British pair Paul Amey and Rachel Joyce battled tough course conditions as they earned victories at this weekend’s Memorial Hermann IronmanTexas, crossing the finish line in 8:25:06 and 8:49:1, respectively.
The saying goes that there’s a first time for everything. While the 39-year-old Amey has achieved a lot in endurance sports, he found one more first – an elusive Ironman victory. On a day where the conversation could have been dominated by the heat and humidity, it was the three-time ITU world duathlon champion and multiple top-five Ironman finisher Amey’s victory that deserved the spotlight.
With a swim split that wasn’t even fast enough to place him in the top ten (54:54), Amey set out on a day-long mission, working his way to the top. On a day plagued by heat, the race quickly became the usual one of attrition. Mattias Hecht began to fade near the end of the bike, and though he made it into T2 ahead of his competition, James Cunnama and Ian Mikelson were in hot pursuit. Cunnama passed Hecht within the first three miles, with Amey close behind. By mile six, Amey had taken the lead for good, with Cunnama and Mikelson leapfrogging each other for second a handful of times behind him.
In the women’s race, Joyce dominated a fading field for the majority of the day. After exiting the water in 54:02, with Texas native Amy Marsh close behind, Joyce and Marsh headed out on the bike where the two rode the majority of the course together. Around mile 40, Joyce took the lead and from that point on, the day was hers.
Once on the run, Joyce backed up her record-setting bike split with a race-best run split of 3:07:27, coming across the finish line 36 minutes ahead of the second-place woman (and in eighth place overall) with a time of 8:49:14, beating Mary Beth Ellis’ 2012 record (8:54:58) by over five minutes.
2005 Ironman world champion Faris Al-Sultan and Kristin Moller finished well ahead of their competition at Ironman Lanzarote this weekend. Al-Sultan led virtually from start to finish at the iconic event set in the Canary Islands. Renowned for its challenging bike course, Al-Sultan dominated the ride after following Great Britain’s Stephen Bayliss out of the water. Arriving in T2 with a huge lead, Al-Sultan cruised through a 2:55 marathon to easily win in 8:42:41, adding a pro win to the age group title he won in 1997 on the volcanic island while competing in his very first Ironman.
Behind the German champion, Spain’s Miguel Blanchart thrilled the crowd with a solid runner-up finish. There was a sprint for the final spot on the podium as Estonia’s Kirill Kotsegarov managed to get to the line just ahead of former champ Philip Graves from the UK.
If Al-Sultan’s win was a cruise to the finish, it’s hard to find words to describe the way Germany’s Kristin Möller dominated the women’s race. She might have been 10th out of the water, but once on her bike Möller quickly put her stamp on the race and was well ahead of the rest of the women by the top of the second major mountain climb. She never looked back and cruised through the marathon in under three hours to take the title in 9:37:35.
Ironman Florida 70.3
After having a car door opened on him while riding his bike two days before the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in January, New Zealand’s Terenzo Bozzone struggled to get back to form in time for Ironman New Zealand. At that race he found himself well off course during the swim and learned that he was suffering from a delayed concussion. After four weeks of rest, he’s finally back to training and racing and enjoyed a huge win in Haines City this weekend – beating American Kevin Collington by nearly two minutes in 3:45:51. American Mary Beth Ellis controlled the women’s race from start-to-finish, finishing the swim within seconds of the lead before pulling away on the bike and run for her win in the Sunshine State. She won in 4:14:03.
Challenge Half Barcelona
In his first middle distance competition, Javier Gómez Noya spectacularly won both the Half Distance Triathlon European Championship and Challenge Half Barcelona this Sunday. Camilla Pedersen (DEN) took the women’s title for the second year in a row.
Gomez dominated the competition throughout, scoring his dream debut in Calella. The Spaniard finished with a six-minute advantage on the runner-up, Martin Jensen, and eight minutes ahead of bronze medalist Jens Toft. Four-times world champion Chris McCormack finished sixth.
In the women’s race, Pedersen managed to leave her rivals as she showed her strength on the challenging cycle course. She maintained her advantage all along the 21-km run course and reached the finish line with a wide margin over her rivals. Ireland’s Eimear Mullan made the finish line five minutes and 35 seconds after the Dane and won the silver medal. Polish athlete Maria Czesnik finished seven minutes after Pedersen and scored the bronze medal.
Artem Parienko (RUS) threw down a monster run on Sundayin Huatulco to take a late lead in the run and win his first ITU World Cup in 2:03:12. In a late surge, Parienko gunned for the leaders who were more than a minute ahead on the start of the run. But by the second run lap, the Russian had pulled even with Luciano Taccone (ARG), who had broken away on the bike behind France’s Aurelien Raphael. Parienko smoked the final two laps for the win, followed closely by Taccone. While Raphael faded under the hot conditions, Mexico’s own Irving Perez stormed ahead for bronze.
For the women, Brazil’s Pamela Oliveira recorded her first World Cup win (2:16:10), leading from line to line on Sunday. Austria’s Lisa Perterer put the hammer down on the run, closing in significantly on Oliveira, but it wasn’t quite enough as she took second for her highest World Cup finish ever. Ukraine’s Yuliya Yelistratova posted an impressive final bike lap to bridge up, which put her in prime running position to earn her first World Cup finish since 2010.