Recovering Smith cedes national sprint title
Karen Smith will not be going for a third straight Aon National Sprint Triathlon title tomorrow at Clearwater Beach, as she is still recovering from a gruelling Ironman World Championships two weeks ago.
Smith, who won by almost three minutes over Maddie Durkin in 2017, has decided to take a rest after being left fatigued from the Ironman event in Hawaii, where she finished seventh in her age group out of 69 competitors in a time of 11hr 1min 43sec. That despite having stomach troubles that affected her in the first few kilometres of the marathon and got so bad that she was forced to walk.
“I’m not planning on racing on Sunday,” Smith told The Royal Gazette after her name was conspicuous by its absence from the 118 entries confirmed by midafternoon yesterday.
“Ironman Hawaii was my last triathlon for 2018. Although it didn’t go to plan, it was big effort and it put a lot of stress and fatigue in my body. I need the end-of-season break for recovery and then start planning for next season.
“This means missing the Aon Sprint Championships, which I have always enjoyed, but longevity in the sport means knowing when to dial it back.”
Smith’s final run time at the Ironman World Championships was 4:29:12, well below her expected time of between 3:30 and 3:40, which would have possibly have given her a podium finish after her best swim time in the championships of 1:05:56.
Smith then also clocked her fastest bike time of 5:18:56, which put her in third place going into the run.
Durkin is the favourite for the vacant title. Rebecca Shepherd, third last year, had not signed up by yesterday, according to racedayworld.com entries.
In the men’s race, Alan Potts is back to defend his title and will have Geoff Smith as one of his main rivals. Potts clocked a winning time of 1:00:02 last year, just failing to get under the one-hour mark, while Smith was second, one minute and 24 seconds behind.
Neil de Ste Croix completed the top three, exactly two minutes behind the winner. He has signed up for the team event.
Races start at 9am with the competition in four junior age groups, with 7-8 and nine to ten-year-olds doing a 100 metres swim, five kilometres bike and 1km run. The 11-12 group will have a 200 metres swim, 10km bike and 2km run, with the 13-15 group doing a 375 metres swim, 10km bike and 2.5km run.
The adult sprint triathlon, individual and team, will involve a 750 metres swim, 20km bike and 5km run, while the individual Try-a-Tri Super Sprint individual event for adults will have a 200 metres swim, 5km bike and 1km run.
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