Derry’s Olympic triathlete, Aileen Morrison is looking forward to her end of season break after failing to finish the ITU Grand Final in Auckland during the early hours of Saturday morning.
Despite suffering from the effects of a cold, Morrison was towards the head of a world class field during the early stages of the swim, rounding the first buoy in 8th spot.
Over the second 750m loop Morrison moved through the field still further, exiting in a super quick time of 19min 04seconds and in 2nd place.
Rachel Klamer of the Netherlands was three seconds ahead while a number of the sport’s top swimmers were trailing behind.
With the depth of quality in elite racing rising year on the year, making the lead bike pack has become of real priority for athletes looking for a top result. Morrison has worked hard on her swim during the season and her swimming performance is a real positive to build on for the 2013 season.
Entering T1 and again Morrison had a smooth changeover allowing her to easily make the lead bike pack.
Over the twisting eight lap bike course the effects of a cold which Morrison had been suffering over the previous week came back to haunt her and she dropped off the pace, eventually recording the first ever Did Not Finish of her professional triathlon career.
“It was a tough call for someone like me, but after being passed by the second pack I knew I was cooked,” said Morrison afterwards.
“I spent much of last week resting after a cold. I just wasn’t up to the standard. I was second out of the water though so chin up.” Morrison reflected.
Germany’s Anna Haug went on to out run the rest of the field over the 10km run, winning in a time of 2:10:48. Gwen Jorgensen recorded the fastest run of the day in 34:10 to run from the chase pack into second place while Barcara Riveros Diaz rounded out the top three.
Olympic silver medallist Lisa Norden finished 4th which allowed her to clinch the overall Series Title and be crowned 2012 ITU World Champion.
Morrison will now enjoy an end of season break before returning to build on the success of her 2012 season which included Olympic qualification, a World Triathlon Series silver medal in Madrid, a World Cup silver medal in Japan, a European Cup silver medal in Portugal and a 17th place finish in the World Triathlon Series.