The 5th annual running of Challenge Melbourne occurred on Sunday 14th April 2019, with a strong field toeing the beach start on the front of the St Kilda Sea Baths. The cool water meant a wetsuit legal swim, with many of the athletes also choosing to wear a neoprene swim cap to fight off the temperatures!
In the women’s event, the swim was led out hard by a pack of 3 athletes who broke away from the chase pack early on. The “Queen of consistency” Radka Kahlefeldt (CZE), reigning Champion from 2017 and 2018 Annabel Luxford (AUS) and Amelia Watkinson (NZL) exited the water together in 27:22 before heading onto the coastal three-lap bike course. Radka said “I was very excited to test the new wetsuit in a proper competition. I felt great in the water and was leading the swim out.”
The bike course was dominated by the pairing of Watkinson and Luxford, who managed to drop a struggling Kahlefeldt - “So the swim was great, but unfortunately I didn’t feel great on the bike and wasn’t able to stay with two strong girls. I had no power in my legs for some reason. Thinking back, it could have been the colder weather in Melbourne. But no excuses:-)...“. Watkinson managed to put a 9-second gap between herself and Luxford with a strong surge at the end of the bike leg, giving her a small lead before the two-lap half marathon run.
Amelia Watkinson took the tape having finished in style, closing out the middle-distance event with a 1:18 run to pull away from the pair of Luxford and Kahlefeldt who rounded out the podium in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Amelia said “Pretty happy with that one! It’s been a long stint of patience, so nice to finally crack it! I got my nutrition right, and the legs had enough speed to take the win.”
Images by Challenge Melbourne