Aussie Alexander wins Melbourne Ironman

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Five-time world champion Craig Alexander has won the inaugural Melbourne Ironman, posting his first ever sub-eight hour time.

Alexander, the event favourite, claimed victory in 7 hours, 57 minutes, his first win on home soil.

A three-time winner of the Hawaii World Championship, the Sydney-based Alexander described the experience of winning an event at home as “unforgettable.”

“I’ll never forget this race. It will stay with me forever.

“It’s great to be a world champ, but nothing beats racing at home in front of your family and friends,” said Alexander.

In what will be remembered as one of Ironman’s greatest races, Alexander ran side by side with New Zealander Cameron Brown, the eventual second-place getter, who finished just three minutes behind.

Alexander and Brown provided a remarkable trans-Tasman finale, with the 42km run being contested at what Alexander described as a “ridiculous pace.”

“Cameron’s watch was recording our kilometre splits and when it beeped I asked him how quick it was. He said, ‘Three minutes and 39 seconds for that kilometre’.

“I could not believe how quick we were running,” said Alexander.

The pair ran just seconds apart for most of the run but the eventual champion broke away over the last 7km.

“What a warrior. He pushed me right into the well today,” said Alexander.

Alexander’s performance was all the more impressive after an uncharacteristically poor swimming leg saw him leave the Frankston beach outside of the main group.

A competitive 180km cycle saw Alexander make up some ground amongst the field but it wasn’t until the run transition that the number-one-seed began to assert his dominance.

As the 38-year-old, father-of-two crossed the St Kilda finish line it was evident that the inaugural Melbourne event wasn’t one that he was prepared to let slide.

“I wanted to be the first man to have my name on the Greg Welch trophy,” said Alexander.

In defeat, Brown acknowledged that although he was disappointed, he takes great confidence from his performance.

“I’ve given it my all. It was a fantastic race,” said Brown.

By Ben Campbell

Ben Campbell is a freelance journalist and regular St Kilda News contributor. View and comment on his work online at www.bencampbell.com.au.

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