Hawaii beckons Burton
Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee may have set a new course record at Ironman Western Australia on Sunday but it was a WA boy who won the hearts and minds of spectators.
Matt Burton could be seen weeks in advance riding from Busselton, past Bunbury and up to Perth as “recovery” after his gruelling training sessions in the South West.
Before the race Burton said he was ready for anything from wind changes to sunburn and he made his hypothesis come true, taking advantage of the blustery conditions to take second place and more importantly qualify for the World Championships at Kona Hawaiian Ironman in October.
After the race an emotional Burton thanked his supporters and “50 or 60 family members” for travelling to the event to cheer him on.
“So much has gone into this,” he said. “I was talking to my fiancée and I said I wanted to perform to a level that I think my training reflects’.
It did, Burton had the race of a lifetime, ripping almost 13 minutes from his 2018 Ironman Western Australia time to go under eight hours.
“Kona qualification is a huge bonus but I am most pleased with the 7:55 on home soil. That is pretty special and it will take a while to sink in,” he said.
Brownlee, from the UK, set a new time of 7:45:20, smashing the old record by more than six minutes, Burton was second with a time of 07:55:40 while fellow Australia Tim Van Berkel was third coming in at 08:00:26.
For a period Alistair was on world record pace, but in the interest of surviving his first full Ironman and recovering for training for the Tokyo Olympics he slowed down his frantic pace.
“I had two goals coming here,” Brownlee said. “The first was to get around an Ironman without capitulating and I was pretty close, so I am happy with that,” he said.
“The second was to qualify for Kona and I have done that, so I am chuffed.”
“This event is fantastic, the course is beautiful, flat and well supported.”
New Zealand’s Teresa Adam also destroyed the women’s Busselton record clocking a remarkable 8:38:42, almost 11 minutes quicker than last year’s winner Caroline Steffen.
In a sign Women’s Ironman is rapidly developing second placed women Sarah Piampiano 08:42:57 and third placed Gurutze Frades 08:49:40, also went under last year’s record.
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