(Image: Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
As local forecasters predicted midday temperatures to touch 40ºC for the first Challenge Melbourne last weekend, the elite athletes set off before sunrise to finish before the hottest part of the day, with Australian athletes Tim Berkel and Annabel Luxford taking gold.
Clayton Fettel (AUS) led the rest of the field by 5mins coming into T2, but was eventually overtaken by an all-Australian chase pack which included Berkel, John Polson and Michael Fox, who eventually crossed the line in that order, with Fettel coming in fifth.
In the women’s event, Luxford led Swiss athlete Caroline Steffen by just 4secs out of the swim, then increased that lead to 4mins going into the run where she maintained a healthy margin to cross the line ahead of Steffen and Rebecca Hoschke (AUS).
For the 1,500-strong age-group field racing after than the elites, the organisers put together a shorter race option due to the extreme heat, although the majority chose to race the full 1.9km/90km/21.1km distance.
Top five men:
1. Tim Berkel – 3:52:37
2. John Polson – 3:53:30
3. Michael Fox – 3:53:58
4. Todd Skipworth – 3:54:32
5. Clayton Fettell – 3:55:01
Top five women:
1. Annabel Luxford – 4:16:01
2. Caroline Steffen- 4:20:05
3. Rebecca Hoschke – 4:25:29
4. Madeleine Oldfield – 4:31:30
5. Wendy McAlpine – 4:32:01