Experience the Difference



1st Place, Womens Metaman Half – Janine Willis
Finish time: 5:02:00

2nd Place, Womens Metaman Half – Lauren Jones
Finish time: 5:09:16


With these two taking out first and second female over the line, their age difference meant that they both took out first in their respective age groups as well.
Janine took out the 6th spot over every competitor (men and women) in the Half, while Lauren crossed the line in 9th overall.


Metaman Triathlon, Bintan Island September 15th 2012



The weekend of September 15th, I had the privilege of attending the inaugural MetaMan triathlon on Bintan Island, alongside three great athletes, Thomas Bakowski, Janine Willis and Lauren Jones. All of whom I have had the pleasure of coaching over the past years.

I decided to go and ‘have a look’ at the event mainly because the timing suits Perth triathletes well, filling a gap in the lead up to the Ironman World Championship in October for people in the Southern Hemisphere. To have an event to take athletes to that is reasonably close to Perth and on the same time zone, is as close to perfect for anyone’s lead up to Champs as they can hope for.

The event was 2 events in one, an iron distance event commencing at 7am on Saturday and finishing on the mandatory cut off time of 17hrs later and a half Iron distance event, commencing at 12.30pm, with a cut off time at midnight for this event.

After a short flight to Singapore we arrived to the ferry terminal where it was evident there had been meticulous organisation of the Meta Sport organising team. One such example was the placement of signs at the Ferry terminal in Singapore with directions on how the team will transport the athletes’ bikes to Bintan Island.

On checking into the Nirwana Gardens hotel there was further signage with clear details of the entire schedule with locations, right through from Thursday until the post event lunch on Sunday.

Registration kicked off on Thursday from 2pm, and ran smoothly with clear direction and management from the Metaman team.

A run recce was arranged for Thursday evening showing the run leg to anyone who wanted to see it firsthand and familiarise themselves with what was to come. By this time the entire transition area including the finish line was almost completely finished and ready for the early start on Saturday morning.

On Friday morning there was a well-attended ‘practice’ swim leaving from the start line with the buoys and lane ropes out for athletes to get a feel of the first part of the swim, starting on the beach.

The iron distance event, whilst low on numbers in the age group categories, was however very strong in the men’s and women’s professional fields, one of whom was EliteSportz athlete Tom Bakowski. This was to be his first race as a professional after 8 years of continual improvement as a very high achieving age group competitor.

The start of the iron distance race went off without a hitch on a 2xlap swim leg. Lap 1 going out to the East and back to the start line where the athletes exited the water briefly and then went onto a 1900m lap that was also the half iron distance swim course, finishing around a point to the transition area. The swim was won by new comer to triathlon Brett Carter.

Tom’s swim time whilst a fair distance behind the leaders wasn’t too worrying at this stage as his real strengths, his bike and run legs, were yet to come. At the end of lap 1(90km) of the tough bike course Tom had made up the ground as expected and was only 1minute behind a group of professional athletes that included 3rd place finisher, Petr Vabrousek, so all was going to plan.

In the mean time the half distance athletes, Including EliteSportz very own Janine Willis (35-39 age group) and Lauren Jones (25-29 age group), were occupying themselves with warm-ups and mental preparation as the unusual start time of 12.30 in the afternoon gave them extra time that they don’t normally have due to almost all events usually beginning in the early morning.  It was an interesting exercise as a coach to see athletes spending so much extra time in their own heads going over and over what is about to come.

As the half distance athletes were poised on the start line, the first 2 male professionals finished the bike leg. Hence, Brett Carter and Aaron Farlow were out onto the 6x7km lap run course before the half distance event had even begun.

As I waited on the shore to talk the girls through their placement, transition and bike leg, I was elated to watch Lauren exiting the water in 3rd place overall and Janine right behind her in 4th place. Because I hadn’t seen the bike leg myself I wasn’t too sure what sort of time to expect from either Lauren or Janine, I just had to wait in the transition area until they came back into T2, as it is a single 90km lap. This works out still as I have the opportunity to watch everyone and track people as they came into the transition. Allowing me to update the girls once they got in.

While I waited there Tom came into T2 looking rather distressed having lost a good deal of time on lap 2 of the bike, I knew something was up with him.  The good thing about being a very hands-on coach is I gain the ability to notice quite easily when something is not right. Once out onto the run leg it was blatantly obvious that he wasn’t in a good way. He lasted less than 1km before the pain he was experiencing in his back forced him to withdraw and seek some medical attention. As I write this many days later it is still unsure as to the reason that Tom had a problem in an event and conditions that suit his physiology. It is a hard ‘pill’ to take when an athlete trains so hard and intensely for something they really desire, only to have it ripped from their grasp at the last minute. The only thing humanly possible to do is to have a good preparation and be sure not to do anything out of the ordinary before a competition. All of which both, Tom and I feel we accomplished, meaning this is an unfortunate situation that could not have been planned for or avoided. Still In situations like this the Coach and the athlete have to debrief and try to work out what the reason was and how they can monitor this going into the future. It seemed a long wait after that, not just for Janine or Lauren to come through but even the first of the age group men seemed to be a long time as well, the bike course was obviously tougher than I first thought. Eventually the men started to come in and in fact it wasn’t too long after that Janine came into T2 with a bike leg time of 2:38min followed by Lauren, with a time of 2:48min on the bike. It was great as a coach to see two athletes I managed still leading the women in 1st and 2nd overall.

The 7km run lap was a combination of many surfaces and included some undulations. There was cobbled pavement, concrete, tarmac road, sand and grass so it made for a very ‘honest’ race. But after the girls participated on the run leg recce we were confident in their ability and preparation. Throughout the run Janine continued to maintain her lead and was the eventual named the winner in a time of 5:02:00. Lauren had a really solid run leg with the pressure being put on her due to a strong performance from Darwin athlete Stefanie Puszka. Lauren finished with Puszka hot on her heels, in 2nd position overall in the women’s event with a time of 5:09:16.


-Janine Willis & Lauren Jones (left to right)

The iron distance event was won by 2 relative newcomers to the long distance triathlon scene, Brett Carter and Candice Hammond. These two, look to have bright futures in this code of racing.


  -Brett Carter (Australia)          – Candice Hammond (N.Z)

Being a Coach I feel a lot on any day of racing, as I go through whatever the athletes I am with go through. MetaMan was a bittersweet day for me because of the tough day and eventual DNF for Tom. Not only is he one of the athletes I coach but after many years working together I felt for him as a friend. However on the other hand as a Coach you have to be happy with the 1st and 2nd overall placing’s from Janine Willis and Lauren Jones. Both of whom won their respective age groups

I really feel that the future of MetaMan, both distances  providing it receives support from age group athletes, is assured and has the potential to be a ‘must do’ event for all athletes who really want to test themselves in an event that is honest in every way. I am sure to attend again next year and suggest it to all of the athletes I coach and stand to gain something from the competition. Hopefully EliteSportz will have a greater presence at the 2013 MetaMan and my athletes and I will be able to meet many more new and inspirational people.

If anyone is interested in doing this race I highly recommend it. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions about the race, training, or anything else you may have concerns about. www.elitesportz.com.au


See you in 2013 MetaMan!



Andrew Ivey Head Coach/Owner of EliteSportz Specialist




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