Andreas Raelert came out of the water in 44:25, which was still ahead of Marino Vanhoenacker’s world-best pace from two years ago.
That got the huge crowd buzzing about the possibility of another record, but the conditions on the bike were tougher than two years ago, resulting in much slower bike splits. Raelert was just under four minutes down starting the marathon, but within 9 km he was in front.
His outstanding 2:40:07 split was more than enough to guarantee the win in 7:59:51. Germany’s Maik Twelsiek held on for second place in 8:11:36, while David Plese rounded out the podium in 8:19:13.
For the women, early swim leaders Hillary Biscay from the USA and Keiko Tanaka (Japan) hit the gas in the Wörthersee at the start of the swim to pull away from the other favorites like Erika Csomor, Eimear Mullan from Ireland and Sweden’s Asa Lundström. Biscay came out of the water in 49:11, with Tanaka right behind. Csomor was out of the water in 51:57, just behind Lundström, who won the inaugural Ironman Kalmar last year.
On the bike Tanaka led the race for nearly 70 km before Dianne McEwan from South Africa took the lead. McEwan, fresh off a fourth place finish at Ironman South Africa earlier this year, led the race for another 50 km before Csomor took the lead with 60 km of biking to go. Csomor got to T2 with a lead of just under two minutes over McEwan, with Lundström a few seconds behind in third.
After a 3:04:04 marathon, Csomor cruised to the win in 8:59:31, but behind her there was lots of exciting race action. Lundström was running in second early in the marathon, while McEwan was struggling with stomach problems and pulled out of the race after the first half of the marathon. That put Mullan, 2012’s Ironman UK champion, in third and fighting hard to move another spot on the podium. In the end, though, it was Lundström (9:04:42) who hung on for second with Mullan (9:05:46) rounding out the podium.
Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs
The first men to hit the shore of Buffalo Springs Lake were Aussie’s Joshua Amberger and Jimmy Seear with blistering swim times of 19:57 and 20:00 respectfully. The lead duo were followed almost a minute later by a chase pack of five, containing Brandon Barrett (USA), Terenzo Bazzone (NZL), Greg Bennett (AUS), Tim Reed (AUS) and Mark Bowstead (AUS).
Jimmy Archer (USA) entered T2 first, on the strength of the day’s best bike ride of 2:02:07, but managed to only squeeze out a 26-second advantage on Bennett, who dismounted his bike second. Bowstead was next into T2 with 1:38 to get to the leader, while Bozzone (-3:36) and Reed (-3:32) ran into transition in fourth and fifth with a lot of work ahead of them if they were to reach the podium.
Bowstead was unable to match Bennett’s early pace on the run and was rapidly surrendering time to the leader while allowing Reed and Bozzone to close in on the 23-year-old. Upon completion of the first of two laps of the run, Bennett led the men’s field, with Reed now running in second and chasing the leader hard and slowly whittling away at Bennett’s lead as the miles ticked by. Bozzone was running third, though not making any inroads into Bennett’s lead as the top three started the second half of the run.
Bennett showed the way in the men’s race over the closing half of the run while Reed slowly clawed his way closer. Bennett did not panic with the race closing in on him in the final miles and went on to capture the 2013 Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake title in a course record time of 3:48:58. Reed followed the winner across the finish line 2:27 later,in a time of 3:55:20 while Bozzone finished off the podium 6:23 back of Bennett with his finish time of 3:55:20.
On the women’s side, Angela Naeth totally dominated the 56-mile bike with her 2:22:20 bike split, which proved to be the women’s fastest bike split of the day. Naeth’s stellar bike propelled her to a 5:18 leading margin over eventual third place finisher Amy Marsh, who was the second woman to enter the transition at the time. American Laura Bennett entered the transition in sixth, and was 10:01 back of Naeth as the Olympian started her run.
When the women completed the 6.5-miles, Naeth had stretched out her lead 6:33 over Marsh who was still running in second. Behind the lead pair, Bennett had run her way into third and had to deal with a 9:04 disadvantage to the leader, but she was running at a pace that would give her a shot at catching Marsh over the closing miles.
Naeth ran a controlled final half of the run and went on to win the Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake in 4:16:08. Bennett’s race-best 1:24:42 helped her run her way into a second place finish with an elapsed time of 04:21:38. Marsh finished off the podium with her 4:22:03 clocking.