Ironman Coeur d’Alene

Ben Hoffman (USA) and Heather Wurtele (CAN) put up solid performances in Idaho yesterday that netted the pair record breaking wins. Hoffman finished with a time of 8:17:31, besting the previous course record of Craig Alexander (8:19:48 in 2011), while Wurtele broke Julie Dibens (9:16:40 in 2011) course record with a time of 9:16:02.

Hoffman started out 38 seconds in arrears on the swim. Race contenders TJ Tollakson (USA) and Viktor Zyemtsev (UKR) hit the beach at City Park 1:43 and 1:45 back in the fourth and fifth positions.

After a solid bike split, Hoffman looked strong and confident. Tollakson hung tough for 11-miles on the run, matching Hoffman’s pace, while Zyemtsev starting to methodically eliminate some of the 11:27 deficit he started the run with.

After 11-miles, Hoffman disposed of Tollakson and started to stretch out his lead over second. Meanwhile, Zyemtsev was clawing his way close to Tollakson and Hoffman, and was eventually rewarded when he overtook Tollakson late in the run. Hoffman’s relentless pace stalled out Zyemtsev’s push towards the front as Hoffman went on to capture the title, his fourth Ironman victory. Hoffman established an 8:31 winning margin over Zyemtsev who had gamely hung on to second place. Tollakson was solid all day and grabbed the final position on the podium (8:32:09).

In the women’s race, Wurtele immediately went to the front of race on the bike and put everyone on notice that she would be the woman to beat today. That plan was going well as she started to pull away from the entire field with each passing mile. However, a flat front tire watched her lead shrink, but a quick change of the wheel limited the damage. Not to be deterred, Wurtele once again went about the business of building upon her lead and carried a buffer entering T2.

On the run, Wurtele’s solid run pace was rewarded with a lead that was never really in any jeopardy for the rest of the race. The Canadian went on to win her fifth Ironman title in course record time of 9:16:02. Caitlin Snow’s (USA) run prowess garnered her a second place finish in 9:28:36, while Uli Bromme rounded out the women’s podium with her 9:33:02 clocking. 

Ironman Nice

Belgian Frederik Van Lierde made it three in a row in Nice thanks to a course-record performance (8:08:59), while American Mary Beth Ellis led the race from start to finish to set her own record (9:12:54).

Van Lierde managed to pass swim leader Clemente Alonso-Mckernan (ESP) in T1 and would never look back, powering away from the rest of the field over the mountainous bike course that takes athletes over 6,000 feet of climbing. Alonso-Mckernan hung on in second for about 30 km, but then it was another Belgian, Bart Aernoets, who moved passed the Spaniard to ride in second.

Out on the marathon course along the Promenade des Anglais, Aernoets was able to gain back some time on Van Lierde, keeping his countryman honest to the line. Van Lierde’s performance was a full 13 minutes faster than last year over this tough course, while Aernouts also broke the old course record with his 08:12:28. Alonso-Mckernan finished third in 08:35:52.

On the women’s side, Ellis was the first out of the water and onto the 180 km bike, where she would remain comfortably in front the rest of the day. Two French women, Jeanne Collonge and Delphine Pelletier took second and third, respectively in 9:20:51 and 9:22:37.

Ironman 70.3 Syracuse 

In central New York’s fourth edition of Ironman 70.3 Syracuse, all bets were pointing to Sweden’s Lisa Norden,  the silver medalist at last year’s Olympic Games in London, who made her debut at the half-distance. The 28-year-old has been one of the finest short course female athletes over the last three years, capturing two World Triathlon Series titles and two Hy-Vee Triathlon 5i50 wins.

Leading out of the water in 26:51, Norden’s closest contender was Dede Griesbauer (USA), the strongest swimmer out of the rest of the assembled women’s field just 10 seconds behind. Norden then put down a 2:23:52 bike through the rolling rural hills of the area, nearly 14 minutes faster than the rest of the field. Following it up with a 1:30:46 run on the difficult course, Norden lost only two positions in the overall field (after coming fourth out of the water overall). Her sixth-place overall Ironman debut (4:24:37) won’t go unnoticed by her rivals racing elsewhere this weekend. Heather Leiggi (USA) and local Molly Roohi (USA) took second and third.

New York City’s Sam Douglas led the men’s field out of Jamesville Reservoir in 25:30, with eventual winner Joe Gambles (AUS) and third-place finisher John Polson (AUS) a minute behind. By the end of the 56-mile bike ride, Gambles had passed swim leader Douglas, leaving the American 1:12 minutes back. The rest of the men’s field was almost 10 minutes behind the two bike leaders by the time they hit T2.

With some shuffling through the first half of the men’s half marathon, things settled and the top five men maintained their positions from miles nine through 13. With a 1:21 run split from Gambles, the only one to threaten him even slightly was John Polson, who ran a 1:24. Douglas finished in 4:09:28 while Polson notched a 4:16:48.

Ironman 70.3 Mont Tremblant 

American Linsey Corbin was forced to play a bit of catch up after trailing swim leader Tara Ross (CAN) and Quebec’s very own Magali Tisseyre (who serves as a spokesperson for the event) out of the water, but her deficit was only 38 seconds on Ross and a couple of seconds to Tisseyre, Within just seven miles of the bike, though, it was Tisseyre out in front with Corbin 20 seconds behind.

Corbin bade her time and finally managed to get clear of Tisseyre over the second half of the bike. Behind those two there were a couple more Canadians in the hunt – Suzanne Zelazo was third, while three-time Xterra world champ Melanie McQuaid (CAN) trailed her by just a few seconds. The rest of the women’s field were over 10 minutes behind,

Once out on the run course, though, Corbin quickly put her stamp on the race, steadily gaining time and pulling away from Tisseyre to win by just under four minutes (4:26:05). McQuaid easily ran by Zelazo (who is recovering from a foot injury) and held on for third to round out the podium (4:36:13).

Olympian Brent McMahon (CAN), coming off an impressive U.S. Pro championship win in St. George last month, led a tight pack of men out of the water including Bozzone and defending champion Romain Guillaume from France.

Once out on the bike course Guillaume showed his trademark bike speed and quickly moved to the front. A group of four trailed the Frenchman by minute or so by the end of the ride, including Bozzone.

Guillaume hung tough on the run through the first four miles, but quickly found himself being chased by a pair of the sport’s best half-marathon runners – Bozzone and McMahon were running stride for stride as they steadily gained ground. Through the 9.6-mile split the three were running together, with McMahon a second ahead of Bozzone and three seconds up on Guillaume.

Over the next three miles, though, Bozzone put on an impressive display as he pulled clear of McMahon for a 46-second win in 3:53:12. McMahon wasn’t pressed for the runner-up finish – Guillaume would hang on in third, 2:47 behind.

Rev 3 Williamsburg

Americans Eric Limkemann and Kelly Williamson won the half-iron-distance Rev3 Williamsburg in Virginia. Pro triathletes competed for their share of a $50,000 prize purse plus $5,000 in primes at the inaugural race. This was Limkemann’s second Rev3 victory (he won the Rev3 Half Full last October), and he used a second-best swim and a race-best bike to build an insurmountable lead onto the run, finishing in 3:53:41. Williamson, however, was third out of the swim, lost time to the leaders on the bike and ended up overcoming a 9:30 deficit out of T2 to pass Margaret Shapiro for the win in the final mile (4:23:29).

Challenge Aarhus

German Swen Sundberg took his first KMD Challenge Aarhus title in the men’s race after a good fight with fellow German Konstantin Bachor. Dane Camilla Pedersen won her second straight title after racing closely together with birthday girl Jodie Swallow from Great Britain.

In the male pro field, the two Germans Sundberg and Bachor took charge of the race on the bike and went off in front of the pack. The duo built up a sizable gap on their followers and hit T2 together well ahead of their chasers. It was clear that a German would take the men’s title and Sundberg charged hard out of T2 to try to get away from Bachor.

On the women’s side, Swallow and Pedersen worked together to get a gap on local favorite Michelle Vesterby, who was the only threat to the two in front. Swallow charged hard to close the 40 second gap Pedersen had starting the run, and she quickly caught up as the two ran together until km 15 testing each other.

In the meantime, Sundberg looked to be in control at the front opening up a gap on Bachor. Sundberg crusied home to take the win in 4:01:51. Bachor took second 3:26 back and Dane Esben Hovgaard came from behind to run into third a few minutes later.

Pedersen finally breached a gap on Swallow and ran home for a second straight win at Challenge Aarhus in 4:19:32, Swallow finishing second under two minutes back and Vesterby rounding out the female podium in 4:35:13.

ITU Edmonton World Cup

Canada scored a huge day in the women’s race, as Emelie Kretz, Ellen Pennock and Kirsten Sweetland swept the podium for the host country at the 2013 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup.

Kretz managed a breakaway on the final lap of the run, leaving teammates Pennock and Sweetland behind. The 20-year old flew down the finish chute for her first World Cup title in 1:03:18. Pennock took silver, also her first World Cup medal in 1:03:29.  After struggling with injuries for a number of years, Sweetland got back on the podium with third in 1:03:35.