Nicola Spirig won Olympic gold in 2012 and silver in 2016, both on the back of half-distance races. As she gears up for another medal run in Tokyo, she took this weekend’s Israman 113 race.
Spirig has both a great history with half-distance racing leading up to her Olympic appearances, and racing well in Eilat, Israel. She put both together this year with a huge win at the half-distance race at Israman this weekend, dominating the day from start to finish to become the first woman to break the five-hour barrier in the challenging event with her 4:47:26 finish. That time would have put her fourth overall in the men’s pro race.
Even though she’s renowned as one of the greatest Olympic-distance racers the sport has ever seen, Spirig has shown impressive abilities over the half-distance, too, even during build ups to the Olympics. In 2012 Spirig dominated Ironman 70.3 Antwerp just 13-days before she would take the gold in London thanks to a photo-finish decision over Sweden’s Lisa Norden. Her coach, Brent Sutton, described the move as a way to “steady her training down to a manageable level. She would have to spend 10 hours driving in the car both ways. Doing a 70.3 Ironman I also knew she would be careful not to push too hard, something that would have not been possible in the sprint race.”
In July, 2016 Spirig won Ironman 70.3 Haugesund in Norway, about six weeks out from her silver-medal performance in Rio.
Looks like she’s tuning up nicely for another Olympic medal run …
Van Looy takes the hat trick
Belgium’s Diego Van Looy captured his third straight men’s 113 title in Eilat, dominating the bike and run portions of the race to take a solid win over the Netherlands’ Erik-Simon Strijk.
|1||Diego Van Looy||BEL||4:30:33||0:29:39||2:42:44||1:12:55|
Reznikov gets her own hat trick in the 226
Local heroine Antonina Reznikov, who lives in Eilat, took her third straight women’s 226 title, no-doubt thrilling the local crowds with another huge win. Her 10:29:30 finish put her seventh overall in the challenging full-distance race. The men’s full-distance race was won by another Israeli, Omri Gazit.