|LifeSport Triathlete Smith Reflects on Race of a Lifetime
As Reported by the Royal Gazette
|Oct 15, 2010
Bermuda's Karen Smith has reflected on her performance of a lifetime after finishing third in her age group at the Hawaii Ironman – the world's toughest triathlon.
Smith, 42, finished the gruelling race in an impressive 10 hours, 16 minutes and six seconds in the 40-44 age category on Saturday.
In was a case of third-time lucky for Smith who finished the Hawaii Ironman in sixth in her age group in 2007 and eighth in 2009.
"It was a great day for me. That's definitely been my lifetime performance. I looked at the winning times in my division from the last couple of years and thought I could probably get in the top five, so I'm delighted to finish third," said the former Commonwealth Games athlete yesterday.
"I'd had a few injuries last year but my training's been going well and I managed to execute the strategies drawn up by my coach."
Cheering on Smith in Hawaii were her husband, two children and mother and father-law, making her achievement all the more special.
"It was so nice to have those people here, to hear that support. Now I'm just looking have some nice quiet family time in Hawaii on my last day here."
Smith came out of the water in seventh place (1:06.03), dropped back on the bike (5:37.44) to eighth before mounting a comeback in the marathon run (3:24.44) to elevate her position to third.
"In the last half mile there were two girls about 30 seconds ahead of me, but I'd been gaining on them the whole time," said Smith, who placed 613th overall.
"So I put in one last push and passed them both before the last main stretch of the race. It was quite an exciting finish, not the ideal way you want to finish an Ironman marathon!"
Just a few weeks prior to the race, the frame of Smith's triathlon bike cracked rendering it unrepairable. Fortunately, her sponsors at Winner's Edge set Smith up with a new Track Bike Concept which she described as 'phenomenal'.
"I'd only managed to put about 100 miles on it before I rode it (in Hawaii) which isn't very much," she said, "It was a just a phenomenal bike, for Winner's Edge to get that to me so fast and get me sorted out quickly was great."
In the same women's age group, Karen Bordage placed 34th in a time of 11.36.36.
Smith said her close friend's race was marred by sea sickness during the swim.
"Karen had some difficulties in the swim and had sea sickness," said Smith. "The ocean looks beautiful and calm but in the harbour there are some really big rollers which literally lift you up by two feet and then drop you. Sea sickness is actually quite common but she said it was the first time it had happened to her.
"Most people would have just packed it in but, talk about perseverance, she stuck it out."
In his first Ironman, Kent Richardson placed 83rd in the men's 45-49 age group, while the Island's top triathlete Tyler Butterfield finished in 28th position overall.
It's understood Butterfield was in the leading pack on the cycle before encountering problems. He couldn't be contacted yesterday, but Smith said he intended to stay in Hawaii for another two weeks to take part in another event.
The winner was Chris McCormack of Australia in eight hours, 10 minutes, 37 seconds, while his compatriot Miranda Carfrae was the fastest woman, finishing in eight hours, 58 minutes and 36 seconds.
Brit Chris Wellington, one of the women's favourites, pulled out shortly before the race because of illness.