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© Henry Budgett
Morrison and Collins in Lanzarote stunner!
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Saturday 22nd May 2010


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Ironman Lanzarote 2010...oh_my_god!

Yes, there was a men's race today...but, no disrespect, that was a sideshow to the story unfolding among the women. We'll catch up on the men soon, but for now, here come the girls:

There is a short version... we predicted Cat Morrison would win, and she did.

But the long version is so much more interesting - with British ladies smashing it all over the island of Lanzarote.

It all started so 'normally' - super swimmer Hillary Biscay (one of the few athletes to race as often as Bella), exited the water first, with the two top Scots' and race favourites Bella Bayliss and Cat Morrison swimming strongly, losing just two minutes - nothing over this course and distance. Yvette Grice was fourth from the water, with Sydney 2000 Olympian Sian Brice sixth, and Louise Collins seventh - both racing in the age groups (40-44 and 25-29 respectively).

Now, we mentioned Louise in the weekend preview (briefly), but were 'in the loop' that she was in great form...to the point that we specifically didn't mention quite how good at the request of her coaching team to avoid any additional pressure. If you were following the Ironman Live coverage closely...just an hour into the race we had got the folllowing message to the reporting crew:

"I was warned earlier this morning by Ironmanlive correspondent Henry Budget (he was on deck in South Africa last month) that Louise Collins would be one of the women to watch here today ... and he was right.

The Brit was out of the water right behind Brice and there are a few people who think she could be on track for a top-five finish here today
"

Little did we know at this point, quite what was going to happen nine hours later! Back to the race...

The bike started as we expected - Morrison took the lead, Bayliss held second, having passed Biscay, and we looked all set for a Scottish showdown between the duo that raced together at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Collins was proving her swim wasn't a fluke - she has the pedigree on two wheels, finishing fourth last year in the National 100-mile Champs (4:18:52), as well at two wins at The Vitruvian amongst a host of domestic wins. (We even recognised her as Athlete of the Month in October 2008.

Bayliss was subsequently passed on the bike by a hard charging Tara Norton (CAN), but Cat was blowing the race part, building up a lead of over eight minutes on second place... until her chain snapped! With no way to fix it, and the on-course mobile mechanic miles away, Morrison was left to sit and wait at the side of the road, and watch athlete after athlete pass, and see her hopes disappear. Probably...

Tara Norton continued to push the pace in the absence of Morrison, her 5:26:22 split was a full15 minutes faster than all but Kate Bevilaqua (AUS), who recorded a 5:34:47. Morrison did get back into the race, with reports that her delay could have been as much as 40 minutes. Norton started the run with nine minutes advantage on the Aussie, Bayliss third (@ 11:45) and Collins still racing strongly (@ 19:10) in fifth. Tri247 columnist, and twice a top-10 overall finisher (as an age grouper) Jo Carritt was racing well after her usual 'ok' swim, sixth, @ 27:01. Catriona? TWENTY EIGHT minutes back...but not giving in yet. She needed a Kona spot. And maybe, just maybe, a little more?

By half way, Norton's lead had fallen, while Bella was on a charge and closing fast, having passed Bevilaqua. By 25km she was in the lead, looking for a third straight Lanzarote win, but Collins had been slowly closing the gap to Bella, and was now just four minutes down in third place, and running faster than the 15 time iron-distance winner. But, one lady was running even faster...surely Morrison couldn't come back? Four minutes down, one lap to go.

Nobody has more experience or desire to win than Bayliss, but the defending champion was fading in the final stages while leading the race, while the amazing Collins wasn't. Was an age group athlete - and one with a real full-time job too - about to win arguably the toughest Ironman race of them all, in her first ever race over the distance? Computer screens in Nottingham were hoping so. Collins took the lead...

...and with just 6km to go, Morrison was second, and barely a minute in arrears!

As they crossed the line...the amazing Morrison had caught and passed the equally stunning Collins to take the win by just 1:28. "The normal limits do not apply" is the motto of Ironman Lanzarote, and if you ever needed proof of that, Morrison and Collins delivered that and more - stunning, what an incredible race! Bella held strong to finish fourth, Yvette Grice took eighth (sixth pro) and Jo Carritt finished ninth (seventh pro) to finish in the money in her first race as a pro.

2000 Olympian Sian Brice, who is 'mum' rather than 'athlete' these days, showed class is permanent, winning the 40-44 age group by a huge margin, fourth amongst all female age groupers and 14th overall. See you in Kona Sian?

Cat Morrison and Lou Collins ©Henry Budgett

Pos Women
1st Catriona Morrison (GBR) 10:03:52
2nd Louise Collins (GBR) 10:05:20
3rd Nicole Woysch (GER) 10:11:17


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