With a silver medal in his luggage, Michael Raelert travels from Thailand to the Ironman 70.3 Bahrain. This Sunday, the Rostockian delivered a tough battle at the Ironman 70.3 Thailand together with the reigning Ironman 70.3 World Champion, Tim Reed from Australia. "It was a really close one today," said Michael Raelert after finishing the competition in second place after 3:48:48 hours. At the finish line, Tim Reed was only 15 seconds in front. "Congratulations to Timmy," said Michael Raelert, "to lose against the reigning World Champion and such an experienced world class athlete is not a disgrace."
Throughout the entire race, these two athletes dominated the competition in Phuket. Although Australia’s Eric Watson was in first place after the 1.9 kilometer swim in 22:24 minutes, Michael Raelert in 22:28 minutes and Tim Reed in 22:32 minutes immediately appeared in the first transition. After that, the two favorites were clearly moving away from the rest of the field. "This was a really high level on the bike," said Michael Raelert. Together with Tim Reed he embarked on a 90 kilometer bike ride that eventually was about seven minutes faster than the third-best bike split. "We didn’t make any excuses", said Michael Raelert who experienced a short shocking situation on the bike when he lost his water bottle filled with Powergels. "That was a stupid moment," he said, "it was the only bottle I had at that point." While he was in the lead, Michael Raelert had to stop his ride to pick up the bottle again. "It was terribly humid, so I did not want to take any risk. Timmy reacted fair, he didn’t attack in this situation."
After 2:05:01 hours, Michael Raelert came off the bike in first place, but Tim Reed was right behind him. "When I started into the run, I probably had the better legs in the beginning," said Michael Raelert. He started opening up a small gap, and he felt good especially on the first ten kilometers. "Maybe I should have taken more risk in this situation," he said later, "but behind me, there was the World Champion running. I don’t have too much racing practice at the moment, that’s why I didn’t know if attacking is such a good idea." Michael Raelert kept his pace high, but he was overtaken by the Australian on the second half of the run. Tim Reed was able to open up a gap of almost 40 seconds, but then Michael Raelert fought back. "I got the second breath, but Tim was strong enough to hold on to his pace.” Michael Raelert needed 1:17:59 hours for the half marathon in extreme humidity to finish in second with a gap of only 15 seconds. In third place, the Australian Ironman Cairns champion Tim van Berkel crossed the line in 4:05:32 hours.
For Michael Raelert, the focus now is clearly on Ironman 70.3 Bahrain on December 10th. "Timmy and I will meet there again," he said with a look at the start list of the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship. "Of course there will be a lot more world-class athletes. But let's see if I can manage to put in some more in Bahrain. "
Photos: AsiaTRI.COM/Vinnie Santana