The Excitement Builds Through the Run
It’s been an exciting race here today, and once the athletes transitioned into the run, things just kept picking up. Twitter was bombarded from people around the world commenting on how riveting this year’s race is to watch: from an insomniac in Norway, to a fitness buff in California whose heart rate hit zone two just watching.
“This is a million times better than any old lousy super bowl or world series,” remarked TheAgeGrouper on Twitter. Comparisons to 1989’s “Iron War” between Mark Allen and six-time champion Dave Scott were made as Chris McCormack and German Andreas Raelert duked it out in the final miles of the race. On Palani hill, McCormack opened up a gap on Raelert and flew through the hot corner. He strutted through the finish line, saluting the crowd with the kind of flair only an Ironman champion (in this case for the second time) could.
With Marino Vanhoenacker, last year’s world champion Craig Alexander (who improved his 2009 run time by three minutes), and Raynard Tissink filling out the top five, it was a surprising race. Nobody we talked to picked Macca as this years’ winner, and despite an earlier claim from Vanhoenacker that he’d place in the top three, he wasn’t on a lot of people’s lists either. All in all it was a fast day for running: Among the men there were four sub-2:45 marathon runs, and six sub-2:50s.
The “Rhythm Runner” Takes Off
Aussie Mirinda Carfrae, last year’s second-place winner, is known for her incredible running strength. Long before Wellington announced her withdrawal, triathlon enthusiasts were calling this year “Rinny’s race.” A lot of eyes were on the diminutive runner, who calls herself a “rhythm runner.” Carfrae passed her friend and training partner Julie Dibens at mile 16 of the marathon, and held her perfect form and quick turnover to “chick” many men along the way. With a final split of 2:53:32 marathon, only 10 of the top 20 men ran faster than her, and it was the fourth-fastest time every recorded on the course. She clocked a 8:58:36 race when all was said and done.
Ironman staff member and multisport guru Murphy Reinschreiber recalls meeting Carfrae in the San Diego airport on her way to a race in Mexico. She was stuck in the World Cup circuit at the time—the only way she could make it work, he said. “She was poor as a church mouse … if anyone deserves this, it’s her.”
Carfrae wasn’t the only impressive woman on the course this year: Caitlin Snow of Boston was the only other woman to run a sub-three-hour marathon (2:56:04), and TBB athlete Caroline Steffen, also of Australia, took a strong, although unexpected second. Cycling powerhouse and first-time Ironman Julie Dibens fell away in the last few miles of the marathon, but still finished third. She headed to the medical tent for some attention after crossing the finish line.
Top 10 Male Finishers’ Run Splits:
1. 2:43:31 McCormack, Chris: Burraneer NSW AUS
2. 2:44:25 Raelert, Andreas Drage GER
3. 2:46:46 Vanhoenacker, Marino: Jabbeke
4. 2:41:59 Alexander, Craig: Sydney NSW AUS
5. 2:52:44 Tissink, Raynard: Port Eliza ZAF
6. 2:53:18 Bracht, Timo: Eberbach GER
7. 2:47:03 Llanos, Eneko: Vitoria-Ga ESP
8. 2:52:02 Bockel, Dirk: Munsbach LUX
9. 2:41:06 Jacobs, Pete: Sydney NSW AUS
2:55:28 Al-Sultan, Faris: Al-Ain ABU ARE
Top 10 Female Finishers’ Run Splits:
1. 2:53:32 Carfrae, Mirinda: Brisbane QLD AUS
2. 3:05:47 Steffen, Caroline: Mooloolaba QLD AUS
3. 3:16:12 Dibens, Julie: Boulder CO USA
4. 3:08:31 Berasategui, Virginia: Bilbao ESP
5. 3:11:09 Joyce, Rachel: London GBR
6. 3:14:27 Thuerig, Karin: Retschwil SWI
7. 3:17:39 Van Vlerken, Yvonne: Schwarzach AUT
8. 2:56:04 Snow, Caitlin: Brockton MA USA
9. 3:06:49 Bij De Vaate, Heleen: Stein NLD
10. 3:20:06 Cave, Leanda Tucson AZ USA