Ironman 70.3 Tasmania: big wins for Chelsea Sodaro and Nick Thompson

Ironman 70.3 Tasmania: Chelsea Sodaro is back with a victory (Picture: Ironman Press Release)

Nick Thompson and Chelsea Sodaro have claimed victory at Ironman 70.3 Tasmania on a wet and wild day in Hobart. Thompson claimed his second IM 70.3 victory on Sunday, while for Sodaro it was her first win since taking out the 2022 IM World Championship.

Thompson crossed the line in 3:54:10, almost four minutes ahead of Mitch Kibby, with hometown hero Cameron Wurf rounding out the podium.

“I feel great now that it’s over, it’s a really beautiful course but it’s really testing, testing conditions as well, I think it was Cam who said you don’t really know where you’re at this time of the year after Christmas and New Years and I probably wasn’t feeling the best I’ve ever felt but everybody is probably in the same boat, it was more about just keep on going, one step, one pedal stroke,” said Thompson. “The atmosphere was great down here in Tassie, especially along Salamanca and the pier.”

Wet conditions greeted athletes in Hobart with Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez first out of the water, closely followed by Kiwi Braden Currie. Unfortunately, it was a day to forget for the pair, with Gomez forced to retire with a mechanical issue, while Currie’s day finished after coming off the bike on a couple of occasions, and also getting a flat.

Thompson powered through the field to take the lead midway through the bike leg, with Wurf close behind. Wurf also had issues on course, with a slow leak in his rear tyre for the final 15km, before it finally went flat, forcing him to finish the ride on the rim. Once on the run Thompson powered ahead, with Kibby and Wurf running close together for much of the 21.1km course before Kibby pushed on to claim second.

“The first half of the swim was nice and the second half wasn’t great, I wasn’t feeling too flash but it’s a 1900m swim so you can have a bad swim and only be a minute behind which isn’t too far and thankfully I came out of the water and after transition was with Cam and he kind of towed me through the technical section and then we caught Javier and Mitch and just pushed from there,” said Thompson. “Unfortunately for Cam he was riding really well but had a slow leak and then it went completely flat so it would have been really interesting, I think we would have had a really good run battle if he didn’t have that bad luck and then it was just hold on for dear life on the run.

“I wasn’t feeling too flash but it’s a tough bike course and I think everyone is feeling the same” he said. “I actually got to run a lap or two with the lead female Chelsea, I was right behind her and it was really nice that she let me hang around, it was really nice to run with her, she’s a World Champion, a year ago I never would have thought I’d be running with the World Champion so that’s pretty cool,” he said.

Thompson has had an incredible start to his professional career at home, with a win at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast, a second at Ironman 70.3 Melbourne and then a third at IM Western Australia.

Sodaro’s first win after becoming World Champion

Chelsea Sodaro took her first race win since claiming her IM World Championship title in October 2022, with Sunday’s race one to remember for the American. Sodaro took the finish tape four and a half minutes ahead of Melbourne’s Grace Thek, with Hanne De Vet of Belgium a further three minutes behind in third.

“I feel awesome, I had the best time out there, the community here has been super welcoming to me, I was just really thrilled by the crowd support and the support from the other athletes in the race, it was a blast,” said Sodaro.

Sodaro came out the water in third, behind De Vet and Thek and quickly got to work closing the gap to the front, moving into the lead within the first 10km. Sodaro was joined at the front by Sarah Crowley with the two swapping positions until the final 20km when Sodaro pushed ahead.

The American came into transition with a minute lead over Thek and never looked back, extending her gap consistently throughout the run which made its way along the Hobart waterfront.

“My swim start wasn’t awesome actually, it was a little choppier than I expected and eventually I got on Grace’s feet and tried to just stay composed and relax, that’s not my favourite conditions, but I got out of the water and realised that we weren’t too far back from the leaders and I’ve been working really hard on my bike this off season so I wanted to race really well and ride my bike well and I think I did that,” said Sodaro. “That may have been the first time ever that I’ve come off the bike in first, that was definitely a step in the right direction and whenever I get on the run I’m just ready to go to work, I went out pretty hard on the first lap and I had the pleasure of running close to the men’s leader for a while and I was really impressed with his sportsmanship and grit and I had a lot of fun which I don’t always have.

“It’s been awesome to be here, I’ve loved being in Tasmania and this is actually my first win since Kona of 2022 so it feels like a bit of a monkey off my back and a great way to start the Ironman season,” she said.

Sodaro had a mixed last year with Sunday’s win the perfect way to kick off 2024.

“It’s a super positive start to my season this year, I’ve loved being in this hemisphere, being out of the snow in Nevada where I live so I’m really trying to enjoy the process this year, last year was tough for me, a lot of ups and downs and I lost some of the joy in my racing so it’s exciting to be finding that again,” she said.

Ironman 70.3 Tasmania – Women’s Professional Results

  1. Chelsea Sodaro – 4:18:59
  2. Grace Thek – 4:23:30
  3. Hanne De Vet – 4:26:40
  4. Penny Slater – 4:26:58
  5. Sophie Perry – 4:28:30
  6. Sarah Crowley – 4:29:35
  7. Regan Hollioake – 4:29:43
  8. Laura Armstrong – 4:39:48
  9. Melanie Daniels – 4:49:32

Ironman 70.3 Tasmania – Men’s Professional Results

  1. Nick Thompson – 3:54:10
  2. Mitch Kibby – 3:58:07
  3. Cameron Wurf – 4:00:01
  4. Harison Wiles – 4:06:21
  5. Jye Spriggs – 4:10:56
  6. Michael Boult – 4:13:32
  7. Mark Radziejewski – 4:15:24
  8. Martin Ulloa – 4:18:06
Nick Thompson breaks the tape at IM 70.3 Tasmania (Picture: Ironman Press Release)