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Ironman Florida victories for Andrew Starykowicz and Yvonne Van Vlerken

Ottawa's Ryan Cain places 15th.

Nearly 3,000 athletes ranging in age from 19 to 79 entered the Gulf of Mexico at the fourteenth edition of IRONMAN Florida. Top professionals Andrew Starykowicz (USA) and Yvonne Van Vlerken (NLD) celebrated victories, crossing the finish line in 8:06:17 and 8:51:35, respectively.

Under clear skies and mild temperatures, Denis Chevrot (FRA) exited the water first followed by Starykowicz, Sean Donnelly (DEU) and Jan Raphael (DEU). A close pack of professionals began the 112-mile bike course but it was Starykowicz who put the hammer down and powered his way to a commanding lead over the field. After widening the gap through the last 20 miles, he headed into T2 with an astonishing 4:04:49 bike-split, a new bike-course record. Starykowicz continued to dominate throughout the 26.2-mile run and captured his first IRONMAN victory.

Top 5 Pro Men

1. Andrew Starykowicz USA 8:06:17

2. Jan Raphael GER 8:08:49

3. Scott Defilippis USA 8:09:33

4. David Plese SLV 8:14:28

5. Denis Chevrot FRA 8:16:49

15. Ryan Cain CAN 8:45:28

Meredith Kessler (USA) was the first professional female to run onto the beach, followed by Ashley Clifford (USA) and Missy Kuck (USA). Favorable conditions allowed for a fast bike course and Kessler set the lead pace throughout, but Yvonne Van Vlerken (NLD), Carrie Lester (AUS) and Jessica Jacobs (USA) followed close behind as they headed into T2. Though she exited transition with the lead, Kessler could not maintain her position and was overtaken by a surging Van Vlerken, who made her move in the first six miles of the marathon and never looked back. Van Vlerken sealed her victory with a 3:04:45 run-split on her way to a new course record. Jacobs, the defending champion, came off the bike in third position, but dropped out of the race with approximately 10 km to go in the marathon.

Top 5 Pro Women

1. Yvonne Van Vlerken NLD 8:51:35

2. Mirinda Carfrae AUS 9:05:03

3. Ashley Clifford USA 9:07:34

4. Meredith Kessler USA 9:08:28

5. Stephanie Jones USA 9:13:18

One of 30 events in the global IRONMAN Series, IRONMAN Florida lead athletes along a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run that utilized a variety of Panama City Beach’s scenic areas. It featured a two-loop swim in the Gulf of Mexico as well as a bike and run portion of the course that are known for being flat and fast. Spectators filled the roads along the run, which parallels the shoreline, through local neighborhoods to the turnaround in St. Andrews State Park. The event offered a total professional prize purse of $25,000 and 50 coveted slots to the 2013 IRONMAN World Championship, taking place on Oct. 12 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i.

Visit www.ironmanflorida.com for event information and official results.