Triathlete Hannah Pace Wins Age Group in Turkey

Saturday, November 7, 2015, 10:24

Triathlete Hannah Pace Wins Age Group at Inaugural Ironman 70.3 Turkey

Hannah Pace and Margaret Seguna secure podium placing in the Turkish Riviera. 

The Maltese contingent consisting of National Team Triathletes Graham Borg, Hannah Pace, Margaret Seguna and Michelle Vella Wood, took part in the inaugural Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Antalya. The contingent certainly held the Maltese flag high with all four triathletes shining in their respective categories.

Set in the Turkish Riviera, the race was held in relatively adverse conditions which were further exacerbated with the heavy rainfall that hit the area in the days preceding the race.  The 1.9km swim was a two loop course held in Belek Beach. Rough seas impeded the usual wave starts and organisers adopted a rolling start – this type of start saw athletes line up according to their predicted swim time, with groups of ten athletes sent off at five second intervals.  The 90km cycle was held in arduous conditions – where the first part of the course was flat and fast, the second part was the total opposite – hilly, wet, muddy and uneven roads.  The 21km run was a two loop flat course where lively city scenes and lush green areas merged to greet the thousands of athletes taking part.

Pembroke Athleta’s Hannah Pace, was competing in her second Ironman 70.3. Her first outing in Budapest saw her win her Age Group (18-24) and thus winning a coveted place in the 2016 World Ironman 70.3 Championships in Australia, the first Maltese female to do so.  Pace continued to show her mettle by giving a repeat performance in Turkey. Marked improvements were registered in her swim. With the rolling start in place, Pace was able to leave with the fastest swim group, three minutes after the female pro category.  By shaving off four minutes from her previous time Pace clocked the fourth fastest swim of the day. In the cycling segment Pace was able to keep up with the front group with only one pro female in front of her, although the markedly tougher route was dotted with bumpy roads, muddy and wet sections, this did not deter Pace from pushing ahead to keep the same bike split registered in Budapest where conditions were far more favourable.  Pace’s efforts in the cycling segment did have some slightly adverse effects in the run when she fell behind a few pro athletes. However, she maintained her timing for this distance to finish the race in 4 hours 42 minutes and 58 seconds, thus clinching first place on the podium, tenth place in the overall female category and breaking the current National record.

“I am still overwhelmed with my result in Turkey.  This season has been very demanding and whilst deep down I was aiming for a personal best time, upon seeing the sea and cycle route conditions I was made to think otherwise. As the race progressed, the fact that I was up with some of the top pros kept me motivated to keep pushing and somehow managed the same bike split I had had in Budapest which is pancake flat. I got a bit too carried away in this segment and paid the price in the run where pro after pro flew by me,” commented Pace after the race. “Considering its my second experience there are quite a few areas that need fine tuning and some errors that could have been avoided with some more experience.”

Mellieha AC triathlete Margaret Seguna is also fresh in the Ironman 70.3 scene.  Having claimed the local Middle Distance Championship title in May, Seguna’s outing in Turkey was her first international experience in this distance. Seguna, who hails from a running background, showed determined strength to clinch third place on her Age Group’s (30-34) podium finishing the race in 4 hours 55 minutes 35 seconds.

Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club triathlete and multiple Ironman finisher Graham Borg began his first Ironman 70.3 race on a positive note having completed the swim in 23 minutes. However, half way through the 90km bike course, Borg suffered a setback when he crashed at 40km/hr. The crash caused Borg to lose precious time since he had to contend with technical problems on his bike as well as injuring his hip and knee in the process. Determination to keep pushing till the end was rewarded with Borg finishing sixth in his Age Group (30 – 34) and earn a place in the 2016 World Ironman Championships in Australia.

Having turned pro this year Michelle Vella Wood (Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club) registered substantial improvements in her swim and run segments. Her gritty performance saw her complete the tough course in a personal best time and complete the Top 10 list of a heavily contested pool of female pro athletes.

With the 2015 Triathlon racing season well and truly over, all athletes will be earning a well deserved break before resuming their training programmes in preparation for the next season.


Hannah Pace


Graham Borg


Margaret Seguna


Michelle Vella Wood


Leave a comment