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Kevin Collington picked up his first victory of the season at IRONMAN 70.3 Japan last weekend.

Following the swim, Jack Tierney held a 10 second advantage on a group of 5 including Lindsey Lawry, Alex Polizzi, Pete Jacobs, Sam Douglas and Collington, with TJ Tollakson close to two minutes further back.

Wet conditions marred an already technical bike course which started with four 15km loops through industrial parks with over 20 turns per lap followed by a 25km journey through town featuring multiple 180 degree turns, all highlighted by slippery road paint to navigate.

Collington said, “I knew the bike course for 70.3 Japan was very technical going into the race – but I never envisioned having to race on it in pouring rain! It was dry upon entering transition to setup in the morning, but 30 minutes later the rain had started in earnest. Before the swim start, I ran back to transition to lower my tire PSI from my normal racing pressure to 80 psi – this may have been what saved me out on the bike course.”

Rather than risk a crash, Collington opted to ride cautiously and commented that he “felt fortunate to stay upright” but found himself 4 minutes behind the leading duo of Lawry and Tierney heading into T2 in 4th position.

Onto the run, Collington was finally able to open it up, stating “I did not run with caution – I ran HARD.”

“I had no idea what the gaps were at the time but despite having very tired legs from accelerating out of so many turns on the bike course, my run legs were on fire.”

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Collington ran a race best run split of 1:14:31, over 1 minute quicker than eventual 2nd place finisher Jack Moody, taking the lead and never looking back till he crossed the line. “I caught the leader at 12km but kept the pressure on all the way to the finish, knowing that better runners may be coming from behind – like Jack Moody, who just ran a 1:07 open half marathon a few weeks ago. I was surprised to win, but so happy after such difficult racing conditions.”

Collington broke the tape in a time of 4:00:29 to win IRONMAN 70.3 Japan. Moody crossed the line in 2nd place, 2:07 back while Betten finished a further 36 seconds behind in 3rd. Relieved by the result given the conditions, Collington remarked “I’m elated to win 70.3 Japan in such difficult conditions. The rain truly made life difficult for everyone given the extremely technical bike course, and to come away with my first win of the year in these conditions was more than I had hoped for.”

June 9, 2019

1 Kevin Collington 4:00:29
2 Jack Moody 4:02:36
3 Sam Betten 4:03:12
4 Jack Tierney 4:03:43
5 Lindsey Lawry 4:05:00
6 Nick Baldwin 4:06:04
7 Sam Douglas 4:09:16
8 TJ Tollakson 4:10:47
9 Alexander Polizzi 4:15:04
10 Pete Jacobs 4:15:05