It was another typically windy day in Galveston, Texas but that did not slow down American Chris Lieto and Scotland’s Catriona Morrison.
Americans John Flanagan (21:23) and Mary Beth Ellis (24:29) led the pro field out of the water, but major moves were made during the bike.
Lieto put his stamp on the race with a 2:02:15 bike split which gave him a 2:38 lead off the bike. Meanwhile, Switzerland’s Karin Thuerig negated her slow swim with a 2:12:24 bike, and Prince George’s Angela Naeth rode a second best 2:17:02, which put her 56 seconds back of Thuerig after the 90 km ride.
Lieto followed up his spectacular ride with a solid 1:16:56 half marathon that enabled him to hold on to the lead and get the win (3:45:37) and $15 000 US pay cheque ($10 000 for the win and $5000 bonus for being the top American). Denmark’s Rasmus Henning came up just short for second (3:46:47), and the USA’s Tim O’Donnell finished third (3:48:16), dropping one position from last year. Last year’s champion, Terenzo Bozzone finished in fourth (3:50:00).
Naeth had an excellent transition, which put her just 36 seconds in arrears of Thuerig heading out on the run, but once again she will have to wait yet another day for her first Ironman 70.3 title thanks to the run prowess of Morrison. Morrison posted the top run of 1:18:18 to overtake Thuerig and Naeth for the title (4:06:43). Naeth ran 1:22:18 to take second (4:09:40) ahead of Thuerig (4:10:30). Ellis finished fourth (4:14:39) but picked up $5000 US and the US Pro Championship as the top American female.
“Ouch. Today I went to the well. But I found what I was looking for,” tweeted Naeth. “Congrats to my friend/competitor (Catriona Morrison) 4 making me dig so deep.”
Top 10 Women
1 Catriona Morrison (GBR) 4:06:43
2 Angela Naeth (CAN) 4:09:40
3 Karin Thuerig (SUI) 4:10:30
4 Mary Ellis (USA) 4:14:39
5 Kelly Williamson (USA) 4:14:53
6 Desiree Ficker (USA) 4:16:16
7 Margaret Shapiro (USA) 4:17:05
8 Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:17:35
9 Tyler Stewart (USA) 4:19:03
10 Sonja Tajsich (GER) 4:20:13
Top 10 Men
1 Chris Lieto (USA) 3:45:37
2 Rasmus Henning (DEN) 3:46:47
3 Timothy O’Donnell (USA) 3:48:16
4 Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:50:00
5 Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) 3:50:54
6 Marko Albert (EST) 3:51:26
7 Sebastian Kienl (GER) 3:52:03
8 Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) 3:53:33
9 Jozsef Major (HUN) 3:54:55
10 Joe McDaniel (USA) 3:56:09
25 Brent Poulsen (CAN) 4:07:24