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Australian ultra-distance runner Vlad Ixel has come top of his age group at the Davao 70.3 Ironman as he continues to make the transition to triathlon.
He clinched the top spot with a time 4:41.
Ixel has been recognised for years as an accomplished runner, with dozens of course records among his victories, and an appearance at the World Ultra Trail Championships. But he has only recently started competing on the bike and in the water – making this accomplishment remarkable.
‘More to come’
Ixel’s recent finish placed him 18th of 1046 competitors in the men’s race, and first of 141 men in the 30-34 age category.
Despite the successes, the athlete feels there’s more to come. He told Great Vegan Athletes: “As a new swimmer, I swim a lot of extra distance due to my inexperience, and that cost me a bit of time, but overall it’s getting better.
“Getting onto the bike, I dropped my bike computer right away so had to go back and pick it up, and lost a bit more time there.”
Ixel was placed sixth in his category after the swim and fourth after the bike. From there he had his strongest discipline remaining – the run.
He said: “The run is a hard part, as I know I can run a 1:13 half marathon, but off the bike and the heat suddenly 1:30 feels hard.
“I know with time, as I get better on the bike, the run legs will only get faster.”
Despite the heat and exhaustion from the bike, Ixel managed a time of 1:36:50 for the 21.1 km run. He said: “Overall it was an OK effort – still a lot of room for improvement.”
The athlete went plant-based around Christmas 2012, citing health reasons, saying: “It gives me so much more energy and I recover quicker from my runs.”
He added: “I’m also doing it for environmental reasons. A vegan diet has less impact on our planet than a meat-based diet.”
He’s currently reducing his gluten consumption, with a bias towards raw food, though has been consuming plant-based Beyond Burgers recently, as an appealing and convenience energy source during intense training.