Photos by Jay Prasuhn
In what may have been the most competitive Ironman event of 2010 not staged on the Big Island, three-time world champion Chrissie Wellington and German veteran Timo Bracht outclassed the field, both enjoying the lead throughout the marathon. Wellington’s time of 8:36:13 set a new all-time Ironman world record and put her at the finish 29 minutes ahead of runner-up Linsey Corbin.
“This was my Kona,” Wellington told the crowd at the finish. After winning three consecutive world championships, Wellington was forced to sit out of this year’s race in Hawaii due to severe illness.
The women’s race was chock-full of top performers from last month’s Hawaii Ironman, including Brits Rachel Joyce and Leanda Cave, who took to an early swim lead during the 2.4-mile tour of Tempe Town Lake. Wellington finished her swim less than a minute back of her countrywomen, and began to slowly make up the deficit on the early miles of the flat-and-fast three-lap ride along Arizona’s Beeline Highway.
Cave took to the early lead, but once the inevitable pass by Wellington came, it seemed the race was already over. Within minutes, Wellington was out of sight and it was clear that she was not interested in just having an average day. Eighty miles into the 112-mile ride, Wellington’s lead was over four minutes and growing fast. She finished the bike with a 4:47:06 split, which put her in transition 11 minutes ahead of Cave.
Halfway through the run, Wellington was on pace to finish under 8:30, while the women running behind her were on pace to finish in just over nine hours. Her pace slowed considerably throughout the second half of the run around downtown Tempe, but she still finished the day with a 2:52:55 run, clocking the fastest time at an Ironman event in history. Wellington’s mark of 8:19:13 from this July’s Quelle Challenge Roth still stands as the fastest Iron-distance time ever.
Corbin was next to finish in 9:05:33, taking the runner-up position in Arizona for the second straight season. Cave rounded out the podium, eight minutes behind Corbin.
While there weren’t any world records set in the men’s contest, there were plenty of fast times, especially on the bike. With so many strong riders in the mix, a furious tempo was set at the front of the bike and eight men ultimately finished the bike in under 4:25. Defending champion Jordan Rapp, upstart Kevin Everett and superbiker Chris Lieto powered to the front at the start of the ride, but Bracht kept pace only a minute back, never letting the leaders out of sight. The German eventually took the lead near the 90-mile mark, but Rapp and Lieto remained only a few seconds behind for the remainder of the ride.
Bracht was first into transition, with Rapp only a few bike lengths back and Lieto another 40 seconds behind. Bracht’s six-minute miles were too quick for anyone to match at the start of the marathon, and he enjoyed the lead throughout the three-lap tour of Arizona State’s campus. Bracht crossed the line in 8:07:16 to win by over three minutes. Rasmus Henning matched Bracht’s run, but the Dane lost seven minutes on the bike and therefore was forced to settle for second.
The biggest surprise of the day came from Brit Tom Lowe—boyfriend of Chrissie Wellington—who posted the fastest run of the day (2:48:11) to finish third. Rapp crossed next in fourth, a tremendous accomplishment given that he was the victim of a near-fatal run-in with a car while cycling in March. Matty Reed finished sixth in his first Ironman, stopping the clock in 8:33:08.
Ford Ironman Arizona
November 21, 2010
Pro Men’s Results
1. Timo Bracht (GER) 8:07:16
2. Rasmus Henning (DEN) 8:10:58
3. Tom Lowe (GBR) 8:11:44
4. Jordan Rapp (USA) 8:16:45
5. Jozsef Major (HUN) 8:26:15
6. Matt Reed (USA) 8:33:08
7. Max Longree (GER) 8:33:28
8. Ian Mikelson (USA) 8:41:18
9. Joe McDaniel (USA) 8:43:23
10. Anthony Toth (CAN) 8:46:57
Pro Women’s Results
1. Chrissie Wellington (GBR) 8:3613
2. Linsey Corbin (USA) 9:05:33
3. Leanda Cave (GBR) 9:13:50
4. Meredith Kessler (USA) 9:15:01
5. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 9:19:10
6. Erika Csomor (HUN) 9:22:38
7. Mackenzie Madison (USA) 9:24:11
8. Heleen bij de Vaate (NED) 9:29:15
9. Uli Bromme (USA) 9:31:22
10. Lauren Harrison (USA) 9:33:53