Ironman 70.3 Geelong King & Queen: Sam Osborne and Ellie Salthouse

Sam Osborne wins IM 70.3 Geelong and takes his first IM 70.3 podium (Picture: Ironman press release)

New Zealand’s Sam Osborne and Brisbane’s Ellie Salthouse have claimed victory at Ironman 70.3 Geelong, with both athletes impressing on their way to the top step of the podium.

Osborne headed into Sunday’s race having never been on an Ironman 70.3 podium before, with the accomplished off-road athlete taking the win in 3:41:25, just 11 seconds clear of Great Britain’s Thomas Bishop, with Henrik Goesch from Finland a minute further behind in third.

The trio made it the first all-international podium at IM 70.3 Geelong, with Osborne securing back-to-back Kiwi victories after Mike Phillips won last year.

“I can hardly believe it, the goal was to come here and get a World’s slot and I feel like I’ve been close the last couple of times and then I saw the start list here and I thought jeez I’m really going to have my work cut out for me,” said Osborne. “I came off the bike and this was the first time that I’ve come off the bike at the front, I come from an off-road tri background so I’m used to the mountain bike so the aero bars can be punishing but I’ve spent heaps of time on the TT bike recently just trying to get used to it which I think paid off.

“I back my run, I just haven’t been able to get off the bike and use it as a weapon but Tommy comes from a short-course background so he’s pretty rapid, I think maybe we got a little bit excited on the first lap and I thought maybe I could get away but that guy is all class,” he said. “He was running really well on the downhills and he was putting me under lots of pressure and then he just seemed to not have as much spring in his step on the uphills and I thought that hill at the back of the course was my opportunity to try and break him there and just hold on for dear life.”

Osborne was first out of the water but had the rest of the field hot on his heels, with just 10 seconds separating the top nine after the 1.9km swim.

The leaders kept in touch with each other across the 90km ride, with Mike Phillips first back to transition and Osborne sixth. From there Osborne and Bishop surged to the front, swapping the lead a number of times before the Kiwi edged ahead to take the win.

“I was just thinking that top two get a World’s slot initially and then I thought shoot I might be on for a shot here, I might be able to win this thing and I guess my mindset shifted and a good mate that I trained heaps with in Boulder, Joe Gambles, an old Ironman 70.3 dude, he said just before that hill at 18km or so that it’s going to be worth it mate, just suffer.

“This win is huge, I said this year that I’m going to really focus on the long course stuff, it’s not every year, and I will probably never in my career have the World Championships in New Zealand again, I want to race the IM 70.3 World Championships at home so to come out, get a world’s slot and win my first Ironman 70.3 it’s crazy, I didn’t think it would happen, not this early,” said Osborne.

Ellie Salthouse claimed her second Ironman 70.3 Geelong victory, crossing the line in 4:07:18, less than a minute ahead of Melbourne’s Grace Thek, with Dutch athlete Lotte Wilms rounding out the podium.

“It was a bit of a slow day to get going for me today, not the best swim, a little bit of an average bike but I had to back my run out there today,” said Salthouse. “We all came off together with a couple up the road and I had to back myself and had a great run, one of my fastest ever so stoked with where my running is at the moment.

“The race played out pretty much how we expected, it was a really strong swim and bike, we had Lotte up the road along with Hanne De Vet, an ITU athlete, the swim was pretty on from the beginning, I missed the feet that I wanted to get on and it just took me a little while to get going in the cold weather,” she said. “The bike spread out a little bit but there were some powerhouse bike riders in there today so I expected the swim and the bike to be on and I know that I had the fastest run out there so when we got off all together it was perfect for me.

“I started to make some really good inroads in the first few kilometres and by six or seven I had the lead, I could see that the I was reeling the girls in over those first few ks, I got second in the first two ks, that always builds confidence when you take positions, once I had the lead it’s a huge confidence boost to run from the front,” said Salthouse. “I knew I had to run my own pace and my own day and finish off strong.”

Lotte Wilms was the first out of the water, with Salthouse more than a minute behind in seventh, with the Dutch athlete pushing ahead across the ride to finish the 90kms almost a minute clear of Hanne De Vet, with Salthouse third. From there Salthouse put the foot down and surged into the lead, cheered on by the Geelong crowd, along with family and friends.

“It’s great, I consider this kind of a home race, considering all of my family live down here, they’re all here today watching so it’s extra special to have them on the sidelines when I win,” said Salthouse. “It’s always incredible here, I love that you get to run through the main part of Geelong a couple of times on each lap, you get to have all of the crowd support, all of the family support, everyone cheering, the run course is unlike any other, it’s pretty much lined with spectators the whole way. The bike course is a little bit lonely out there but there’s always so people up the top of the hill, it spurs you on a little bit at the halfway point.

“It’s always nice to start the year with a win but now I need to keep on going, I started the season a little bit later than usual, just because we have the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in December, that’s a lot later than normal, I wanted to start my year later and slower and build up from here,” she said.

Ironman 70.3 Geelong – Professional Men’s Results

1.      Sam Osborne (NZL) – 3:41:26

2.      Thomas Bishop (GBR) – 3:41:38

3.      Henrik Goesch (FIN) – 3:42:36

4.      Mitch Kibby (AUS) – 3:42:53

5.      Steve McKenna (AUS) – 3:43:19

6.      Mike Phillips – (NZL) – 3:44:21

7.      Benjamin Zorgnotti (FPN) – 3:44:26

8.      Caleb Noble (AUS) – 3:44:56

9.      Jarrod Osborne (AUS) – 3:47:11

10.   Calvin Amos (AUS) – 3:52:22

Ironman 70.3 Geelong – Professional Women’s Results

1.      Ellie Salthouse (AUS) – 4:07:18

2.      Grace Thek (AUS) – 4:08:16

3.      Lotte Wilms (NED) – 4:10:22

4.      Radka Kahlefeldt (AUS) – 4:11:31

5.      Hannah Berry (NZL) – 4:11:44

6.      Hanne De Vet (BEL) – 4:12:59

7.      Penny Slater (AUS) – 4:14:00

8.      Chloe Hartnett (AUS) – 4:19:28

9.      Aleisha Wesley (AUS) – 4:22:50

10.   Kate Gillespie-Jones (AUS) – 4:24:09

Ellie Salthouse for her second victory at Ironman 70.3 Geelong (Picture: press release Ironman)