Ironman 70.3 Raleigh
Just as they did in 2009 at Ironman 70.3 Augusta, Laura and Greg Bennett both won the same 70.3 race today in Raleigh. Laura (USA) used her Olympic leg-speed for a come-from-behind victory on the run, while Greg (AUS) took control of the race early on the bike and went on to a 13:17 winning margin.
Laura Bennett exited the water with a lead of 1:34 over Anna Cleaver (NZL) and 1:49 on race-favorite Emma Kate Lidbury (GBR). But coming out of T2, Bennett found herself more than 10 minutes down with many others. Four miles into the run, Bennett had eliminated all but three seconds of her deficit as she ran just off Lidbury’s shoulder. A couple of miles later Bennett was clear, running a minute ahead of Lidbury, with Melanie McQuaid (CAN) trailing six minutes behind.
In the end, Bennett finished in 4:17:18, with Lidbury 3:57 behind in second. McQuaid rounded out the podium just under 10 minutes back.
For the men, TJ Tollakson (USA) set the pace in the water, exiting Lake Jordan with a three-second advantage over Greg Bennett. Bennett took the lead in the early miles of the bike and built on it through the 56-miles of rural road. Tollakson managed to stay close to Bennett over the opening half of the ride but, by T2, the lead was up to 3:52, with the remainder of the field another five minutes behind.
Bennett, a former Olympian himself, put his short-course run speed to good use, outpacing the entire field. Tollakson faded out of podium-contention in the second half of the run. In the end Paul Eicher (USA) and Kyle Pawaczyk worked their way into second and third. Bennett’s 1:17:22 run split got him to the line 13:17 ahead of Eicher and in 3:51:24, with Pawlaczyk another minute behind.
Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
It was a day for the vets as three-time Ironman world champion Craig Alexander, who turns 40 this year, dominated the men’s race at Ironman 70.3 Hawaii, taking the lead on the bike and never looking back as he cruised to a win by over six minutes. Belinda Granger, 43, took the women’s title by running down early race leader Bree Wee.
In the women’s race, Big Island resident Wee led the way out of the water with a lead of 1:26 on Granger. Wee then used her intimate knowledge of the Kohala coast to put on a bike clinic, eventually opening a gap of 7:41 on Granger by the time she entered T2, with New Zealand’s Julia Grant a distant third, 12:07 behind.
On the run, though, Wee started to fade and steadily lost time to Granger. Through 7.2 miles the lead was down to 4:27 on Granger and 7:11 over Grant. Three miles later Granger (4:44:36) and Grant had both gone by Wee and would eventually take the first two spots on the pro podium – age grouper Laura Siddall took the women’s 30 to 34 division and finished second overall (4:45:56) – with Wee rounding out the third spot on the pro podium.
For the men, defending Ironman world champion Pete Jacobs is finally over his leg injury and was competing in Hawaii over the weekend. Always one of the top swimmers in any race he enters, it was no surprise that the Australian led the way out of the water. Alexander rounded out the top five 11 seconds behind Jacobs.
Once on the bike, though, the race quickly became the Craig Alexander show. By the 12.8 mile timing point he was in first with a 23-second lead over Matthews, with Jacobs struggling almost a minute behind in third. By the time the ride was finished Alexander was over four minutes ahead of the pack.
On the run course, Paul Matthews made a bit of a run at Alexander, picking up about 30 seconds through the first three miles, but you don’t typically take time out of one of the best runners the sport has ever seen for long. By the time they got to the finish line, Alexander was 6:31 up on Mathews and finished in 4:05:43, with Damon Barnett finishing in third 8:32 behind. Jacobs is obviously still working his way back to fitness after the injury that sidelined the early part of his season – he would eventually finish as the eighth pro and 17th overall.
After posting impressive podium finishes earlier in the year, Australia’s Joe Gambles and Canada’s Heather Wurtele claimed the Rev3 Quassy titles against tough fields in Middlebury, Conn.
Eric Limkemann (USA) led the men out of the 1.2-mile swim at the Quassy Amusement Park with a time of 23:51. Several of the main contenders, including Gambles and 2011 Rev3 Series winner Andrew Starykowicz (USA), came into T1 with more than a minute to make up on that fast front group.
Starykowicz quickly erased that gap, taking the lead and building on it throughout much of the 56-mile bike ride. Limkemann tried to keep Starykowicz in his sight, while a group that included Gambles kept a legal distance from each other while trying to not let Starykowicz get too far ahead.
Starykowicz posted a bike split of 2:14:09 to earn a 1:46 lead over Limkemann and 2:40 over the large group of fast runners. Both Starykowicz and Limkemann struggled on the run after the hard efforts on the bike, leaving the big group to battle it out for the win. Gambles showed impressive resilience, posting a 1:13:50 half marathon to overtake a struggling Kevin Collington and take the top spot. He earned the victory in a time of 3:57:22. Australian Richie Cunningham, the 2012 Quassy winner, earned second at 3:58:14. New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty claimed the final podium spot at 3:58:36.
For the women, Jennifer Spieldenner (USA) was the first woman out of the swim with Annabel Luxford (AUS) and Meredith Kessler (USA) not far behind. Pre-race favorites Wurtele, Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) and Heather Jackson (USA) exited the water with some time to make up on the front group.
Luxford, a former ITU athlete, shined on the bike ride and was able to maintain her gap over the others on the 56-mile bike ride. Her 2:30:19 bike split gave her the front position into T2. Her advantage stood at 2:15 over Wurtele, 4 minutes over Jackson, 6 minutes over Kessler and nearly 10 minutes over defending champion Carfrae.
Luxford struggled to keep pace with a fast-running Wurtele, who earned the lead by mile seven of the race. Wurtele, who has shown a drastic improvement on the run this year, posted a blazing 1:22:00 half marathon on the tough course to take the Rev3 Quassy win in 4:22:18. Jackson posted one of the fastest half marathons of the day at 1:21:26 to earn second at 4:23:22. Luxford held off the faster runners behind her to earn third (4:26:37).
ITU Long Distance World Championships
Both France’s Bertrand Billard and Australia’s Melissa Hauschildt(AUS) claimed their first ever ITU Long Distance World Championship titles on Saturday in Belfort, France. Billard’s win was a treat for local French fans, while Hauschildt’s gold came as a surprise as it was her first time ever competing in an ITU Long Distance race.
The adverse weather conditions resulted in the format being altered before the race, with the swim omitted and the course reverting to a 9.5km run, 87km bike and 20km run.
Hauschildt’s time of 4:42:39 denied Camilla Pedersen (DEN) victory, who has to settle for a world championship silver medal for the second year running. Hauschildt was the early pace setter, clocking a time of 35:19 for the first 9.5km run. But with harsh conditions forecast she took a long first transition to add extra clothing, which allowed Pedersen to take the lead. It looked like it would prove to be a costly decision as Pedersen led until the second lap of the 20km run. But Hauschildt fought back in the final stages and finished 1:36 ahead of Pedersen. Rachel McBride (CAN) claimed bronze in 4:52:03.
For the men, Billard delighted locals by claiming gold in 4:08:45 while Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) won silver in 4:10:43. Dirk Bockel (LUX) repeated his third-place finish in last year’s race by ensuring bronze with a time of 4:11:51. Billard becomes France’s fourth world champion at the long distance format – more than any other nation
ITU WTS Madrid
Jonathan Brownlee’s season might only be two races in, but the reigning ITU World Champion showed his title defense was back on track with another stunning performance in Madrid on Sunday.
After making a triumphant return from an ankle injury in Yokohama last month, Brownlee (GBR) was again in the lead from almost start to finish to win his second consecutive race in the 2013 ITU World Triathlon Series season. He finished in 1:50:42. It was also his second consecutive win in Madrid as well, which keeps the race title in the Brownlee family. Since the series started in 2009 only Jonathan and brother Alistair have topped the podium in the Casa de Campo park.
Despite finishing second in 1:51:32, Javier Gomez’s performance was enough for him to take the overall series lead, with four races now completed in the 2013 season.
Great Britain’s Non Stanford stole the show for the women on Saturday to claim her first WTS title. After a solid swim saw her exit the water just outside the top ten, Stanford made her way through the field on the 40km bike and then never looked back in the 10km run as she hammered further and further ahead. She finished in 2:04:39
Anne Haug (GER) completed a remarkable comeback after a slow swim to finish second in 2:05:05 and Jodie Stimpson (GBR) made it two podium places for Great Britain to claim bronze in a time of 2:05:14.