and we got a nice 3min buffer over the chasers after the first lap. This was pleasing indeed, as the chasers held some notable fleet footed runners who I was eager to distance myself from.

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Photo Credit: Jaimi Joy

We kept working well together and eventually Monty was dispatched part way through the second lap. Josh and I kept the foot on the gas as much as we could and we were rewarded with a 4min gap to those chasing coming into T2.

Barring a monumental implosion, I was pretty confident that 4min would be enough for us two to duke it out for the win. Josh had already shown some good form in Dubai a couple of weeks prior, and I hadn’t done too much specific running but I set off on the half marathon and felt reasonably decent. I opened up a slight gap about 3km into the run and tried to push this out a little more to gather some breathing room. Alas, Josh had different ideas and kept me at a very uncomfortable 15sec gap for the first half of the run.

I really wanted to close the door on Josh and secure the win so I picked the pace up slightly from 11 – 15km to salvage a 40sec advantage and I from there I kept the pressure on for the remainder of the run.

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Photo Credit: Korupt Vision

I was ecstatic to open up my 2017 season with a win in Geelong. It’s a dream start to the year and I can use this as a big confidence booster into the rest of the year! From here its head back down for 6 weeks leading into Challenge Melbourne in April!

Thanks to all those who sent messages! And a huge thanks to my team supporting me!

Until next time!

Sam