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Army Ironman competitors race to the finish line in Cairns
July 13, 2017
WO2 Andrew Hetherington
ARMY triathletes did more than
just try during the Cairns Ironman
Asia-Pacific Championship on
The 10 Army members of the
ADF Triathlon Club put in solid
performances against more than
2400 civilian and ADF athletes.
Two events were held during the
championships, the 70.3 and the
longer Ironman. Maj Paul Baker
(DIntTC) completed the gruel-
ling 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride
and 42km run in 10hrs 59min and
35sec, ahead of fellow Army com-
petitors, Sig Phil Corlis and Cpl
In his first ever attempt at an
Ironman distance triathlon, Maj
Baker said he made some radical
changes to his training to finish the
125.8km distance to smash his tar-
get time of 12 hours, coming in at
323 place overall.
“In October last year I changed
to a low carb and high fat diet and
it took me about 6 weeks to become
‘fat adapted,” Maj Baker said.
“I also purchased a six month
triathlon program and set about
training for 11 hours per week,
which then became 21 hours a week
a month from the event.
“To add to my preparation, I
completed my first 70.3 distance
event prior to Cairns, at Port
Macquarie in May and I finished in
a time of 5hrs 27min, which I was
Maj Baker’s race began with his
weakest leg of the triathlon.
“I hit my primary goal of exit-
ing the water in a reasonable time
of just over 1hr 17min with a low
heart rate,” Maj Baker said.
“I was thrilled with my ride
and I easily maintained an average
of 31km/h. I actually had to force
myself to slow down to save some-
thing for the run.”
After having no real pain other
than muscle soreness on comple-
tion of the ride, Maj Baker set about
running his marathon concentrating
on maintaining his nutrition plan.
“I enjoyed the run way more
than I thought I would and my aim
was to sit on 5.15min kilometres for
as long as possible,” he said.
“I drank water with a salt tablet
every aid station, then carbs every
“I gave myself a goal of reach-
ing 30km before taking in any of
the high-carb offerings at the aid
“Then when I finally had a Coke,
it was like rocket fuel for me.”
Army’s top placed female
finisher at the event was seasoned
performer WO1 Megan Webber,
who came third out of the seven
Army triathletes who raced in the
WO1 Webber completed the
challenging 1.9km swim, 90.1km
bike ride and 21.1km run in a time
of 5hrs 22min and 19sec behind Sgt
Paul Evans and Capt Dale Cooper.
WO1 Megan Webber mid-run in the Cairns 70.3 Triathlon on June 11.
Maj Paul Baker
Cairns Ironman results:
Maj Paul Baker – 10hr
Sig Phil Corlis – 11hr
Cpl Clinton Luxford – 13hr
Cairns 70.3 Triathlon
Sgt Paul Evans – 5hr 5min
Capt Dale Cooper – 5hr
WO1 Megan Webber –
5hr 22min 19sec
“In the lead up to Cairns I was
training up to 20 hours a week,”
WO1 Webber said.
“I train twice a day 7 days a
week and leading up to Kona later
this year I will up it to more than 25
hours a week.”
WO1 Webber is not a stranger to
the Cairns 70.3 course, having raced
there in 2015.
“I have also raced the full
Ironman in Cairns three times, so I
know the course well,” she said.
“Leading up to Cairns I raced
a couple of local half Ironman dis-
tance races in Batemans Bay and
“In March I raced at the Ironman
NZ, in Taupo, coming 1st military
female and 6th in my age group.”
During her first leg, WO1
Webber felt good in the water, but
was not happy with her result.
“It was a rolling start which
spreads everyone out a bit and I was
slightly slower than what I hoped
for when I came out of the water
and saw my watch,” she said.
“It was also a long run to transi-
tion to get onto the bike.”
When she began riding WO1
Webber then began to tackle her
weakest leg of the event.
“The ride in Cairns is always
tough, as it has rolling hills, but the
scenery was beautiful,” she said.
“Then we had at least 50km
riding into a head wind back into
“During the run I felt good and
managed to pass 10 girls in my age
group, which allowed me to finish
strongly, as I came off the bike in
17th and managed to run into sev-
Even though her overall time
was slower than what she hoped,
WO1 Webber was happy with her
performance coming seventh in her
age group and 55th female overall.
“My time was on par with incon-
sistent training and where my fit-
ness level is currently at,” she said.
“My next big goal is rac-
ing in the Kona Ironman World
Championships in October.
“I’ve already started training and
it’s less than 16 weeks to go.”
In the lead up to
Cairns I was training
WO1 Megan Webber,
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