Manama Jeff - Busselton 70.3 2021 - by Jonney Sammut and Nick Th

Manama Jeff - Busselton 70.3 2021 - by Jonney Sammut and Nick Thompson 

The muchly anticipated 2021 Busselton Half Ironman was finally here. Despite covid lockdowns, pool closures and race postponements, the final race of the season was to be thankfully going ahead. The race would be hotly contented by a contingent of WA superstars with the likes of Matt Burton, Kurt Wesley, Blake Kappler, Adam White, Guy Crawford, Nick Baldwin, Mark Radziejewski. The UWA young guns Nick and Jonney had their work cut out for them if they were to podium. 

In the week leading up to the race, there were a lot of external factors playing on the minds of all the athletes. Would the race be cancelled, would we have to race it on another weekend? Would we have to encounter torrential rain and wind? It was a stressful situation. But with the go ahead on Tuesday morning all systems were a go. 

The morning arrived, the wind was calm and the weather looked to make for a fast day. Jonney was having a great start to the day having forgot his race nutrition back in Perth however fortunately the ever prepared (not) Nick Thompson came to the rescue with some back up nutrition. Fast forward to 7:25 - 5 mins prior to the start of the race – both lads still did not know the swim course but just decided if they swum in the general shape of an M , it would look legit on Strava. Just Kidding! They set out on the swim course with Jonney setting up his race well leading out with just Guy and Kurt on his tail. Nick, limited his losses in the swim to retain a 90 second buffer to the front. Both the lads were on for a decent day! 

On to the bike both Nick and Jonney felt pretty sluggish and it wasn’t until 45km in where they started to feel their bike legs. Despite this, Burton was already working his way through the field, passing Nick in the first 10km, and Jonney with 10km to go. As a result, both Nick and Jonney would have to put together a pretty great run to take down Matt who was clearly firing on all cylinders. 

Into transition and on the run both the lads set out at their paces. Jonney was feeling okay but knew he would need to be feeling a lot better to catch Burton who was around 30 seconds ahead. Nick set out at his race pace, looking down at his watch he was thinking “Brad Kahlefelt look out, I could be on for the run course record here!” Looking back, that is exactly what he would have needed to do to catch Burton, but this never eventuated. 

There was a feel good moment half way through the run course where the two boys ran side by side and some words were exchanged : Nick : “Come one mate all you have to do is get through it” Jonney : #@*&@*#!* 

The last lap ended up being a grovel to the finish line, both the lads relieved that they had finished their first half ironman relatively intact, it was just an added bonus that they managed to hold on to the two minor spots on the podium. Regardless of the results, the boys were pretty ecstatic that their training had paid off enough to allow them to have plenty of energy left in the tank to have a big night at the pub.

p.s all triathletes are now banned from The Esplanade Tavern.