Rapp and Ellis Tops in Tremblant
Jordan Rapp couldn’t have been happier to see Mary Beth Ellis having a good race here in Mont-Tremblant today. Rapp’s last Ironman win was at the Ironman North American Championship when it was held in The Woodlands, Texas in 2012. The women’s winner that day? You guessed it.
“We do well on similar courses,” Rapp said after pummelling the men’s field here at Subaru Ironman Mont-Tremblant in 8:17:37, over 18 minutes ahead of Justin Daerr. Ellis didn’t have things quite so easy – after coming off the bike with a huge lead of almost 10 minutes over Liz Blatchford she found herself hanging on for dear life to claim her second title here in Mont-Tremblant.
Since that last win in Texas Rapp has struggled. Today’s win was a huge relief for the 35-year-old, who’s career seemed to be blossoming after coming back from a near-fatal car crash and taking a number of titles including two North American championships. Over the last two years, though, Rapp’s performances have not lived up to both his and the triathlon world’s expectations. That all changed today with his solid win. Rapp was fourth out of the water, then blew apart the field with a 4:25 bike split that put him over 11 minutes ahead of Paul Ambrose and the rest of the men chasing behind. A 2:55 marathon was more than enough to pull away from the field even more and give Rapp the “long-time-coming” title. Rapp said that wearing race number three today seemed appropriate as he spent a lot of time thinking about his three children during the race.
“They’ve sacrificed a lot over the years so I can do what I can do,” he says. “One of the most rewarding things from this rac e is that in the build up to this race I took one full day off a week to spend with family and it seems to have paid off.”
Despite the fact that Rapp has faced adversity before and overcome it, the last two years of poor results have been a struggle.
“When you get hit by a car there’s something to blame,” he said. “When things aren’t firing on race day, but they are firing in training, or your injured a little bit and you’re just struggling, sometimes it’s harder because you don’t have something to rail against. It’s just you against you. In some ways it was easier to come back from the car wreck because I could channel my anger into “that damn car.” It’s harder when you’re just saying “I’m an idiot” and hammering yourself over and over again.”
That hammering is all over now as Rapp has earned himself enough points to compete in Kona later this year, and certainly proved that he is back in the racing form we’ve seen from him before.
Rapp might have had first place locked up, but the battle for the next few spots was tight. After coming off the bike in second Ambrose looked to be struggling on the run after being passed by Eric Linkemann and Justin Daerr, but the Australian hung tough and managed to get passed Linkemann and push Daerr right to the line.
Canadian favorite Lionel Sanders had a slow leak in one of his tires on the bike and then had issues getting the tire changed. (His chain jammed while he was getting the wheel back on.) All the wheel issues left him well behind at the end of the bike. After gaining some time early on the run Sanders struggled in the heat (temperatures soared to about 30 degrees C) and had to settle with fifth.
Ellis holds on
Mary Beth Ellis (USA) had such a good swim this morning that Liz Blatchford (AUS) thought she was leading the race – only to come out of the water to learn that she was 1:42 behind. Ellis went on a tear on the bike course, widening her gap on Blatchford to a shade under 10 minutes off the bike. Once out on the run, though, the hot and humid conditions started to catch up with Ellis.
“I am not used to the heat,” she said after the race. “I’ve been up [training] in the mountains in St. Moritz and the temperatures have been pretty pleasant, 68 to 70 (Fahrenheit) and dry. That made the last half of the marathon really tough and I had to deal with a lot of cramping, but that’s racing and everyone has to deal with the conditions. We had a really stellar field at this race, especially since its a few weeks out of Kona. Liz had an incredible race.”
Ellis isn’t joking about how tough the last half of the marathon was, or how well Blatchford raced. A lead of nine minutes at the half way point of the marathon shrunk to less than a minute at the finish line.
“I knew that it was going to be close and I was doing everything I could do to get to the finish line as fast as possible,” Ellis said of her 9:09:05 finish, which was 50 seconds ahead of Blatchford
Two years ago Blatchford lost to Ellis by 10 minutes here in Mont-Tremblant and followed that up with a third place finish in Kona a few weeks later. She was happy to finish that much closer to Ellis today.
“I felt strong on the second half of the bike and the run had the usual ups and downs, but I was glad to finish so well and get so close,” Blatchford said.
Rounding out the top three was Lisa Roberts who was thrilled with her 9:13:45 finish which came thanks to a 3:00:37 marathon, by far the fastest women’s pro split on the day.
TOP 10 Pro Men – Finish
1 8:17:37 Jordan Rapp USA
2 8:36:12 18:35 Justin Daerr USA
3 8:38:12 20:35 Paul Ambrose AUS
4 8:41:33 23:57 Eric Limkemann USA
5 8:42:13 24:37 Lionel Sanders CAN
6 8:48:49 31:13 Trevor Delsaut FRA
7 8:50:58 33:21 Stephen Kilshaw CAN
8 9:00:15 42:38 James Chesson USA
9 9:03:22 45:45 Jim Lubinski USA
10 9:05:23 47:46 Patrick Wheeler USA
TOP 10 Pro Women – Finish
1 9:09:05 Mary Beth Ellis USA
2 9:09:55 0:51 Liz Blatchford AUS
3 9:13:45 4:41 Lisa Roberts USA
4 9:20:09 11:05 Jackie Hering USA
5 9:38:13 29:09 Karen Thibodeau CAN
6 9:39:16 30:12 Jessie Donavan USA
7 9:42:33 33:29 Liz Lyles USA
8 9:51:04 42:00 Heather Leiggi USA
9 9:52:19 43:14 Laura Siddall GBR
10 9:55:53 46:48 Caroline St-Pierre CAN
Photos by Kevin Mackinnon