Ironman 70.3 Eagleman

American Andy Potts recorded a race-best 23:43 swim in the Choptank River on Sunday, but it wasn’t until the run when Potts took control and pulled away from his rivals. After the first of two loops of the run, Potts held a 1:27 advantage over James Cunnama, now running in second after pounding out the fastest open half of the run. But it was Potts’ solid run over the second half of the run that garnered him the win in 3:47:46. Cunnama’s fastest run helped him grab second place in a time of 3:49:00, while Viktor Zyemtsev ran his way into third, clocking a 3:53:24 finish.

In the women’s race, a pair of favorites, Australian Mirinda Carfrae and Canadian Angela Naeth were found in the ninth and tenth positions coming out of the water and had deficits of 2:41 and 3:57 to overcome.

Naeth proceeded to turn out the day’s best bike split, resulting in her 1:32 lead into T2. Notably absent from the leader board were Meredith Kessler, who had crashed on the bike and was transported to hospital, and Carfrae who experienced extreme upper leg cramps and did not finish.

Over the first half the run, Naeth maintained the lead as positions behind her were reshuffled. Laura Bennett had run her way into second with the rest of the field out of contention. Naeth laid down the fastest run on the day and captured the Ironman 70.3 Eagleman title with a 4:14:06 winning time. Bennett backed up her Ironman 70.3 Raleigh win last weekend with a second place finish in 4:17:21. American Amber Ferreira surged toward the finish to round off the podium in 4:22:26.

Ironman 70.3 Boise

Young Aussie Josh Amberger hit the boat ramp on Lucky Peak Reservoir with the lead and carried a 49 to 63 second advantage over a chase pack of nine that included Brett McMahon (CAN), Bevan Docherty (NZL), Bryan Rhodes (NZL), Kevin Evertt (USA), Paul Mathews (AUS), Callum Millward (NZL), Matty Reed (USA) and Luke Bell (AUS).

Docherty and Amberger rode within sight of each other throughout most of the 56-miles, which saw Docherty arrive with a 16-second lead over Amberger as they entered T2. Early on the run, Docherty quickly disposed of Amberger and forged a clear lead. McMahon caught Amberger and moved into second, but found himself just over a minute behind Docherty at the end of the first half of the run. Docherty’s relentless pace during the second loop helped him expand his lead on McMahon and the remainder of the field and he took the Ironman 70.3 Boise title in 3:52:55. McMahon came second in 3:54:36, while Amberger rounded out the podium with his 3:57:09 race time.

For the women, Heather Jackson used a race-best bike split to power into the lead and built up a 3:32 cushion on American Liz Lyles as they headed into T2. Malaika Homo had led coming out of the water, but slipped to third on the bike.

It was Lyles’ day, though, as she lit it up on the run and quickly marched towards the front. Setting a blistering pace, she was in front by the halfway point. Her race-best run split locked in her first Ironman 70.3 win in 4:28:37. Jackson hung on for second (4:32:42), while Uli Bromme closed off the podium in 4:42:07.

Ironman 70.3 Kansas

Craig Alexander (AUS) and Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) dominated the sixth running of Ironman 70.3 Kansas today, with winning times of 3:51:26 and 4:15:49, respectively, while former Super Bowl MVP wide receiver Hines Ward showcased his transition from gridiron legend to first-time Ironman.

In the men’s race, Alexander arrived in Kansas fresh off an impressive win in Hawaii last week.  He picked up right where he left off and was third out of the water but quickly gained the lead once the bike ride had started. Crowie seemed to be in control of the race for much of the ride. Into T2, though, Alexander’s lead was only 45 seconds on upstart American Daniel Bretscher.

Using the multiple out-and-back sections of the course in Clinton State Park, Alexander controlled the pace and made sure he was a solid minute ahead of the American through the first eight miles of the run. He then picked up the pace and quickly moved the gap to 1:30, where things stayed to the finish line. After the race Alexander said he wasn’t at all surprised with Bretscher’s performance, citing a number of races where the American has pushed him in the past.

Rounding out the top five, Great Britain’s James Hadley held off the challenge from Jozsef Major to hold on for third (3:59:07).

Ward exceeded both his and coach Paula Newby-Fraser’s expectations with his 5:53:18 finish. 

“That was the hardest thing I have ever done,” Ward said after the race. “There was a lot of soul searching towards the end. I dug deep down and just wanted to get to the finish line.”

On the women’s side, Great Britain’s Emma-Kate Lidbury followed in Chrissie Wellington and Rachel Joyce’s footsteps, leading the race from start to finish to earn her sixth Ironman 70.3 race.

After leading off the bike by two minutes last week in Raleigh, only to be caught by Laura Bennett on the run, Lidbury was thrilled to come off the bike and open up more of a gap on the women chasing behind her in Kansas. Second off the bike was Mandy McLane, who found herself over five-minutes back. Fifth off the bike, just over seven-minutes down, was Danielle Kehoe, who quickly set her sights on the podium. While she wasn’t ever in a position to challenge Lidbury, Kehoe did run her way to second (4:21:47), with McLane hanging on to round out the podium in 4:23:46.

Ironman 70.3 Pescara

Hungary’s Erika Csomor celebrated another incredible victory, despite a 6:54 disadvantage after the swim. On the bike, Tamsin Lewis from Great Britain hammered away, just as she had done at Ironman 70.3 Mallorca a couple of weeks before. Fifth out of the water, she was first off the bike in 3:01:23 with a lead of nearly five minutes on Celine Schärer, with Csomor in third, six-minutes behind.

Csomor put herself into the mix within only three km remaining on the run. By that point she was in second. Lewis’ advantage shrunk kilometer by kilometer and, with only two km to go, her lead was down on 35 seconds. In the last 1,500 m Csomor made her final attack and passed Lewis in a thrilling finish. Csomor won the race in 4:33:18, 21 seconds ahead of Lewis. Austria’s Michi Herlbauer took third in 4:40:25.

For the men, Horst Reichel celebrated his first win in 4:02:04 after years of multiple runner-up finishes at Ironman events. The 31-year-old took the win thanks to perfect race tactics.

Reichel was in eighth off the swim, alongside two-time race winner Daniel Fontana. On the run, Reichel controlled his pace early, but through the second half he pushed himself to the victory. At the 18 km point of the race run leader Alessandro Degasperi and Reichel were side by side and caught Manuel Küng. At that point Reichel made his decisive move to the front. His 1:14:54 half-marathon split allowed him to celebrate his first 70.3 victory ahead of Degasperi (4:03:12) and Küng (4:03:32).

Ironman 70.3 Japan

The flat water at the new swim location in Shin Maiko Marine Park provided perfect conditions for quick times. James Hodge led out of the water and then blasted his way through a fast, but mentally challenging four-lap course. Off the bike with a four-minute lead, Hodge ran home in 3:50:58 to take the win 

A radiology student, Hodge now heads home back to Australia and will be doing little resting on the long flight.

“I have exams when I get back and need to study,” he said. “Two more years of this and then I can do it (triathlon) properly.”

It was a case of the age over youth in the race for second and third on the podium. Beijing Olympian Ryosuke Yamamoto was in second off of the bike, but was unable to catch Hodge even though he posted the fastest professional run split of the day. Third place went to Yamamoto’s compatriot and London 2012 Olympian, Yuichi Hosoda, 29. Hosoda started the run in fourth, but caught Australia’s Michael Fox and squeezed him out for the final podium spot by less than a second. 

In the ladies race it was a small affair with just three starters and proved to be a one woman race with another London Olympian capitalizing on her speed over a much faster course than previous years. Japan’s own Ai Ueda, racing in her first Ironman 70.3 event and first attempt at a distance above Olympic, blitzed the course and impressed at every discipline to take the win in 4:18:26. Taiwan’s Shiao-Yu Li and Japan’s Megumi Shigaki rounded out the podium.

The 80+ category wasn’t the fastest, nor the most competitive, but might have had the toughest athlete. Hiromu Inada, 81, the current 80 to 84 world champion, eased around the course in 6:31:39 to successfully defend his Ironman 70.3 Japan age-group title.

Challenge Kraichgau

Boris Stein (GER) and Yvonne van Vlerken (NED were crowned champions of Challenge Kraichgau with Stein also taking out the German National Half Distance Championship title.

The day started with an hour’s delay due to bad weather and wasn’t without its drama. Challenge Wanaka champion, Dylan McNeice (NZL) was second out of the water but a tumble just two km into the bike effectively put an end to his race although he did finish. In the women’s the same happened to women’s leader Danielle Sämmler (GER), who crashed at the first roundabout with the resulting mechanical damaging taking her out of the race.

Stein led throughout the bike and run before winning in 3:53:07, while Maik Petzold (GER) took second place in 3:56:26 on his debut over this distance and in the process, outrunning race favourite Timo Bracht (GER) – who settled for third in 3:58:43. Another race favorite, Andreas Raelert (GER), was unable to keep the pace of the leading athletes following major dental surgery earlier in the week.

In the women’s race, Julia Gajer (GER) took second place in 4:27:12 only really threatening van Vlerken’s  lead at the beginning of the cycle, after which van Vlerken took the lead and never gave it away as she took the title in 4:26:35. Gajer was crowned German National Champion as the highest placed German. Jenny Schulz (GER) finished third in 4:28:21.