Dream victory in home town
BUDERIM’S Annelise Jefferies is savouring a home-town victory after a gritty showing in the open women’s division of the Mooloolaba Triathlon.
More than 3000 competitors took to the Olympic-distance course for the 25th edition of the event but the 24-year-old’s effort was particularly special.
She crossed the line in 2hr 05 min, 24 seconds ahead of Katey Gibb. Fellow Buderim resident Kirralee Seidel was third.
“It’s very special to have a title on home ground,” she said after a 1.5km swim, 40km ride and then a tough 10km run leg in 28-degree heat.
“Coming over the hill and to the finish line, I just wasn’t sure how far Katey was behind me,” she said.
“I saw at the turnaround at the far end she was only 15 seconds behind me so I was trying to stretch it out during that last few kilometres and really push it down the hill at the end. “The last 2km was very hard.” Annelise is in the midst of a transition to Ironman 70.3 racing, having made her debut at the longer format with a fifth placing at Thailand last year, where she said she “made a lot of mistakes”.
She’ll tackle 70.3 Taiwan on Sunday.
In a small professional women’s field, key rivals will include Noosa-based Radka Vodickova along with fellow Aussie Kate Bevilaqua.
Annelise was initially a cross country runner who started triathlons when she finished school. She quickly picked up cycling skills but battled in the water.
A world under-23 duathlon title-holder in 2015, Annelise improved her swim leg during the past couple of seasons.
“I used to get really nervous before the start of the swim but now I have much better control of my pre-race nerves and I’m finding I can just stay there (at the back of the main pack) and also (because of) a number of more years in the pool,” she said. “I’ve been gaining more strength every year.” She’s also noticed improvements since linking with Nick Croft’s squad at Noosa at the start of the year.
A third-year nutrition and dietetics student at University of the Sunshine Coast, Annelise also works two part-time jobs, largely to support her triathlon pursuits.
“Still, my mum and dad are my biggest sponsors,” she said.
Meanwhile, reigning Noosa Triathlon champion Dan Wilson won the open men’s race in 1hr 49min 52sec, seven seconds ahead of Tim O’Donnell. Sunshine Coast’s Luke McKenzie was third.
Dan, 31, who is also making a transition to 70.3 racing, said: “It was good old-fashioned running duel there.”
Annelise Jefferies wins the women's race.