Fresh off a fifth-place finish at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, Sweden’s Lisa Norden arrived at Ironman Cozumel as the logical pre-race favourite. Through 30 km of the run it appeared the 2012 Olympic silver medalist was on track to live up to those expectations, but she struggled over the last third of the marathon and was overtaken by Spaniard Gurutze Frades (pictured above at the Ironman World Championship last October).
Norden was near the front of the race from the start, finishing the swim just two seconds behind Mexico’s Margie Santamaria, with Poland’s Ewa Komander leading a group of four about two minutes back. Frades hit T1 5:10 back.
Norden, who has won the Swedish time trial championships on multiple occasions, dominated the bike, opening up a huge gap on the rest of the field. By the time she hit T2 she was 15:16 up on Germany’s Anne Reischmann, 21:43 ahead of defending champ Svenja Thoes, 22:22 up on Komander and 22:44 ahead of Frades.
Through the halfway point of the marathon Norden’s lead appeared safe – by that point Frades had run her way to second, but was still just under 14 minutes behind. The lead was down to 8:24 at the 28 km point of the marathon, though, and from there things really went south for Norden. Frades made the pass shortly after the 34 km point and continued to open time on the Swede right to the finish line.
Frades would finish in 8:40:47 thanks to a blazing 2:54:53 marathon, adding the full-distance title to her 70.3 Cozumel win from earlier this fall. Norden hung on for second (8:46:36), finishing the run in 3:23:17, with Australia’s Kylie Simpson exactly one minute behind (8:47:36) thanks to her 3:00:49 marathon. Reischmann took fourth in 8:56:57.
Ditlev tops the men’s field
After a tough day in Kona (a drafting penalty put him out of contention), Dane Magnus Ditlev bounced back with a big day at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship a few weeks later. He continued his fast racing today with an impressive win at Ironman Cozumel. The Challenge Roth winner from earlier this year used a 4:04:06 bike split to lead the way into T2, about two minutes ahead of Belgian Pieter Heemeryck and almost five minutes up on Americans Rudy Von Berg and Andy Potts.
A 2:59:02 marathon was enough to get Ditlev the line for the win (7:50:41). Switzerland’s Jan van Berkel used the days fastest run (2:50:10) to run his way to second in 7:53:20, with Brazil’s Fernando Toldi rounding out the podium (7:54:00).