Hancock wins Ironwoman title
A CONSISTENT season has delivered Courtney Hancock her first Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironwoman championship.
The Sawtell-raised surf star braved teeming rain in the deciding race at Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast yesterday to finish fifth behind Liz Pluimers.
Commonwealth Games swimming gold-medallist Rebecca Creedy scored the best result of her professional ironwoman career by grabbing second, while Gemma Newbiggen was third.
Yesterday's fifth-place finish was Hancock's worst result of the five-race series but enough to give her the overall title.
Hancock claimed two runner-up finishes and two thirds in the opening four rounds.
Her overall victory ensured she was awarded the inaugural Karla Gilbert medal.
Pluimers had led the pointscore before crashing to her first defeat of the season in the unforgiving surf at Portsea last weekend and yesterday's comeback victory was bittersweet.
It elevated her to second place with 84 points, six adrift of Hancock while Alicia Marriott (78) finished third overall.
In the lead-up to yesterday's finale, Hancock said she was hoping to claim a round victory to cap off her remarkable season.
But after crossing the line she put the disappointment of her fifth-place effort behind her and revelled in the history she'd just created.
“It doesn't take the shine off it but it's actually a childhood dream come true,” she said.
“This series is what people want to win.
“Just because I didn't get a (race) win, people have done it before without getting a win.
“This is what I came to do and I'm just so happy.”
Seemingly unstoppable all season, Pluimers said finishing on a high took away some of the pain of her Portsea disappointment ... but not much.
“The Karla Gilbert medal (for series champion) was what I was aiming for,” she said.
“It's a bit unfortunate I couldn't get away with that but I'm happy to win four from five.”
Meanwhile, Bonnie Hancock turned in another consistent effort to finish eighth in the final race, a result that elevated her to 10th overall of the 20 competitors.
Bonnie's best performance was her seventh in round two at Manly.
In the ironman event, Shannon Eckstein racked up his third straight series win with a fifth-place effort yesterday.
Zane Holmes won the race to finish third overall behind Mooloolaba's Matt Poole.