Casey’s back and on-song
AFTER a challenging year battling career-threatening illness, Buderim’s Casey Munro showed he was back in full flight on Sunday.
Getting off the bike in second position behind eventual winner Dan Wilson, Casey clung onto fourth ahead of fast-finishing three-time Ironman world champion Craig Alexander.
The performance was his best since making a return to racing in February. Heart issues that had shown small signs of trouble in recent years erupted in 2016.
Casey’s heart was out of rhythm, his heart rate climbing 40–50 beats above usual levels. During training runs last year his heart rate rose above 200bpm.
It was later revealed he had a hereditary condition called atrial fibrillation, and after a forced lay-off he is now following strict specialist advice to stay in the sport.
And Sunday’s race went close to plan for the 32-year-old.
With Dan the hot favourite, Casey knew he had to keep pace on the bike.
“The swim was really slow and it felt super easy,” he said.
“As soon as I stepped up on the sand I knew Wilson had the same plan. He took off and I just hung on.
“We got to that turn past Coolum and we had 50 seconds on a big group.”
In two minds whether to push harder, Casey thought the group would catch easily but a time check leading into the Rosemount loops saw the break grow to 2:30 minutes.
“We rode really well and those laps went by really quickly,” Casey said.
“We dropped Belly on just the last bit of the Motorway.
“I wanted that gap to start the run. I know how much it sucks having to catch 15 seconds on someone.
“In the run, I had a clear plan. I just forgot Wilson was even there. Not even for a metre did I go with him.
“I had a plan to cruise the first couple (of kilometres). If I was good then I would go for it in the last 5km, but I blew with about 5km to go.”
Tim van Berkel caught him going past Maroochydore Surf Club on the final lap home, while Sam Betten moved into third through Alexandra Headland.
“Then the hill.. .I knew Crowie wouldn’t be far off,” Casey said.
“I knew how slow I was going to go up there, and I was. It was absolute torture. I knew if I got to the top with 100m (gap) I would have him.”
Casey managed to reach the summit and beat Crowie home by eight seconds.
For Dan, the result was a breakthrough after being pipped at the post by Courtney Atkinson in a gut-wrenching sprint-finish loss in 2014.
“The amount of times I’ve had people remind me about getting smoked by Courtney in 2014, at least I’ll have some rebuttal now,” he said.
“It was a nice redemption today. “I was a bit more comfortable coming down to the last couple hundred metres than I was last time around so I couldn’t be happier.”
It was a tough day out for Beerwah’s Damien Collins in his first major professional race. As expected he came out of the water behind the main groups, and after a good bike he struggled on the run with cramping after 2km.
Josh Minogue was on song in the men’s 30-34 division, blitzing the field with an outstanding 22:32 swim (which was the same time as overall winner Dan Wilson) before delivering a strong 2:21:43 on the bike and finishing with a 1:21:13 run to claim first about four minutes ahead of Matthew Rundle in second place.
After enjoying off-road triathlon victory at Stradbroke Island earlier this year, Maroochydore’s Kate Schultz continued her podium form with third in the women’s 30-34 age group. Kate started well with a 26:55 swim, was consistent on the bike with a 2:31:21 and then finished with 1:40:18 in the half marathon. She will now turn her attention to the Tre-X off-road triathlon at Mt Cotton in October.
Paul Davies showed his Kona world championship preparations are on track with fifth in the men’s 35-39 age group with a time of 4:15.36.
Casey Munro (left) congratulates 70.3 winner Dan Wilson on Sunday.
Kate Schultz on her way to third.