CHRISSIE Wellington is on the verge of the elite men’s top 10 after her awesome performance in the Ironman Australia.

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Thedefending champion and two-time Hawaiian Ironman title-holder smashedher own record on the Port Macquarie course, winning in 8hr 57min10sec.

Her time meant Australian Mitch Anderson, the 10th professional maleacross the line, finished only just ahead of her in 8:56.21.

Wellington’s dominance was underlined by the 24-minute gap betweenthe British star and the second-placed woman, Australian Rebekah Keat.

Wellington won last year in 9hr 3min. Speaking by phone to fatherSteve soon after the race, she said: “Daddy, I showed them, I smashedit.”

New Caledonia’s Patrick Vernay won for the third straight time in8:24.53. Australian Pete Jacobs took the lead in the second half of therun, but Vernay overhauled him to win by more than four minutes.

A little under-prepared, Jacobs was delighted to be second overalland the first Aussie home. It’s his second Australian title of the yearafter winning the long-course (3km swim, 82km ride, 20km run) title inFebruary.

“The day panned out really well for me. The swim was great, therewas a bit of a pack of us on the bike, so the legs felt a littlefresher for the run,” Jacobs said.

“I came here wanting to finish top 10. It was not my main race ofthe year and I have done a few races earlier this year, so I had notreally done as much work as usual.”

West Australian Tim Berkel, who burst on to the scene with a win in Busselton last year, finished third.

The anticipated showdown between Wellington and top AustralianMichellie Jones did not eventuate after the ill Australian pulled out.

With Jones out, Wellington led from start to finish, continuing herdomination of a sport she took up just three years ago. The victorymakes it six ironman races for six wins.

Victorian Anderson raced in honour of good friend David Morris.

Morris, an amateur triathlete, was killed in January when hit by a truck during a training ride in Sydney.

Just over month ago Anderson was in hospital with severe facial injuries after a bike accident of his own.