Casey’s back and on-song

Multisport Mecca - - 70.3 Sunshine Coast -

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.

PHOTO: IAIN CURRY

Casey Munro (left) con­grat­u­lates 70.3 win­ner Dan Wil­son on Sun­day.

Kate Schultz on her way to third.

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