Nearly 1200 triathletes took the plunge down under for the last Ironman race of 2008 at the fifth running of Ironman Western Australia, in Busselton, Australia. Again event organizers offered a $50,000 USD bonus for a world record time on this fast triathlon course.
Aussie dark horse Tim Berkel captured his first Ironman title winning today in a time 8:07:05. Kiwi Gina Ferguson captured the 2008 Ironman Western Australia title holding off defending champion Charlotte Paul with a sub-9 hour time today of 8:59:24.
24-year-old Berkel defeated his idol Jason Shortis who he battled on the run. The two were running neck and neck with 10km to go. Each one would respond to each other’s surge, but Berkel responded near the end and ran away with the title.
Ferguson did not let a broken aero bar 80km into the bike get in the way of her chances today because she would need everything she had to stay ahead of defending champion Charlotte Paul. In the end, the two flip-flopped positions based on last year's results with Ferguson on top this time.
2008 Ironman Western Australia Results:
|1 - Tim Berkel||8:07:06||1 - Gina Ferguson||8:59:24|
|2 - Jason Shortis||8:10:57||2 - Charlotte Paul||9:06:34|
|3 - Luke McKenzie||8:12:45||3 - Kat Baker||9:37:24|
|4 - Jimmy Johnsen||8:18:43||4 - Sarah Pollett||9:39:21|
|5 - Simon Billeau||8:20:32||5 - Nicole Ward||9:43:12|
Matt Illingworth, an age grouper racing today cut 42 seconds off the previous bike course record held by Mitch Anderson (4:18:07) with a new time of 4:17:25.
Not sure what happened to defending champion Patrick Vernay, who was entered to race today but appears to not have started the day.
Francois Jacobs, a blind competitor from South Africa completed his 2nd Ironman race and 2nd Ironman race of 2008 today, improving his time to 13:40:43 from 13:59:23. Article on Jacobs: Beyond darkness, there is light
Additional race coverage:
- How The West Was Won: Berkel & Ferguson Reign Down Under [via Ironman.com]
- IMWA report: Berkel and Ferguson win [via Tri247.com]
- 2008 Ironman Western Australia Athlete Tracker
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