Australia’s Craig Alexander and Great Britain’s Chrissie Wellington won the Ironman World Championship titles today in Hawaii.
American Andy Potts led all athletes out of the water with a 49:44 swim followed by Australia’s Pete Jacobs (51:38) and American Matt Reed (51:41). Potts held on to the lead for 37 kilometres after which he surrendered it to American Chris Lieto who then traded leads with TJ Tollakson (USA), Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL), Faris Al-Sultan (GER), and Luke McKenzie (AUS).
Lieto finally grabbed the lead for good by the 144-kilometre mark and he entered T2 with a 5:11 lead over Luke McKenzie. Vanhoenacker was a further six seconds behind, and Alexander another two seconds behind the Belgian. Lieto rode 4:18:31, which was just eight seconds off the bike course record.
Early on the run it was clear that Alexander was a man focused on getting his third Ironman World Championship title. The thirty-eight year old Alexander passed a faltering Lieto 10 kilometres into the marathon and continued strong despite the challenge of a charging Andreas Raelert (GER) and Pete Jacobs (AUS), and cramping during the final six kilometers of the run. Alexander finished with a 2:44:03 marathon to take Ironman World title in 8:03:56 to set the new course record and add to the Ironman 70.3 World title he won just four weeks ago. He now joins Canada’s Peter Reid with three career Ironman World titles – something he was well aware of and humbled by.
Alexander swam 51:56, biked 4:24:05, and ran 2:44:03 for the course record. Jacobs finished second (8:09:11) thanks to a 2:42:29 marathon (fastest of the day), and Raelert took third (8:11:07).
“I wish everyone in the world could experience what I experience in that last mile (of the run),” said Alexander at the finish line. “That was the performance I’ve been dreaming of.”
Wellington & Carfrae come from way behind
It was not a typical dominating win by Chrissie Wellington but it might have been her toughest and most intelligent win yet.
American Amanda Stevens led the swim for the women (51:54), with Great Britain’s Julie Dibens just five seconds behind. Dibens then put on a bike clinic for 180 kilometres. She ended up posting a new bike course record of 4:44:14 (4:08 faster than the previous record by Karin Thuerig). However, a pre-existing injury in her right foot brought an end to her day during the run, thus allowing Thuerig to lay claim to the course record once again but with a new time of 4:44:19.
Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen took over the lead from Dibens 10 kilometres into the run but after being out the picture for most of the day the three-time champion along with last year’s champion made their move.
Wellington and Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae were both more than twenty minutes back of Dibens after the bike but that did not matter. They steadily made an assault on the Dibens and Steffen. Wellington passed Steffen for the race lead upon entry into the Energy Lab, and with six kilometers to go Carfrae overtook Steffen for second. But with close to three minutes to make up on Wellington she could not close the gap despite a 2:52:09 run course record. Wellington closed with a speedy 2:52:41 marathon to win her fourth Ironman World title in 8:55:08. Carfrae pushed hard right to the line to capture second (8:57:57), and Great Britain’s Leanda Cave finished a career best third (9:03:29) at the World Championships.
Canada’s Heather Wurtele, the Ironman Lake Placid Champion, finished eighth in 9:17:56.
“This race means more to me than anything,” said Wellington at the finish. “There were times that my body was going to give up on me. To be crowned the Ford Ironman World Champion is the greatest honor.”
Top 10 Men
1 8:03:56 Alexander, Craig AUS 51:56 4:24:05 2:44:03
2 8:09:11 Jacobs, Pete AUS 51:38 4:31:03 2:42:29
3 8:11:07 Raelert, Andreas GER 51:58 4:26:52 2:47:48
4 8:12:58 Bockel, Dirk LUX 51:44 4:24:17 2:53:04
5 8:20:12 Bracht, Timo GER 53:37 4:35:07 2:47:26
6 8:21:07 Aigroz, Mike SWI 52:31 4:30:44 2:54:08
7 8:22:15 Tissink, Raynard RSA 52:08 4:28:40 2:56:37
8 8:23:19 Boecherer, Andi GER 51:49 4:25:46 3:01:44
9 8:25:42 McKenzie, Luke USA 51:47 4:24:16 3:05:54
10 8:27:18 Al-Sultan, Faris GER 51:55 4:29:32 3:01:41
Top 10 Women
1 8:55:08 Wellington, Chrissie GBR 1:01:03 4:56:53 2:52:41
2 8:57:57 Carfrae, Mirinda AUS 57:17 5:04:17 2:52:09
3 9:03:29 Cave, Leanda GBR 53:54 4:58:41 3:06:36
4 9:06:57 Joyce, Rachel GBR 53:56 4:58:57 3:09:55
5 9:07:32 Steffen, Caroline SWI 57:15 4:50:26 3:15:17
6 9:15:00 Thuerig, Karin SWI 1:12:19 4:44:19 3:13:31
7 9:15:17 Tajsich, Sonja GER 1:06:57 4:58:55 3:04:46
8 9:17:56 Wurtele, Heather CAN 58:43 4:59:10 3:15:29
9 9:18:11 Snow, Caitlin USA 58:47 5:20:57 2:53:50
10 9:19:52 Berasategui, Virginia ESP 58:44 5:03:31 3:12:50