Photo by Michael Rauschendorfer
It didn’t take long for Marino Vanhoenacker’s iron-distance world record to come down. Germany’s Andreas Raelert stormed to a 7:41:33 finish at today’s Challenge Roth Triathlon in his home country, eclipsing Vanhoenacker’s mark from last week’s Ironman Austria by 4:25. The Belgian’s time still stands as the fastest time on an Ironman course. Raelert’s record-breaking finish came on the heels of a 46:18 swim, a 4:11:43 bike and a 2:40:52 run. The German’s bike split is the fastest ever recorded for an iron-distance bike leg.
Few were surprised to see Frenchman Benjamin Sanson emerge from the swim first, but Raelert was only three seconds behind. German Sebastian Kienle, who many believed was the biggest threat to top Raelert today, finished the swim over three minutes behind the leaders.
Raelert set a blistering pace from the start of the ride and by the 50-K mark he was riding solo. Kienle was the only athlete able to make up any time on Raelert, but he couldn’t keep up the pace for very long. Near the halfway point of the bike Kienle had cut the deficit down to two minutes, but by the time Raelert hit T2 his lead was back to over four minutes, and his early pace on the run made it hard to believe that he could be caught.
Raelert closed with a 2:40:52 run—just a hair slower than Vanhoenacker’s marathon in Austria—to stop the clock in 7:41:33. He’d have to wait over 15 minutes to greet the runner-up, who finally came in the form of Kienle (7:57:06). Kiwi Keegan Williams rounded out the podium in 8:16:01.
Chrissie Wellington’s record came as less of a surprise than Raelert’s, but it was even more impressive, especially given the fact that it put the Brit at the finish in fifth place overall. The women’s race was never really a contest, as Wellington’s new world-best time of 8:18:13 put her at the finish over 38 minutes in front of runner-up Julia Wagner of Germany.
Wellington was the first to finish the swim, but Kiwi Belinda Harper and Aussie Belinda Granger were only a few seconds back. As expected, Wellington all but sealed the race on the bike, riding amongst the pro men en route to building a huge gap by the time she hit transition. From the onset of the run she began passing pro men like Andriy Yasterbov, Lothar Leder and Christian Ritter, eventually pulling her way up to fifth position in the men’s race. Germany’s Wagner had a breakthrough performance to stop the clock in 8:56:23 for second, with Aussie Rebekah Keat rounding out the podium in 8:59:22
Don’t miss our Gallery by Michael Rauschendorfer
July 10, 2011
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Andreas Raelert (GER) 7:41:33
2. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 7:57:06
3. Keegan Williams (NZL) 8:16:01
4. Felix Schumann (GER) 8:18:05
5. Christian Ritter (GER) 8:18:40
1. Chrissie Wellington (GBR) 8:18:13
2. Julia Wagner (GER) 8:56:23
3. Rebekah Keat (AUS) 8:59:22
4. Belinda Harper (NZL) 9:06:47
5. Belinda Granger (AUS) 9:12:56