Free and Wilms Claim Mooloolaba Triathlon 2023 Titles

12 March 2023

Nicholas Free and Lotte Wilms have claimed victory in the men’s and women’s open races at the Mooloolaba Triathlon, with both athletes impressing on their way to the top step of the podium.

Thousands of athletes took part in Sunday’s event, racing across a 1.5km swim, 40km ride and 10km run, with 2023 the 31st edition of the Mooloolaba Triathlon.

Nicholas Free crossed the line on the Mooloolaba beachfront in 1:46:45, just over 30 seconds clear of Caleb Noble, with Kurt McDonald third.

“It was good, the swim was really fast, Josh Amberger always makes it a fast swim, that’s his race plan to get out quick and get rid of as many people as possible,” said Free. “On the bike I just didn’t have any legs today, I was really just hanging on and then on the run I got gapped into T2 and had to chase my way through and caught them maybe 5km into the race and then made the decision to just head out as hard as I could and I made it to the line.

“I really didn’t want to have a sprint finish and have to run all the way to the line so I made the decision to go early and kind of cruise up the hill on the last lap so I didn’t really have to gas myself, I had a little bit of a lead, I had everyone telling me how far Caleb was behind me and I made it to the line,” he said.

Athletes were greeted by clear skies on Sunday, but the high humidity that came with it made for a tough day on course.

“It was so humid, Brisbane at the moment is just brutal and this is just another one of those brutal days where you’re grabbing waters at every aid station and it just doesn’t seem to make any difference, you’re still hot, it was hard,” said Free.

Free has had a mixed start to 2023, unfortunately not finishing IRONMAN 70.3 Tasmania following a mechanical issue on the bike leg, but then going on to claim victory at the Australian Long Course Championship in New South Wales a fortnight ago.

“It’s been good so far, I’ve had a couple of good races, disappointing at IRONMAN 70.3 Tasmania that I couldn’t really go out and show what I had but I get another opportunity in Geelong in two weeks’ time now and it’s another strong start list and I’m really looking forward to heading down there,” he said.

Dutch-born, Coolum-based athlete Lotte Wilms led from start to finish in the women’s race, taking the win in 2:03:06, almost a minute clear of a fast-finishing Madi Roberts, with Richelle Hill a further three minutes behind in third.

“It was tough, I’m full in training at the moment, I did a full swim, bike and run yesterday so I could definitely feel it in my legs from the first step into the water, so I was just pushing, pushing, pushing and that was the plan and it’s great to win,” said Wilms. “The plan was really to push on the bike and the run, so I really pushed on the bike and I was pushing on the run but my legs were just metres behind me.

“It was really cool to get the win, my coach from Austria is here so we were training for two and a half weeks together and he really wanted to see me race and this was a great opportunity and it’s great to race in front of the community, in front of my hometown nearly, I can’t complain, it’s not something I want to miss out on because it’s so close to home and I love to support the area,” she said.

Wilms’ victory in Mooloolaba kicks off a busy period of training and racing both at home and abroad.

“I’ve got two more weeks of training and then we go to IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong, then another block of four weeks and then we go to Europe for six weeks to race and then for the second half of the season we’ll be back here in Australia which I’m really looking forward to,” she said.

The Mooloolaba Triathlon is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

Mooloolaba Triathlon – Open Standard Men’s Race
1. Nicholas Free – 1:46:45
2. Caleb Noble – 1:47:23
3. Kurt McDonald – 1:47:50
4. Josh Amberger – 1:48:12
5. Kurt Fryer – 1:49:36
6. Kieran Storch – 1:51:56
7. Fraser Walsh – 1:56:13
8. Jye Spriggs – 1:58:31
9. Blair Fullarton-Loggie – 1:59:20
10. Jack Smith – 1:58:21

Mooloolaba Triathlon – Open Standard Women’s Race
1. Lotte Wilms – 2:03:06
2. Madi Roberts – 2:03:58
3. Richelle Hill – 2:06:59
4. Emily Donker – 2:07:53
5. Paige Cranage – 2:12:45
6. Briarna Silk – 2:13:43
7. Alise Silk – 2:13:43
8. Belinda Murray – 2:15:25
9. Kristie Caplikas – 2:16:39
10. Rachael Dols – 2:16:43