Swiss superwoman and former Bay rep Derron wins Ironman
IT CAME as no surprise to renowned Hervey Bay triathlon coach Brian Harrington that Nina Derron attributed her Ironman 70.3 Geelong victory to her ability on the bike.
The Swiss athlete secured victory in her first attempt at the distance in 4hrs 26mins 11sec, seven seconds ahead of Melbourne hopeful Grace Thek.
Harrington, who coached Derron when she was on exchange at Urangan State High School in 2009 and 2010, said the bike had always been her strongest leg.
Derron, who turns 25 today, won an individual state silver and national relay gold medal when she represented Wide Bay in triathlon in 2010.
While she spent only a year in Hervey Bay, it clearly left an impression on the Zurich-based athlete.
"I really enjoyed my time in Hervey Bay," Derron told the Chronicle. "I made friends for life and I was honoured to represent Queensland at the National School Championships."
Derron did not know what to expect when she arrived at Geelong for the event last week, but the athlete earned a dramatic victory. Thek appeared to have the race won when she fell in the final moments.
"I just had to stay focussed because I knew that Grace was flying and I just tried to hold on to the lead for as long as possible," Derron said.
"The race favourites were absent and I didn't know any of the other girls. I knew I had trained well, so I was very excited to get out there and do my best.
"I know I can still improve on my run performance and I have been able to run faster in the past, but that is racing you just give it all you've got on the day."
Derron returned to Zurich today, where she will finish her masters degree in Biomedical Engineering.
Her goal for this year is to complete her first full Ironman, and finish on the podium at Ironman World Championship at Kona, Hawaii, in October.
"Racing in Europe will only start in April and May, but I haven't completely planned my season yet."