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The very best Iron athletes in Australia lined up for one last round in the 2019/20 Nutrigrain Iron Series at North Cronulla on Sunday and brought home some spectacular, and long-awaited results.


Lizzie Welborn was one of the youngest ever qualifiers for the Nutri-Grain Iron Series at just 16 years old. On Sunday she achieved a remarkable and well-deserved podium finish with a third place in the 2019/20 Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series.

It wasn’t a case of starting strong for the now 21 year-old university student. After a tough 2018/19 season suffering glandular fever and then changing clubs, – from North Bondi to Newport – training was disrupted but the change in routine and location has proven to be a positive.

Coming out of the prestigious Molokai to Oahu World Paddle Board Championships and World Championships in South Africa, Lizzie thought she would be ready for the iconic Coolangatta Gold endurance event in October.

She went into the Gold expecting to do well and finished 13th. “It wasn’t the greatest start to the series,” said Lizzie. “That placing made me nervous going into the second round. It was definitely a blow to my confidence not getting the results I wanted to start the series.”

She put her head down and trained hard with two weeks between events but confesses the nerves were intense but not enough to bring her down. The training paid off at Burleigh with a second place finish. “It was amazing, such an awesome feeling to get there and prove to myself that I could hold it and compete against the best,” she said.

Lizzie Welborn

The second place boosted her confidence and allowed her to maintain a consistently strong training regime before round three at Bulli where she backed up with another second place. “I was definitely chilled out ahead of the Bulli event and pretty happy I could get the same result just behind Lana Rogers.”

Lizzie said all the competitors were sceptical about round four being held at Surfers Paradise because of the longer run leg but it ended up being one of her favourite. “It was one of the hardest rounds but I absolutely loved it that way, and the crowd was great!,” said Lizzie.

Despite loving the Surfers event she placed fourth which put the pressure back on. Lana Rogers (Noosa) had solidified her series title after the fourth round and four consecutive wins.

The fifth and final round at North Cronulla on 19 January presented Lizzie with a small but possible chance of getting her first podium finish in the series since she first qualified.

“I had a great chance of getting second if I kept up my performance for North Cronulla but the nerves were back with that pressure,” said Lizzie. “All I had to do was beat Georgia Miller (Northcliffe) to get the points.”

“I gave it my best shot,” she said. And after three successful back-to-back eliminator rounds on Sunday, she’d done it. Lizzie Welborn was on the podium with a well-earned third place behind Lana and Georgia.

Lizzie Welborn Nutrigrain Iron Series
Lana Rogers, Georgia Miller and Lizzie Welborn, Photo by Harvpix

“I was absolutely over the moon with third,” she said after her win. “I’m so happy for Lana and Georgia and to get this place behind them is great.

“Sunday was such a great day. Having the final round in Sydney meant all my family and friends were right there with me, it made it pretty special and I wanted to race well for them.

“The conditions made it entertaining. When you’ve got waves it’s anyone’s race. There are so many lead changes and reading the ocean comes into your strategy a lot more. It’s a massive combo of different skills and it makes it pretty exciting to race in and watch,” she said.

The NSW and Australian Championships are next up for the Newport ironwoman, but when asked where her dream Iron Series location would be, Lizzie was quick to say Portsea, Victoria. “It’s my dream race location. I watched it as a kid and it was so hectic. I wouldn’t make it out but I’d love to give it a go.”

Team NSW Results 2019/20 Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series:

  • 3rd Lizzie Welborn (Newport)

  • 7th Jemma Smith (Umina)

  • 18th Britney Pierce (Wanda)

  • 24th Naomi Scott (Manly) - 3 events only

  • 26th Emily Doyle (Newport) - 1 event only

Kendrick Louis


Manly Ironman Kendrick Louis is the 2019/20 Nutri-Grain Iron Series champion, completing the trifecta of Australian, NSW and Nutri-Grain Ironman titles.

For over a decade, the veteran Ironman has been chasing the prestigious title and admitted it was the one he wanted after coming so close each year.

Kendrick had the advantage of support from one of Surf Life Saving’s most successful Ironmen, Olympian Ky Hurst. Ky won four Australian Ironman titles and is said to be one of the greatest swimmers the sport has ever produced. He was Kendrick’s handler and provided expert advice to the Manly athlete, giving him the winning edge he needed this year.

The pair had a rivalry that crossed over as Hurst came towards the end of his career and Louis was beginning his. In the 2012/13 series, Kendrick came in third behind Hurst and again the following year Hurst took out fourth with Louis trailing in fifth place.

With the rivalry behind them, the mates celebrated a career pinnacle for Louis. “Kendrick has shown that with true grit and perseverance anything is achievable,” said Hurst. “Round five was a true master-class performance from Kendrick and it capped off the series for him.”

Grateful for the help of Hurst, Louis said, “He knew when it was time to go and when it was time to sit back and just having that experience in my corner today was invaluable. He kept me calm.”

Ky Hurst and Kendrick Louis
Ky Hurst with Kendrick Louis at North Cronulla, Photo by Harvpix

A fourth place at the last round at North Cronulla was all he needed after consistent results across the series.

“I knew I’d done the work, I think when you turn up to something like this and you’re in a battle with four or five guys it’s hard to not let it get to you,” he said.

The 29-year-old used the swim legs to make his move on the field but said the waves played a huge part on the day. “It could have been anyone’s race on Sunday,” he said. “TJ Hendy and Jay Furniss set the benchmark early and they held it right the way through to the last race.”

Hard work and patience finally paid off.

After a strong three rounds, former Lennox Head Ironman Tanyn Lyndon couldn’t hold his form in the final event. Unfortunately for Lyndon, a 14th place after eliminations on Sunday pushed him from series leader fourth place.

Kurrawa’s Matt Bevilacqua took out second place in the series and teammate Matt Poole finished third.

Team NSW Results 2019/20 Nutri-Grain Ironman Series:

  • 1st Kendrick Louis (Manly)

  • 9th Max Brooks (Newport)

  • 11th Jackson Borg (Newport)

  • 12th Jay Furniss (Manly)

  • 13th Daniel Collins (Redhead)

  • 20th Charlie Brookes (Newport)

  • 24th Zach Morris (Newport) - 1 event only


Tuesday 21 January 2020