Wauchope-Bonny Hills Surf Life Saving Club's Jessie Willsher finishes top 10 at Coolangatta Gold

JESSIE Willsher had never competed in a Coolangatta Gold event before last Saturday so she would have been happy with her top 10 finish.

Willsher moved from Western Australia to Port Macquarie in February this year which made her first stint on the Gold Coast a history-making venture.

Wauchope-Bonny Hills Surf Life Saving Club has never had a competitor in the elite female division at the annual race.

She is already looking ahead to how she can improve next year and shorten the distance between herself and those who set the pace.

“I thought I did really well,” Willsher said.

“I finished 10th out of the elite females and had the goal of just wanting to finish, so I did that.”

Georgia Miller (04:29:22) won the female division while Willsher (05:17:25) rounded out the top 10.

“I’ve done an Anaconda Endurance race before, but the pace at the Coolangatta Gold was a lot higher,” she said.

“Now I’ve done one, I want to do another one again next year.”

Male winner Ali Day described the conditions on the day as some of the toughest he had ever competed in.

“The wind smashed us going out, but we were going with it,” Willsher said.

“It was really horrific on the board, but by that time I was absolutely knackered as I’d done the ski paddle and the swim.

“It was six kays out so there was a lot of self-talk that got me through; that’s all you can do.”

Willsher admitted her preparation for the race wasn’t ideal as she is currently studying at university as a paramedic.

“My preparation wasn’t ideal as I’d had to juggle uni and work so my nutrition was probably not what it should have been,” she said.

“I was feeling really lethargic towards the end, but the feeling once you get across the finish line is like nothing else.”