Last year's champion Leon Griffin is looking to finish off his season on a high by claiming his third Ironman 70.3 Shepparton crown.MARC MCGOWAN November 15, 2012 4:50am
Leon Griffin didn’t need long to decide what to do with Ironman World Championships officials’ last-minute offer for him to compete in the sport’s most prestigious event.
Bendigo’s Griffin, 32, has never contested the race, which brings together the world’s best professional and age-group ironman competitors in Kona, Hawaii, each October.
But the reigning Ironman 70.3 Shepparton champion didn’t want to do it that way.
‘‘I still haven’t got to Kona and I would love to get to Kona next year,’’ Griffin said.
‘‘I was offered the last spot in the field, but my preparation would have been compromised and it wouldn’t have been worth it.
‘‘I could go and finish the race and maybe come 25th, but that’s not what I’m in it for.’’
Griffin, who spent the past year as a professional triathlete again, said among his goals was at least a top-10 finish at Kona, or even a placing on debut, but achieving that would require an ideal preparation.
‘‘I’m pretty sure if I had done it I would have written off the rest of my season and not been able to defend races like this race in Shepparton, which is important to me,’’ he said.
‘‘Another goal would be to win three Shepparton races and, hopefully, that’s the first one I can tick off this weekend.’’
Griffin also won in Shepparton in 2008, before the event received 70.3 status and was still known as the Shepparton Half Ironman.
He managed to avoid the drama rivals Matty White, Ollie Whistler and Matt Bailey endured in last year’s race, when they accidentally — but illegally — cut part of the course and saved about 30 seconds.
That trio eventually served a five-minute penalty for the action, as Griffin went on to win in three hours, 51 minutes and 27 seconds — well ahead of Monty Frankish (4.03:13) and Luke Whitmore (4.04:40).
Griffin has not won a race since, although he has finished second on multiple occasions, including at Ironman San Juan Puerto Rico 70.3 and Ironman 70.3 Timberman.
He based himself in Boulder, Colorado while he raced on the tough United States triathlon circuit.
‘‘I would like to win a couple of big ironmans and some more half ironmans. I want to consistently win some of those,’’ Griffin said.
‘‘But being able to be 100 per cent self-sufficient and being able to pay your bills and mortgage and make it a profession (is the major goal).’’
Griffin said a third Shepparton win on Sunday would be a “perfect” ending to his season, but he was also looking forward to seeing the ‘‘passionate’’ Ironman 70.3 Shepparton organisers again.
Relay For Life participants took to Shepparton's Princess Park at the weekend to raise funds for the fight against cancer, support those battling the disease and remember those who have lost their fight.
Fine weather and a strong number of athlete registrations will ensure this weekend’s Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival is another huge success.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
To celebrate National Children’s Week Campaspe shire is hosting an activities day at Apex Park tomorrow with groups providing interesting activities for babies through to kinder aged children.
Maribeth, Angelica, Faye and Reynaldo Dipasupil have become Australian citizens at a ceremony in Echuca recently.
KCLC supported Southern Processing win award
Members celebrate over the weekend.
Berrigan Shire was this week approved for a low interest loan from the state government to undertake flood mitigation works.
Frank Hill is thrilled with his repaired 1948 grey Fergie.
A part of motorsport history comes to Cobram, with local business performing a full restoration of Jack Brabham’s championship F2 BT18.
Sunny skies for Deniliquin Caulfield Cup Day race meet.
NSW has announced an increase in water allocations for Murray and Murrumbidgee irrigators.
Lions Benalla donates $1200 to buy a bar code reader for Lorraine Billman who will soon be able to go shopping without her husband.
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