Aileen Morrison has further cemented her reputation as one of triathlons top international competitors with a second place finish at the Ishigaki ITU World Cup in Japan this morning.
The Derry native was feeling optimistic coming into the race and had focused on putting a solid performance together in all three disciplines.
She started the season with a second place finish in the Quarteira European Cup in Portugal after pulling out a blistering 35 minute 10k run. This was followed up by a somewhat disappointing result at the Sydney World Triathlon Series where, after a quick swim, Morrison faded to 28th on the run citing stomach issues.
Morrison’s swim training has clearly paid off as she had the best of starts in Japan with an 18min 04sec 1500m swim, which saw her exit the water in second place. A smooth 26 second transition had Morrison onto the 40km bike course in the lead pack.
Onto the 10km run and Morrison exited T2 towards the back of the field. “I wasn’t in a good position coming out of T2 but I took it nice and steady and tried to catch up.” She said.
She quickly moved through the field to battle with Brault of Canada for second position. “We were playing tactics a little bit and it was a case of sheltering from the wind and seeing who would do more work,” Morrison added.
Coming into the final lap Morrison had the better legs and kicked on in the final few hundred meters to take her second podium finish of the season.
“I’m pleased with silver. Obviously a little disappointed I couldn’t have a chance at the gold but Kathy had an amazing race and she ran really well so fair play to her.”
“I wish I had of been with her coming out of T2 and maybe I’d have had a better chance.”
Kathy Tremblay won in a time of 2:05:38 with Morrison 20 seconds back and Sarah-Anne Brault third.
Also racing was Olympic hopeful Gavin Noble who did his qualification chances no harm with a 24th place finish.
Noble had work to do after exiting the swim in the second pack. Biking hard with a number of other riders they reeled in the breakaway group of seven on the fifth lap. When it looked like they may all enter T2 together another group of five surged away in the late stages to build a 50 second advantage.
Noble caught all but two of the breakaway riders finishing off with a 32:31 10km run.
“Gavin is still building his fitness so we’re happy with the result,” said Triathlon Ireland High Performance Director Chris Jones.