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The highest of highs, and the lowest of lows: Celebrating Blues & Sports Awards #2

The highest of highs, and the lowest of lows: Celebrating Blues & Sports Awards #2


”It is not an easy feat to put a disappointing race behind you and turn it around two weeks later, so this is a result that I am very proud of.” Ellie Salthouse earnt a lot of Frequent Flyer miles this year as she took on the world in triathlon championships – she’s here to share her accomplishments ahead of the Sports and Blues Awards at Charles Sturt.

Written by Ellie Salthouse

This year started much like any other for me, with the Australian long course season beginning in January at 70.3 Tasmania.

The first race of the year always comes as a shock to me, having just come off the back of a long USA season of racing in 2022, the off-season is a fine balance of recovering the body while still doing enough work to be able to toe the line in January.

I am always very nervous going into the first race of the year, never really knowing where my fitness is at, but 70.3 Tasmania ended up being a great race for me.

I took the tape, and the course record, and some much-needed confidence for the upcoming season.

Ellie Salthouse at Ironman 70.3 Tasmania.

A few weeks later, I travelled down to Huskisson, NSW for the Australian long-course Championships.

I had previously won this event in 2021, but was unable to race in 2022 due to injury, so was excited to get back out there and continue my winning form.

I had another successful race and took the Australian title for another year. 

After Huskisson, I travelled across to Goondiwindi for a favourite local race of mine, Hell of the West Triathlon (HOTW).

HOTW has a great country town atmosphere and the whole community gets behind the event and the athletes.

I was extremely nervous going into this one, as I was racing the current World ranked #1 athlete, and knew it was going to be a tough day to get on that top step.

Unfortunately luck wasn’t on my side during this one; while riding with the World #1, I dropped a water bottle off my bike while going over a set of train tracks.

This meant I had to turn back and retrieve it, losing valuable time to my competitor.

Although frustrated, I managed to continue on and finish in second position. These things happen during racing sometimes, I just had to take the positives and move on.

This concluded my Australian season and I returned back home to QLD to pack my life into a suitcase and prepare for seven months on the road racing internationally.

My first stop was Ibiza, Spain to race the PTO European Open against the best athletes in the world.

This was a huge race in the scheme of things for me, so I wanted to have a great showing.

I unfortunately fell sick from my trip over and fell well short of my performance goals, finishing in 19th position. This was a real disappointment and my confidence took a battering.

I decided after the disappointment of Ibiza that I needed to get back on the horse two weeks later and race Ironman 70.3 Kraichgau in Germany.

This was another chance to race some of the World’s top ranked athletes, so I intended to make the most of this opportunity.

I had a great race, finishing in 3rd position, only 9 seconds behind 2nd and 50 seconds behind 1st.

It is not an easy feat to put a disappointing race behind you and turn it around two weeks later, so this is a result that I am very proud of.

Ellie on the podium.

After Germany, my partner/coach and I headed across to the USA to base ourselves in Bend, Oregon for a training camp.

This was a chance for us to get some solid work done at altitude, to prepare for the impending Championship season in August.

I’m very proud of the work that we were able to achieve and the level of fitness that we gained in the 8 weeks at altitude.

August was my busiest month to date; three championship races in four weeks on three different continents.

The first of these was the PTO US Open in Milwaukee, WI, USA, where I would have another chance to race the World’s greatest.

I had a stellar race here, finishing in 6th, with my best ever performance on the world stage.

Next up was PTO Asian Open in Singapore, just two weeks later. I flew across to Singapore straight from Milwaukee to ensure I allowed plenty of time between the long-haul flight and race day.

Training and preparations were going great, and my family and a close friend even flew over from Australia to support and watch the event.

A few days out, disaster struck, and I caught conjunctivitis and a bacterial infection from swimming in contaminated water. Consequently, I started the event but just could not finish.

An unfortunate incident that was out of my control. Three courses of antibiotics after the race, and I was on the mend.

Only six days later, I had to turn things around for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Lahti, Finland.

I left Singapore immediately after the race and headed across to Finland. This race ended up being a very hard pill to swallow, for very different reasons this time.

I was having the race of my life, exiting the water and riding with the lead group of five women. I was feeling great and prepared for an epic foot race to finish off.

However, I received TWO x 5 minute penalties whilst out on the bike, forcing me into the penalty tent for 10 minutes.

I still have not yet received clarity on my exact infringements, both were for some sort of drafting infringement.

The judgment call of the referees who ride motorbikes beside the athletes, is final and cannot be protested, no matter the opinion of the penalised athlete.

I continued on after serving my 10 minute violation in 35th position, and had one of my best half marathons off the bike, running myself back into 13th position.

A very frustrating day.

Three weeks later, after a little downtime in the Greek Islands, we headed to Samarkand, Uzbekistan to race Challenge Samarkand. This was the inaugural event in Samarkand, and was a remarkable city to visit and experience.

I had another great race, and finally got to showcase the form that I was in for the previous two races, breaking the tape and taking the course record.   

Ellie Salthouse after taking the course record at Samarkand

I am now back in USA in St George, Utah, where I will train for a few months ahead of my final races for the year.

In November I will race in Brazil, and in December I will race in Bahrain, before returning home to Australia to start my 2024 domestic season.

A final note.

Thank you Ellie for sharing your athletic journey. We wish you all the best for your final races in Brazil and Bahrain.

The Sports and Blues Awards at Charles Sturt University recognise and celebrate the sporting achievements of sporting clubs, teams and student athletes.

Nominations are now open for the 2023 Sports and Blues Awards closing on October 9. To find out more or nominate, click here.

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