Great Britain’s Joe Skipper (pictured above) added another Ironman title to his impressive resume today with a solid win at Ironman Arizona – the win continues a successful fall run that saw him win Ironman Wales and take fifth at the Ironman World Championship in Kona. The Brit was able to hold off a spirited charge by American Matt Hanson, who finished the day with a 2:35:30 marathon. Another American, Ben Kanute, made his Ironman debut a good one by rounding out the podium.
Both Skipper and Hanson trailed Great Britain’s Andrew Horsfall-Turner by over three minutes after the swim. Just 18 seconds behind Horsfall-Turner, Kanute joined the Brit at the front of the race quickly on the bike, but by 30 km they had company in the form of Skipper and Denmark’s Kristian Hogenhaug. At that point Hanson was 2:26 behind the leaders, but that was as close as he would get.
By the end of the bike Hogenhaug and Skipper were well clear of the rest of the field, hitting T2 with a five minute lead over Kanute, and almost nine minutes up on pre-race favourite Sam Long. Hanson hit the run course just under 14 minutes down.
The two bike leaders ran together through the first 13 km of the run, but shortly after that Skipper started to pull away. By 16 km Skipper was clear with a lead of about a minute, but it was Hanson who was creating all the fireworks on the marathon course. Skipper would run a solid 2:44:43 marathon to hit the finish line in 7:46:00. Hanson’s race-fastest run would see him get past both Kanute and Hogenhaug for the runner-up position (7:49:48). Kanute would take third in his Ironman debut (7:51:25), while Hogenhaug would take fourth in 7:56:38. Belgian Bart Aernouts would round out the top five in 8:03:25.
Long struggled through the marathon (3:14:27) to finish 10th in 8:23:31.