Four time series champion Ali Day and two time series winner Lana Rogers are back on the top of the podium in the Nutri-Grain Ironman/Ironwoman Series after a stellar opening round of racing at Manly Beach. 

The duo both won the Coolangatta Gold in October, backing it up today with a round one win in the ‘M’ shape endurance course. 

For Day, he got the redemption he was chasing, after being sidelined for the final two rounds last year due to illness, which ended his title defence.

Off the back of his record ninth Coolangatta Gold title just two months ago, Day left the field in his wake, finishing the endurance Ironman race an impressive 1 minute ahead of New Zealand Ironman Joe Collins in second place. 

“I’m stoked, I feel really content, I feel Iike I raced really well today, raced smart… but it was still tough.

“I’ve got a big engine, I’ve done a lot of those ‘M’ shape courses now and I know what it takes to have a really good result in that [race]. It’s about getting out the front, getting clear water and then you’re in control of it.

“Races like the Coolangatta Gold help so much… I love the ‘M’ shape course, I wish they were all [rounds] like that. The next five rounds, who knows what that will bring so it’s good to get the Series off to a good start,” he said. 

In the Ironwoman, Rogers got off to a solid start and while she didn’t lead the opening legs managed to grind it out and chase down the pack. 

The final ski leg saw a two way battle for the win between Rogers and Lucy Derbyshire, the endurance race coming down to a run up the beach. 

“I’m so happy with that race, I’ve had no pressure on me going into this. It’s been a long time between wins, so I’m just going with the flow and I’m really happy so far.

“I loved the conditions today, it suits me. I think everyone knows I love a little bit of a bank and a small wave. I used it to my advantage…after my board start I had a bit of momentum behind me and played that in my favour,” said Rogers. 

Round 2 of the Nutri-Grain Ironman/Ironwoman Series continues tomorrow, Sunday 16 December from 1-3pm AEDT at Manly Beach, Sydney.