Race Report: Sam Betten - Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships
Having finished 3rd at last years 2016 IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships I was very motivated to replicate a similar result at the 2017 event. This was my 3rd race in 4 weeks following a 2nd at Bohol 5150, Philippines and 1st at IRONMAN 70.3 Xiamen, China so I knew that the physical fitness was on track for a good performance. Unfortunately, just a week out from the race I picked up the flu, which meant that the final week of training was somewhat interrupted. On race morning I still wasn’t feeling 100%, but I am a firm believer that once the starting gun fires, you just need to get on with the job and commit yourself to attacking the race that lays in front of you.
With a championship worthy professional men’s field assembled, the first few hundred meters of the swim was vital to find some clear water and a good set of feet to follow. I settled into my stroke after the fast start and found myself in a group of three that included Dan Wilson and Sam Appleton. Exiting the water, I was pleased with how I was positioned; however, I experienced a slower than usual transition and dropped off Dan and Sam slightly. The 90km ride was fast and furious with some significant efforts needed with such a high pace being set. The average speed by the time I hit transition was close to 44kph which certainly was felt in the legs. Exiting T2, I tried hard to keep pace with the front-runners with my goal of being in the mix for a podium finish; however, the legs were not responding as I had hoped and I was forced to drop back into 8th for the opening half of the run. With around 5km left to run the 21.1km half marathon, I dug deep and managed to run past former IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Michael Raelert to move into 7th place which is where I finished.
Overall I was pretty happy with my performance all things considered. With some race fatigue in the legs from the last month as well as some sickness leading into the race, it was great to be able to find the ability to dig deep and put together a top ten performance at the IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships. This result now moves me into 15th on the IRONMAN 70.3 World Rankings (as at 28/11/17).