Twenty-five year triathlon veteran Oscar Galindez proved he hasn’t lost a step with his win in Panama, while Heather Wurtele emerged to capture the Ironman 70.3 Latin American Pro Championship title at Ironman 70.3 Panama.
In the men’s race, Galindez recorded the fastest bike split in Panama, which helped the veteran establish a 2:30 lead over eventual second-place finisher Bevan Docherty and Australian Paul Ambrose, who entered the transition within seconds of each other in second and third. The question was if the 42-year-old Galindez could hold off the talented runners behind him. The four-time Ironman Brazil champion dispelled any notion he may have slowed with age – during the opening 8.3 km he outpaced everyone in the field. By 15 km Docherty clawed himself to within 1:48 of Galindez, with Australian Richie Cunningham in third, 3:36 back.
Docherty posted the fastest run of the day, but it was not enough to prevent Galindez from capturing the Latin American Pro Championship title. Galindez broke the finish line tape at 3:58:31, good for a 1:35 winning margin over Docherty (4:00:05). Cunningham completed the podium with a 4:03:09 clocking, 4:38 behind Galindez.
On the women’s side, Canadian Heather Wurtele stormed to the front of the women’s race on the strength of the day’s best bike ride of 2:31:20. Wurtele’s lead was up to 1:51 on second place finisher Camilla Pederson, who was now solidly in that spot as they started the run. Swim leader Jodie Swallow had slipped 5:48 back in third, while American Margret Shapiro had worked her way through the field and now was on Swallow’s heels as the pair ran through the transition preparing for the run.
It was evident right from the first kilometers of the run that Wurtele would be the one to beat. She extended her lead over the entire field with each passing kilometer (with the exception of the fleet-footed Kelly Williamson, who started the run in sixth place and 11:57 back).
Despite limited training thanks to the Canadian winter, Wurtele managed to take the Latin American Pro Championship title. Wurtele recorded a 4:21:22 and finished 3:49 ahead of Pederson. Williamson rounded out the podium with a 4:29:08 clocking.