Web_xjtriathletes_3813By James Brosnan

PHIL Hanley and Raeleigh Harris have made their local triathlon club the Bass Coast Barracudas proud after competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas, USA. The Wonthaggi duo returned home last week after their September 8 race against 2310 triathletes from 50 countries. Hanley finished with a silver medal in the 60-64 year-old men’s category while Harris finished in sixth in the 40-44 year-old women’s bracket. The championships began with a 1.9km swim in Lake Las Vegas, followed by a 90km bike ride through Lake Mead National Recreation Area before finishing with a 21km run with views of the Las Vegas Strip.

Hanley finished the course in a time of five hours and 17 minutes. “I’m very happy with second. I was five minutes off the winner – he passed me at the 7km mark of the 21km run but he was a brilliant runner and I knew I had to hang in there for second. I was 10 minutes clear from third,” Hanley said. “It was a quality field. It was very hot and humid conditions with rain early in the morning. It was a great event with all the athletes in good spirits. “It was a rewarding to finish well and to come away with no bad injuries was a good feeling.” Harris described the event as the race of her life, finishing sixth in a time of five hours and 10 minutes – 10 minutes off the winner. “It was an incredible outcome. I can’t put words to it – the event, the support, the volunteers, the resources available, it was inspiring,” Harris said. “I peaked on the day. I had the perfect lead in with the technicalities all taken care of it was just had a great day.

It was a tough course but it all came together for me, so I couldn’t be happier. “The majority of the bike ride was through Lake Meade National Park which was incredibly beautiful; it was just the athletes out on the bike course which was quite unique in itself. “The support from spectators on the run was incredible. The whole course was lined by a sea of people – it was amazing. “Thanks to all the people, they know who they are who helped get us there and made it happen. The list is huge. Without that support I wouldn’t have been able to have that incredible experience.” Both Hanley and Harris said they will focus on local events in the coming months, with Harris also pencilling in an event in Shepparton in the hope of requalifying for next year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  The championships will move from Las Vegas to Quebec in Canada for 2014. “I’m realigning my goals but I’m pretty excited to get back there again and give it another crack next year,” Raeleigh said.