WHILE most people were relaxing during the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, two Maccabi triathletes from Sydney – Brett Yudelman and Paul Ephron – were sweating it out in the tropical North Queensland heat along with more than 2500 entrants in the Cairns Asia Pacific Ironman 70.3 Championships.
The beautiful but gruelling half-Ironman race along the coast from Palm Cove to Cairns, consisting of a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21.1km run, also served as a qualifying event for remaining Australia team spots for the 2018 World Triathlon 70.3 Championships to be held at Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in September.
Maccabiah Games bronze medallist and Australian team captain Yudelman (55-59 men’s category) and Ephron (50-54) – both members of the Maccabi NSW Triathlon and Cycle Club – remarkably finished the race only four seconds apart, with Ephron just in front at 5 hours, 38 minutes and 7 seconds, finishing 359th overall.
Both dealt well with choppy seas in the swim leg, and strong winds during the cycling and running stages, and told The AJN they enjoyed the supportive crowds and great atmosphere of Cairns locals and event volunteers that kept everyone’s spirits up.
Yudelman earned a higher age division rank of 20th, compared to Ephron’s 24th, and also accumulated 331 more qualifying points, which ultimately rewarded him with a spot in the 55-59 year age group Australian team for the worlds.
The winner of the event, 24-year-old Sunshine Coast triathlete Simon Hearn, clocked 4 hours and 9 minutes.
Yudelman described his Australian team selection as “the icing on the cake”, having earlier this year narrowly missed out on earning a spot in the sprint version of the World Triathlon Championships, scheduled for the Gold Coast in September.
His Australian teammates at the 2017 Maccabiah Games – father and son Julian and Daniel Rivkin, Barry Lipp, Josh Goldstat and Neil Slonim – all qualified in their age groups for that event, which consists of a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run.