Jaray Jearanai and Sarah Wheeler each took out second place overall in the men’s and women’s categories respectively.
But it didn’t come easy. Both athletes said the bike course was extremely challenging, littered with potholes and even consisting of dirt road in some sections.
“I think I had a good race,” 31-year-old Jaray said. “I had a good preparation at Thanyapura and I was in good shape for the swim. I felt really good on the bike.”
Despite the poor quality of the road surface for the bike leg, Jaray said the flat course still gave him an advantage.
“It was very easy for me. I normally train in the hills, but this was very flat.”
Jaray transitioned off the bike in fourth place, and managed to gain another two places over the fairly flat running course to take out second in a time of 2:15, three minutes behind the overall winner.
Sarah, meanwhile, suffered a severe jellyfish sting early in the swim leg, but managed to push through the pain and leg cramps.
The 37-year-old owner and editor of TriMag Asia magazine moved to Phuket only two and a half weeks ago after living in Hong Kong for 26 years, and said while her preparation was not ideal, she was happy with her overall race.
“I had a good swim – I think I came first out of the water in the women’s competition,” she said, adding that she was only metres behind Jaray at that point.
The jellyfish sting took its toll in the bike leg, with Sarah suffering cramps and fatigue, but she still managed to stay out front at the final transition.
“But in the run, I died,” she said. Sarah was passed at the 7km mark, though still managed to hold on for second in a time of 2:44, three minutes behind women’s winner Kathrin Puff.
“I wish the run had gone a little better, but I’m happy to come in second,” she said. “It was a nice first race in Thailand. I enjoyed it.”
Jaray is now preparing for next month’s Ironman 70.3 in Las Vegas, while Sarah will head to Weihai, China, for the ITU Longcourse on September 19.