Kristian Blummenfelt appears to have blazed his way to a new half-distance world best time as he and Holly Lawrence both won their third consecutive Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship titles in Bahrain. Reports are that the bike course might have been short, though, which could negate Blummenfelt’s time from the record books.
Blummenfelt does it on the run
American Ben Kanute led a pack of seven men out of the water in a time of 22:20, with Blummenfelt, his Norwegian countryman Casper Stornes and Denmark’s Daniel Bækkegård in the group. The four of them, along with Great Britain’s Philip Graves, set a scorching pace on the bike as a group of five arrived into T2 together.
Once they got out on the run it didn’t take long for Blummenfelt to establish himself, opening up a 45-second gap on the second-place Bækkegård through 4 km. Blummenfelt, 25, blazed his way to a 1:07:00 half marathon to win by nearly four minutes and set a new world best of 3:25:21, lowering his mark of 3:29:04 set at last year’s race.
There is talk, though, that due to road work on the course the bike was about 86 km, so we might have to wait a bit before Blummenfelt’s time is accepted as a world-best time.
Bækkegård had a solid 1:10:44 run to take second, while Stornes finished third for the second straight year. Great Britain’s Mark Buckingham and Russian Aleksey Kalistratov both moved up on the run into the top-five, while Kanute settled for sixth. Graves fell to 11th.
Top five professional men’s results:
|1. Kristian Blummenfelt||NOR||00:22:26||1:52:03||1:07:00||3:25:21|
|2. Daniel Bækkegård||DNK||00:22:24||1:52:01||1:10:44||3:29:16|
|3. Casper Stornes||NOR||00:22:30||1:51:56||1:14:26||3:33:06|
|4. Mark Buckingham||GBR||00:23:09||1:55:46||1:12:41||3:35:44|
|5. Aleksey Kalistratov||RUS||00:23:31||1:56:13||1:13:19||3:37:15|
Lawrence continues winning ways
The British dominated the women’s race, managing to claim the top-four spots overall.
Lucy Hall led the swim in 23:06, followed closely by fellow Brits Lawrence, Jodie Stimpson and Brazil’s Pâmella Oliveira. The lead group expanded from four to seven on the bike, as Great Britain’s Claire Hann and India Lee, along with Sweden’s Lisa Norden, had the top-three splits of the day to join the fray. Norden, who recently competed in the time trial world championships in September, blasted the day’s top time of 2:01:30.
After coming into T2 bunched up with the others, Lawrence and Stimpson asserted themselves early on the run course and duelled it out most of the way. The 29-year-old Lawrence pulled away, solidifying her third straight win in Bahrain in a time of 3:52:51. She has now successfully won the 70.3 North American (St. George), European (Elsinore), Asia-Pacific (Vietnam) and Middle East Championships in 2019.
Stimpson managed to hold off Hann as they took second and third, while Hall edged out Oliveira for fourth. Lee and Norden placed sixth and seventh respectively.
Top five professional women’s results:
|1. Holly Lawrence||GBR||00:23:16||2:04:13||1:21:35||3:52:51|
|2. Jodie Stimpson||GBR||00:23:18||2:04:15||1:23:53||3:55:29|
|3. Claire Hann||GBR||00:24:44||2:02:43||1:23:58||3:55:51|
|4. Lucy Hall||GBR||00:23:06||2:04:19||1:28:05||3:59:40|
|5. Pâmella Oliveira||BRA||00:23:14||2:04:11||1:28:19||4:00:11|
Also of note was the Legends relay team consisting of Australian open water swimmer Chloe McCardel, British cyclist Mark Cavendish and four-time Olympic track champion Mo Farah. The three of them combined for the third-fastest time of the day in 3:31:50, with splits of 25:51, 1:54:46 and 1:07:06 respectively.