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Norden and Bennett win HyVee 5150 Des Moines

Jeffrey finishes as the top Canadian.

Norden takes it

Sweden’s Lisa Norden dominated the 10-kilometer run and held off 2010 Ironman champion Mirinda Carfrae to win the women’s Hy-Vee 5150 Elite Cup today.

Norden and Carfrae each had to overtake American Sarah Haskins, who led the entire bike portion of the race, as well as three of the four run laps.

But Norden pulled alongside Haskins with about five minutes left to the finish as Carfrae battled to close the gap.

With more than 9,000 fans in the grandstands and thousands more lining the streets of downtown Des Moines, Haskins passed fellow American and University of Florida swimmer Sara McLarty not long after they emerged first and second from the 1.5-kilometer swim in the swift current of the Des Moines River.

Haskins, who came into the Hy-Vee race a perfect five-for five in 2011, quickly jumped ahead of McLarty on the bike, opened up a wide lead, and beat back the challenge of top-ranked 5150 series competitor Nikki Butterfield on the run course. But she could not withstand the pressure applied by Norden, who caught and passed her on the final lap.

“I knew it was going to be a tight race that would come down to the run,” Norden said.

Carfrae, the Australian endurance star who, like Norden and Haskins, entered Sunday’s race by way of special invitation, said she was surprised by her second-place finish.

“I didn’t have high expectations; I just went out to do my best,” she said.

Norden took home $151,500 for the win, plus a $5,100 bonus for her performance on the final lap; Carfrae won $75,000. Haskins netted $50,000 in addition to the $25,550 she racked up in lap bonuses.

“I’ve had a really crappy season,” said Norden, who was clocked at 1 hour, 57 minutes and 7 seconds. “This is the first time I’ve finished in the top five. I’m just so glad it came at the Hy-Vee.”

Top 10 Women

1 Lisa Norden SWE  1:59:12

2 Mirinda Carfrae AUS  1:59:20

3 Sarah Haskins USA  1:59:29

4 Nikki Butterfield AUS  1:59:38

5 Laura Bennett USA  1:59:50

6 Nicola Spirig SUI  2:00:08

7 Sarah Groff USA  2:01:55

8 Liz Blatchford GBR  2:02:09

9 Gwen Jorgensen USA  2:03:39

10 Annie Warner USA  2:04:33

18 Christine Jeffrey CAN  2:08:38

21 Jenny Fletcher CAN  2:11:18

23 Evelyne Blouin CAN  2:12:14

Bennet wins the men’s race

Australian native Greg Bennett blew past American Benjamin Collins on the run leg and fought back a challenge from former champion Hunter Kemper to win the Hy-Vee 5150 men’s Elite Cup race Sunday.

“This is truly the greatest race in the world and the best competition in the world,” said Bennett, who races as an American.

He bagged the $151,500 winner’s purse and another $5,150 in bonus premiums for each of the run laps he led.

“I’m inspired by the greenbacks,” admitted Bennett, whose wife Laura finished fifth in the women’s Elite Cup earlier in the day. “Laura and I love coming back to Des Moines; it’s such a special thing for the Bennett family.”

He said the couple had recently talked about retirement but that “we had an opportunity to make something special happen today.”

Bennett surged past Collins, who had opened up a big lead with a strong performance on the bike leg and looked for a moment as if he might run away with the race. Collins led by as much as a full minute early in the 10-kilometer run, but he was battling a foot injury and began to tire on the uphill portion of the course. He eventually was forced to relinquish the lead to Bennett.

That’s when Kemper made his move. On the third of four laps, the former Olympian and elite cup winner shaved 20 seconds off Bennett’s lead, But Bennett’s speed proved insurmountable. He was clocked in 1 hour, 49 minutes and 37 seconds. Kemper was 30 seconds back. Stuart Hayes, ranked first this season in the 5150 series, grabbed third place.

“Greg Bennett is a true triathlete and a true champion,” Kemper said. “I though I could catch him. It was close. I was trying. This race is tough.”

Top 10 Men

1 Greg Bennett AUS  1:49:42

2 Hunter Kemper USA  1:50:12

3 Stuart Hayes GBR  1:50:30

4 Paul Matthews AUS  1:50:51

5 Rasmus Henning DEN  1:51:16

6 Kris Gemmell NZL  1:52:00

7 Filip Ospaly CZE  1:52:13

8 David Thompson USA  1:52:20

9 Matt Reed USA  1:52:32

10 Chris McCormack AUS  1:52:39