It was a history making Welland Half Iron Triathlon yesterday, with the largest ever field every witnessed (402, plus another 35 in the Half Iron Du, and 51 in the Half Iron Swim/Bike, and 10 Teams in the various relay events) at this southern Ontario city.
There were a few significant last minute registrations that made for an exciting day of Half Iron Triathlon and Duathlon racing in the Recharge With Milk Triathlon Series.
Mattawa’s Len Gushe, a regular race winner on the Ontario scene, joined the start list late to make Toronto’s Nigel Gray’s title defense a bit more difficult.
Gushe led everyone out of the canal swim (25:06), and took a 2:40 lead over Gray onto the flat and fast bike course. From there Gray powered to the front of the race with a leading 2:05:49 ride – despite being the only athlete to have to deal with a 30 second training crossing with 5 km to go. Despite the slight delay, Gray finished off with a 1:24:02 half marathon to easily defend his title with a time of 4:00:38. Gushe took second (4:09:24), and 49-year-old Jim Sunners of Niagara Falls closed out the top three (4:17:52).
Oakville’s Robert Buren (5:22:15) won the AWAD battle over Toronto’s Richard Vander Wal Toronto (5:39:54).
1. Nigel Gray 4:00:38.7
2. Len Gushe 4:09:24.4
3. Jim Sunners 4:17:52.6
4. Jakub Macel 4:19:39.9
5. Francois Cote 4:20:35.8
Windsor’s Brooke Brown made a late decision to return to racing after taking some time off from her outstanding 9:47:05 performance at Ironman Texas in May.
Down four minutes to some of the faster female swimmers, Brown quickly put her stamp on the race with the top ride of 2:22:28, and she added a 1:30:30 second fastest run to comfortably take the win in 4:28:31. Guelph’s Deborah Powell put together a solid overall race to claim second (4:35:17), and Pembroke’s Kristen Bridges finished third (4:48:02).
“Sunday’s performance was a bonus,” said Brown. “This race has reignited my passion to set personal best times. I am eager for my upcoming races (Ironman Mont Tremblant and the Ironman 70.3 World Championships), to see how far I can push my limits. I have some hard work ahead of me.”
1. Brooke Brown 4:28:31.2
2. Deborah Powell 4:35:17
3. Kristen Bridges 4:48:02.0
4. Katie Snowden 4:50:45.5
5. Leslie Black 4:52:51.3
In the Half Iron Duathlon (5 km run, 90 km Bike, 21.1 km run), Mississauga’s Larry Bradley led from start to finish to earn the win (4:21:46), Georgetown’s Julie Parent came from behind to take an eight second victory (5:29:44) over Toronto’s Janet Bolton.
Newmarket’s Paul White (2:52:00) and St. George’s Angela Quick (2:57:34) won the Half Iron Swim/Bike (2 km swim, 90 km bike).
Full results can be found at Sportstats.