ENTERING the run leg of Sunday's Ironman Cairns, Bathurst's Peta Cutler was thinking about what happened last time she was on the path towards a triathlon podium finish.
But unlike February's Huskisson Triathlon, where Cutler had to withdraw due to heat stress, her Cairns endeavour was a nothing short of a triumph as she claimed silver in the women's 35-39 years division.
Cutler completed the 3.8 kilometre swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run in a time of 10 hours, 17 minutes and six seconds - a new personal best in her third attempt at the Ironman distance.
Her result would have been enough to score her first ticket to the famed Kona Ironman World Championships had international travel been a possibility.
Cutler journeyed north for her first race on the Cairns circuit with one thing at the forefront of her mind - maintaining race nutrition.
"I feel like Husky was maybe a blessing in disguise. I focused on getting my nutrition and training right in the lead up to Cairns to avoid that happening again," she said.
"I went in with no expectations, because it's such a long day in an Ironman, and you never know how that day is going to unfold. I was worried about the swim, however, I felt really comfortable and was happy with my time.
"The wind was well and truly up on the bike when we turned to head back towards Cairns. The road surface was great and scenery was beautiful, but that wind was tough so I focused on pacing myself. The plan was to try and pick things up on the way back into town, and I think I managed to do that.
"I walked every aid station on the run and made sure that I got all my nutrients in and I think it all paid off in the end."
With the ticket to Hawaii sadly not a possibility for Cutler she's already looking towards next year's Cairns event.
"To come away with second in a very competitive age group is amazing. I came in hoping that I could get somewhere around 10 and a half hours and I managed to beat that," she said.
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"It's bittersweet because it would have been a Kona spot but this year we unfortunately can't travel. For anyone who does this sport that's the holy grail of triathlon, so maybe next time I can get there."
Bathurst Wallabies Triathlon club was well represented in the Ironman event.
Luke Gillmer was the best overall placed finisher, cracking the top 100 and breaking the 10-hour mark with his time of 9:48:33 to finishing 97th overall.
Hollee Simons (10:50:20) came away with silver in the 18-24 years division, finishing fastest in her category over the bike leg and coming within four minutes of the gold.
Chris Howarth (10:15:23) finished inside the top 20 in the men's 25-29 years race, Kath Stusel (13:22:43) was inside the top 10 of the women's 55-59 years division and Keith Tuynman (12:47:58) completed his 10th triathlon in the city.
Fran and Chris Grady crossed the line together to complete a great day for Bathurst in the Ironman event.
Terry Roberts was right in the mix for the Ironman 70.3 crown in the men's 55-59 years division, claiming bronze in a time of 5:00:24.
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