A solid swim kept Renee right in contention during the early stages, coming out of the water in seventh spot with a time of 26:35 – just under two minutes behind the eventual winner Ellie Salthouse.
The 38-year-old Australian maintained her position with a solid bike leg, clocking a split of 2:27:17 to keep her top-10 position, a spot she would not surrender on the run (1:34:13).
The turnaround in Renee’s life is now well documented, as she gone from – in her own words – a 104kg chain smoker to an elite professional triathlete.
In her first-ever full-distance race, only one year after her first foray into the sport, she won her age group. In 2015 and 2016, she racked up a string of podium finishes, including an age-group win at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.
She explained: “I think when I left home when I was 17 and moved to the city, it was like all of a sudden I didn’t have this discipline around me. It escalates and before you know it, you’re super, super unhealthy.
“I started working, because I had to pay my own way, so I was working part-time while I studied, and I just fell in love with work and my career.
“I stopped doing uni after like a year-and-a-half into my course, and when I worked full-time, I just got obsessed with [my] career. Making money, being important, succeeding in my job – so yes, that is a very strong trait.”
These are Renee’s ‘Weapons of Choice’:
Goggles: Speedo Opal
Wetsuit: Deboer Fjord 1.0
Speedsuit: Deboer Tsunami
Trisuit: Catfish Athlete Apparel
Bike frame: Trek Speed Concept
Frame size: Small
Aero Bars: Drag2zero
Front wheel: Zipp 404
Rear Wheel: Caden Disc
Tyres: Pirelli PZero Velo
Tyre and Tube type: Latex tubes
Component Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2
Power meter: Stages dual sided
Head Unit: Garmin Edge 830
Crank Length: 165mm
Helmet: Met Codatronca
Cleat System: Shimano
Cycling Shoes: Louis Garneau Tri Air Lite
Gearing: 55/39 11-23
Saddle: Bontrager Hilo Pro Carbon
Hydration System: X Lab Torpedo/ Profile Design
Shoes: Nike Next %
Eyewear: Oakley Latch
Sports Watch: Garmin Forerunner 945