Photo of Corinne Abraham courtesy Uplace-BMC Triathlon Team
Known for its massive finish line celebration, stacked field and incredibly fast course, the 2014 Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt, Germany, was the site of a career-best marathon (2:49:35) for countryman Sebastian Kienle and complete marathon domination by Great Britain’s Corinne Abraham.
Current Ironman world champion Frederik Van Lierde exited the water in front with Olympic gold-medalist Jan Frodeno, with Kienle quickly giving chase. Frodeno looked to be having a fantastic race until a series of flat tires cost him the much-needed cushion of time he would need to hold off Kienle, who seized on the opportunity to climb to the front, exiting T2 with a comfortable 5:30 lead on the rest of the field. Kienle would stay strong enough for the win, and despite the fact that both Van Lierde and Frodeno would each run faster marathons (including a 2:43 by Frodeno), neither was enough to grab the win.
The women’s race was all about Siri Lindley athletes Mary Beth Ellis and Jodie Swallow for much of the day, with the two exiting the water in front and playing leap frog along the bike course. Abraham climbed her way up to third during the bike alongside several other female pros, including defending champion Camilla Pedersen, but still started the run with a more than four-minute deficit on Ellis and Swallow. Swallow looked to be having a great day, but her pace was no match for Corinne Abraham, who, much like at 2013 Ironman Melbourne, simply flew past the rest of the field to comfortably grab the victory in 8:52:40. For a full list of results click HERE.
A Closer Look
With its several-loop marathon format and relatively flat conditions, Ironman Frankfurt’s run course produces some incredibly fast times. German age-group athlete Markus Becker completed the Ironman in 10:34:07, finishing 50th in the M25-29 age group. He completed the marathon in a time of 4:04 with an average pace of 9:19 min./mile. Here is how it played out: http://www.strava.com/activities/162875766
But the bike course is a different story. A two-loop format, the Frankfurt course takes athlete along a rolling loop with several very steep climbs averaging more than a 7-percent incline, including “the beast” at the 20/104-km-marks, “the hell” at the 30/114-km marks, “Hühnerberg” at the 42/126-km marks and “heartbreak hill” at the 85/169-km marks. All told, each loop offers roughly 1,000-meters of climbing, a not insignificant amount on a TT bike.
Let’s take a closer look at how this course plays out for the age-group athlete. European age grouper Andrew Spencer completed the Ironman in a time of 10:04:11, finishing 77th in the men’s 35-39 category. He rode the course in an excellent time of 4:49 with an estimated average power output of 273 watts. Here is a closer look at how his ride broke down: http://www.strava.com/activities/162875133/analysis