TRIATHLON: Noosa's Melissa Hauschildt overcame sustained bouts of cramp to claim a race record at IRONMAN Western Australia on Sunday.
The 33-year-old two time IRONMAN 70.3 world champion won the 3.8km swim, 180km ride, 42.2km run event in 8hrs54min39sec.
She was three minutes ahead of Mareen Hufe, with Sarah Piampiano another 1min30sec back.
But it was a torrid test for Hauschildt, who crossed the line clasping her leg.
She started well enough, emerging from the water in fourth place.
Then the current European IRONMAN and IRONMAM 70.3 champion went to the front on the bike. She was then overtaken by Hufe and trailed by three minutes leading into the marathon.
A renowned runner, Hauschildt regained the lead and beat the 2014 women's race record of Britta Martin's by two minutes.
But it wasn't as comfortable as her time would suggest.
"I was so nervous out there, from the 24km mark (in the run) I got the first cramp, and I've never had cramps like that,” she said.
"It was so debilitating I didn't think I could get through it. Between the cramps I was running four minutes per kilometre, then I'd stop and run a 10-minute km,” she said.
It was a rewarding experience for Hauschildt who failed to finish the recent IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii with a leg injury.
New Zealand's Terrenzo Bozzone and Australian Nick Kastelein, who are training mates with part-time Sunshine Coast-based IRONMAN world champion, Jan Frodeno, finished first and third respectively in the men's race.
Bozzone won in 7hrs51min26sec to beat the race record set by Sunshine Beach's Luke McKenzie last year.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.