Three-time IRONMAN World Champion Craig Alexander fought back tears after crossing the line in fifth place at the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Melbourne.
“I want to pay tribute to my wife Neri, and all the people who have supported me over the journey,” he said. “I feel like my body is a rental car and I’ve been racing with the handbrake on for a while now. I don’t want to be fifth, I want to be the guy on the podium spraying everyone with champagne.”
A swim that left him two minutes off the pace meant Alexander spent the day chasing those in front of him and, even after digging deep into his kit bag and retrieving one more blistering fast run split, Alexander was unable to make up the time he lost at the beginning of the day.
“I’m 41 in two and a half months, it’s going to take me a long time to recover. It’s hard because I want to win, but I’m not what I used to be,” he said. “That marathon hurt me more than any marathon I’ve ever run, I dug as deep as I could, I put myself in a terrible position. I salvaged a top five, but I’ve never been happy with a top five.”
Alexander said he has now realised he can’t come to a big race 90 per cent fit and still win.
“It has been a good run, you get what you deserve in life and I’ve had a good run. I have a business that has been up and running now for a year. The most important thing to me is my family, I have a wife and three beautiful kids and I need to spend more time with them. The thing is I’m just sick of saying no to my kids, ‘no we can’t go to the park because I’m too tired, we can’t go to the beach because I’m tired.’ They are older now they want to hang out with dad, they want to go fishing with me and I want to do stuff with them, no regrets. They need to be my focus now.”
Alexander, who coaches the day’s second-place getter Paul Matthews, said he would now devote more of his time to coaching.
“I want to see Paul in Kona. He has the game to do well there. He’s tough, he’s old school tough, and I think he can do really well. I’m taking him to the next level and that’s where he’s going.”
Alexander said he would look to continue racing IRONMAN 70.3 races when it suited his schedule, but has no immediate racing plans.