Aileen Morrison placed 28th out of 69 starters in the first ITU World Triathlon Series race of the season in Sydney, Australia.
The race was Morrison’s first major hit out of the season in the build up to the London Olympics and contained arguably a stronger field than will be present in Hyde Park on August 4th. With Olympic places up for grabs the stronger nations were looking to whittle down the contenders to just 3 who would be put forward for an Olympic berth.
As the buzzer sounded, Morrison got off to a flying start getting clear of much of the scramble experienced during the first 500 meters. The field was lead out by super swimmer Mariko Adachi of Japan with a group including Morrison and 2011 World Champion Helen Jenkins close behind.
Triathlon Ireland’s High Performance Director Chris Jones commented “Aileen had an excellent swim, one of best of her career which will give her a real confidence boost going forward.”
Exiting the 1500m wetsuit swim in 4th position, Morrison had a quick transition and easily made the lead pack containing 29 athletes. The chase pack of 24 included some top class runners such as Olympic Champion Emma Snowsill.
The pace was furious when it came to the bike leg with the lead pack keen to keep their slim 30 second advantage. It took almost 20km of hard graft for the gap to close meaning all the main contenders were in a group of 50 entering T2.
Morrison was well positioned in T2 and exited 6 seconds down on the leaders. It looked for a while like Morrison could reproduce her quick run of two weeks ago and bridge up to the lead pack of 8 but it was not to be. Morrison, citing stomach problems didn’t have her best run and drifted off the pace to finish 28th.
“Aileen just didn’t have her running legs today. Having said that, it was her first race at this level in over 6 months so we’ll take the positives from the swim and bike and continue to build towards London.” commented Chris Jones.
Speaking in the finish area Morrison said “I was happy with my swim and the bike felt good but once I started running I just didn’t feel great.”
“Maybe if I ran the run I’m capable of I would have placed a lot better.”