Canada’s Brooke Brown was greeted with overwhelming cheers from the hundreds of spectators lining the finishing chute at yesterday’s Triathlon Vitoria-Gasteiz as she ran her way to a third straight victory. For Brown, the win was extra special as she’s overcome some adversity in training this year and had yet to see a result that reflected her all hard work. Her finishing time across the full distance race was 9:38:43, putting her five minutes before runner-up, German Julia Mai. Britain’s Yvette Clark rounded out the elite women’s podium in 9:58:34.
Brown, who underwent jaw surgery over the winter, told TMC earlier this year that things hadn’t been going as planned in training or racing as she was forced onto a liquid diet that caused her to lose lots of weight. She said she was optimistic and excited to return to Spain’s Basque region for one of her all-time favourite races and a chance to defend her title.
She didn’t take the lead from the start and spent lots of time chasing yesterday, but made her way steadily to overtake the women’s leader during the latter half of the marathon.
“That’s not how I typically race; I like to get to the front as soon as possible,” Brown said. “It was a little nerve-wracking, but I believe in what they preach… and it was certainly working out.”
On the men’s side, a strong contingent of talented European pros battled for the title but it was Spain’s own Ivan Alvarez who won in a time of 8:34:19. With Alejandro Santamaria and Jose Luis Cano following in second and third respectively, it was an all-Spanish podium for the men.
The 10th anniversary of this iconic race proved triathlon is booming in Europe. TMC followed the race on course all day and found crowds of cheering spectators lining the entire run course and even out in the countryside for the hot and humid bike leg. The sold-out race had a wait list for the half distance, but organizers say they don’t plan to grow the 2,500-competitor event next year as they’re at capacity in terms of maintaining the high standard and quality the race is known for. With that said, they hope to attract more North American triathletes next year. From what we witnessed firsthand this weekend, Triathlon Vitoria-Gasteiz is certainly a race to be added to any triathlete’s bucket list.
We’ll have a destination feature on Triathlon Vitoria-Gasteiz in an upcoming issue of the magazine.
Full results for the half and full distance races here.