Photos courtesy

By Kent Gray/
Amelia Watkinson’s comeback from a broken elbow has had another silver lining with second place behind Aussie Ellie Salthouse at GWM Ironman 70.3 Melbourne on Sunday.

Watkinson’s podium comes after the Queensland-based Kiwi also snared silver at the Olympic-distance Garmin Noosa Triathlon a fortnight ago.

The 31-year-old Aucklander headlined the elite Kiwi trio in St Kilda with Hannah Berry (nee Wells) suffering a tough day on the bike but still battling to sixth, a position matched by Sam Osborne in the men’s race despite a frustrating five minute stop-go penalty.

Watkinson has fought back strongly from a momentum-sapping break suffered during a bike crash in Europe in late June.

“Overall I’m very pleased with my performance although second best is sometimes a hard pill to swallow,” Watkinson told after clocking 4:05:00 to finish 01:42 behind Salthouse on a podium rounded out by Dutchwoman Lotte Wilms (4:06:32).

“My swim is better than expected, my bike is really strong, and I know the run just needs a little more time which, to be honest, is right where we want to be at this stage of the season.”

Watkinson’s busy schedule continues this Sunday when she lines up in the Laguna Phuket Triathlon. The aim thereafter is middle-distance racing with the soon-to-be-announced PTO schedule and the Ironman 70.3 worlds in Lahti, Finland in August a key focus. Her build-up will include surgery in late January to remove the “hardware” used to stitch her elbow back together and possibly Challenge Wanaka on February 18.

“We’ve been working off a slightly different schedule since I crashed back end of June and I’ve been loving training. It’s amazing how small tweaks can really change your mental status and help bring you back up form a setback and actually leap you forward in the long run,” Watkinson said.

Berry, meanwhile, finished in 4:12:39, nearly 09:30 down on Salthouse. It’s given the Mt Maunganui 31-year-old plenty to ponder ahead of Ironman 70.3 New Zealand on December 10 as she continues her countdown to the defence of her full Ironman NZ title on March 4.

“Happy to be here racing but wasn’t the result I was after today, unfortunately… happy to stick it out to the end though,” Berry said of her sixth placing.

“My swim and run were okay but struggled to find my legs on the bike today. Hoping to put together a performance that better represents my training in three weeks’ time in Taupo.”

Adelaide’s Steve McKenna won the men’s title 3:39:12 – 09:09 clear of Osborne (pictured) who had been third out of the water and featured prominently on the bike before the penalty.

“Still not entirely sure what I did wrong to receive it but I can confirm five minutes is a bloody long time to be parked up on the side of the road watching the race disappear,” Osborne said via his Insta handle samosborne7.

“Left wondering how the day could have panned out but I guess 21km does one good to get some frustrations out. Onwards to the next one.”

GWM IRONMAN 70.3 Melbourne – Women’s Results

  1. Ellie Salthouse – 4:03:18
  2. Amelia Watkinson – 4:05:00
  3. Lotte Wilms – 4:06:32
  4. Radka Kahlefeldt – 4:07:51
  5. Anna Bergsten – 4:11:33
  6. Hannah Berry (nee Wells) – 4:12:39
  7. Sarah Crowley – 4:13:36
  8. Kirra Seidel – 4:15:32
  9. Chloe Hartnett – 4:20:42
  10. Laura Armstrong – 4:21:06

GWM IRONMAN 70.3 Melbourne – Men’s Results

  1. Steve McKenna – 3:39:12
  2. Charlie Quin – 3:42:23
  3. Nicholas Free – 3:43:04
  4. Kieran Storch – 3:44:23
  5. Fraser Walsh – 3:46:33
  6. Sam Osborne – 3:48:21
  7. Jarrod Osborne – 3:48:21
  8. Kurt Fryer – 3:50:51
  9. Matt Lewis – 3:52:06
  10. Calvin Amos – 3:53:39

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