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Gallery: Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championship

A world-class field of professional long distance triathletes — including a handful of Canadians — battled cold temperatures, rain and unforgiving hills at yesterday’s Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championship in St. George, Utah.

Lionel Sanders and Heather Wurtele ran away with the wins, each continuing a streak they’ve set for themselves so far this season.

“This race holds a special place in my heart,” Sanders told TMC.¬†“In 2014 I came here thinking I was going to contend for the win and was humbled by Jan Frodeno who beat me by 10 minutes. I was miserable after the race, and felt terrible about myself. Not long after I started to realize that I needed to change my orientation to triathlon, so that my self-worth was not wrapped up in my performances.

That lessons has been the basis of all of my subsequent races. I came here to pay homage to this race, and thank it for the lessons it taught me. My goal was to push myself harder than I have ever before. I think Sebastien Kienle wanted to do this as well. I got off the bike with a 30 second lead and he held that steady for nearly 10 miles of the run. Thanks to him, that is the most I have ever suffered on a run, and because of that, I feel that I achieved my goal. Winning the race was icing on the cake.”

Check out TMC‘s¬†gallery from photographer Paul Phillips below.