Steffen finds bright side in Kona fifth
IN A couple of weeks, endurance star Caroline Steffen will resume her quest to take care of unfinished business.
Capturing her debut Ironman World Championship is what drives the Kawana Waters-based Swiss athlete.
Steffen has competed in Hawaii's famed Kona event four times for two seconds (2010 and 2012) and two fifths (2011 and 2013).
Set to recommence training early next month, the two-time ITU long-course world champion is planning her 2014 race itinerary - and all roads lead to Kona.
"It just feels like unfinished business at the moment … just grab this win," the 35-year-old said.
"I don't have to win it five or six times like other girls do - I would be happy with one.
"The whole year just gets planned around this one event, this one day."
Steffen came close to winning the world championship in 2012, but Great Britain's Leanda Cave ran her down.
The Swiss again hopes to qualify for the race early.
"I'm one of the lucky ones because I like to race heaps," she said.
"That means I usually qualify early (for Kona) and I just can do whatever I want."
Steffen was disappointed with her performance at Kona in October.
However, she was heartened by the way she toughed it out in the 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run.
It seems strange that such an accomplished athlete - a two-time European ironman champion and 2012 Asia-Pacific ironman champion - still needs validation as a competitor.
But that was what she took out of her world championship performance this year after rebounding from thoughts of quitting.
"I was very disappointed, but at the same time I was very happy I actually made it into the top five," she said.
"People told me that if you're in so much trouble and you're still top five, you just belong in this league of the top five in the world.
"That's the thing that makes me proud."
Steffen, a three-time winner this year, is the long-standing partner of Coast ironman David Dellow.
He finished ninth on debut at Kona in 2012, but failed to compete this year when he got a virus close to the event.
He will not join Steffen when she and a group of athletes, including the Coast's 2013 Ironman World Championship runner-up Luke McKenzie, ride from Bondi to Noosa next month to raise money for charity.