Olympic gold medallist Nicola Spirig wowed the crowd in Cozumel this weekend as she raced to a win in her debut Ironman. A small pack of fast swimmers dominated in the water including Switzerland’s Celine Schaerer, the Czech Republic’s Lucie Zelenkova, Spirig and Mexico’s Ruth Nivon Machoud. American Corrie Kristick, Denmark’s Michelle Vesterby, Swiss athlete Celine Schaerer and Spirig made up a front group early, putting in a four minute gap by the 55km mark on the bike. Vesterby eventually broke away, putting in a 2:10 lead over Spirig. It was clear from the start of the run, however, that Spirig who ran a 2:38 standalone marathon at the European Athletics Championships earlier this year, would run her way to the front with 3:06:19 marathon for a finishing time of 9:14:07. Vesterby stayed in second in a time of 9:17:30. Kelly Williamson’s 2:57 race fastest marathon allowed her to take third in 9:24:41.
I'm an Ironwoman AND an Ironman-winner!!! Very happy and very tired! Thank you for all the support out there! pic.twitter.com/ah7scKX6BF
— Nicola Spirig (@NicolaSpirig) December 1, 2014
Canadians Brooke Brown and Christine Fletcher rounded out the top 10 in 9th and 10th respectively. The hot, humid conditions caught up with both on the run. In an interview with Cervelo, Spirig explained her decision to make the jump in distances: “I think the Ironman will be a new experience which can also help me with the ITU racing. I think challenges make you stronger and improve you. As I have a few months before the ITU racing starts again in 2015, I don’t think the little change of the training program will affect my short distance racing.”
On the men’s side, American Michael Weiss defended his 2013 with a unmatched bike split of 4:22:20—about 20 minutes ahead of the second fastest ride time. Together with his 2:55 marathon,that split got Weiss the win in 8:12:16, over 17 minutes faster than Matt Chrabot in second in a time of 8:29:50 and Spain’s
Clemente Alonso McKernan who took third in 8:30:17.