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PORT Macquarie has won the heart of at least one tired athlete after yesterday’s gruelling Ironman Australia 70.3.
Winner Josh Amberger was quick to announce he’d be back in 2014 to defend his newly crowned title.
He crossed the line in under four hours with a time of three hours, 56 minutes and 48 seconds.
Sam Appleton was just a few minutes behind with a time of four hours and 11 seconds.
Joseph Lampe made up the podium spots with a time of four hours one minute and 35 seconds.
Port Macquarie’s Tim Berkel missed a podium opportunity and ran into fourth spot just 10 seconds later. But it was Amberger’s race to lose leading for the majority of the race.
The Brisbane-based athlete said he battled confidence issues ahead of the race but managed to pull it all together to blitz the opposition.
“Mentally I had to believe in what I can do,” he told the Port News moments after crossing the finish line.
“I’ve come from shorter races so I’m fairly new to these middle distance events.”
Amberger’s game plan worked a treat and was able to dictate terms of the race from the front early on.
He admitted his run wasn’t his best leg and so had to push it early on.
“In these races I really need to be out in front,” he said. “I need to be able to start with a lead and just hold on in the run which I did.”
Amberger echoed the thoughts of many Ironman competitors before him and claimed the bike leg to be the toughest.
“It’s all hard,” he said. “The roads are challenging because they’re so rough and then you’ve got the hills. But the swim, it was beautiful, it was so gorgeous. The water was lovely and clear.”
There’ll be no rest for the winner either as he prepares for the Noosa Triathlon in two weeks followed by the Shepparton 70.3 in November.
But he was certain about one thing, he would return to Port Macquarie next year.
“I love it here,” he said.