After a third-place finish at the Ironman World Championship, all Sarah Crowley had to do was finish in Arizona to validate her spot for next year’s race in Kona. The Australian did much more than that, though, taking the win over Heather Jackson and Meredith Kessler. Fresh off a runner-up finish at Ironman Wisconsin in September, Melanie McQuaid showed she is coming back from her foot injury to some outstanding results – she took fourth.
There are probably a few male pros who were happy that this was a women’s only race – the men raced in Florida earlier this month – as the day began with Lauren Brandon putting on another swim lesson (she’s happy to pull away from both men and women in the water). Brandon hit the first transition almost four-minutes ahead of Meredith Kessler and 5:10 up on Crowley. McQuaid was fifth after the swim, just over nine-minutes behind Brandon.
Brandon managed to hold off Crowley until 75 km of the bike and then gamely hung as close as she could to the Aussie, coming into T2 1:31 behind. American Heather Jackson hit T2 5:45 back, with Kessler nine-minutes down. McQuaid was sixth off the bike, 13:30 from the lead.
Once out on the run Crowley got into cruise mode and used a 3:03 marathon to pull even further away from the competition. Jackson ran her way into second, with Kessler and McQuaid also getting past Brandon.
Since Crowley only needed to validate, the two Ironman slots went to Jackson and Kessler.
|Place||Name||Country||Overall||3.8 km Swim||180 km Bike||42.2 km Run|