FORMER three-time winner Mirinda Carfrae posted her fastest-ever time in the Hawaii ironman triathlon on the comeback from starting as family as one record-breaker proposed to his girlfriend and the other revealed she has almost pulled out before smashing the course record.
Multiple winner Carfrae and last year’s bronze medallist Sarah Crowley lead the way for Australia with a fifth and sixth in perfect conditions while former Olympic rower and pro cyclist Cameron Wurf smashed his own bike record (4:09.06) by almost three minutes before finishing ninth in the arduous endurance event.
Carfrae’s time of 8:50:44 was her fastest ever in Hawaii with daughter Izzy and husband Tim O’Donnell, fourth in the men’s race, at the finish line to see her race home.
“You hold yourself to a higher standard when their little eyes are watching everything you do,’’ Carfrae said. “I just always want to make her proud.”
Carfrae said she ran out of steam in her first ironman since Izzy’s birth last year but would be back in 2019 for another title at being the first Australian to win four Hawaii ironman world crowns.
“I’m disappointed. It was the best conditions I have ever seen but not my best performance,’’ she said.
Swiss athlete Daniela Ryf shattered the Hawaii ironman triathlon record by 18 minutes for a fourth consecutive victory while German powerhouse Sebastian Lange became the first man to go under eight hours in the Hawaii ironman history with his mark of 7hrs 52min 39sec.
While Lange proposed to his girlfriend Julia Hofmann at the finish Ryf revealed she what almost pulled out of the 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42.2km run race after being stung twice by jellyfish just before the start of the opening leg.
“I couldn’t lift my arms. I thought I would quit,’’ Ryf said.
Instead she smashed her own course record when she crossed the finish line in 8:26.16.
Ryf beat Lucy Charles (8:36:32) and Anna Haug (8:41:57) with Lange finishing ahead of Bart Aernouts 7:56:41 and David McNamee.
It was only the third time in 15 years an Australian woman has failed to make the Hawaii ironman podium.
No Australian man has won the race since Peter Jacobs in 2012 with the last female winner Carfrae in 2014.