Daniela Ryf finished off an unbelievable season with a win at Ironman 70.3 Bahrain, the Middle East Championship, to take the “triple crown” and its million dollar prize. Brent McMahon rounded out his season with a fifth place performance.
The Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship was the last of the three races comprising the Nasser Bin Hamad Triple Crown series – the athlete who could win all three is awarded a one million-dollar bonus. Ryf’s wins at Challenge Dubai and the Ironman 70.3 World Championship set up her chance to take the million dollars and Ryf delivered by creating a gap on the bike and building an insurmountable lead on the run after the day’s swim was canceled due to strong currents. Ryf also ends her stellar year undefeated and a world champion twice over, having also added the Ironman World Championship to her list of accolades.
“The last six weeks after Kona, I put my head down toward this race, and I’m so happy I could finish strong and take this win,” she said. “I’m so grateful for this opportunity. It’s been a great journey and I’m also grateful for the support from my team… And of course, my coach. He supported me so much and the last weeks were not easy. I was really struggling to keep the focus.”
Ryf’s compatriot Caroline Steffen made it a one-two punch for Bahrain Endurance on the women’s podium, making her pass for second in the final kilometers of the run. “I’m really glad the season is over,” she said. “I was hoping for top three, at least second I think I could be pretty happy with that. I never did back-to-back races so that was a good experience. Being not healthy all week long didn’t really help but I learned a lot this week and I think I absolutely got the best out of me. It’s a great way to finish a big year.”
Bart Aernoets took the men’s race thanks to the day’s fastest bike and third fastest run. McMahon, just a few weeks after a runner-up finish at Ironman Arizona, had the day’s second fastest ride but couldn’t maintain the pace on the run. His fifth place finish is an impressive one considering his busy fall schedule that included a ninth-place finish in Kona.
Top 5 Women Finish:
1 3:28:20 Daniela Ryf
2 3:37:45 9:26 Caroline Steffen
3 3:39:35 11:15 Asa Lundstrom
4 3:49:08 20:48 Jodie Swallow
5 3:57:14 28:55 Caroline Livesey
Top 5 Men Finish:
1 3:11:15 Bart Aernouts
2 3:12:26 1:12 Ruedi Wild
3 3:13:54 2:39 James Cunnama
4 3:15:24 4:10 David Plese
5 3:15:38 4:23 Brent McMahon
Full results at ironman.com
With files from Lisa Pringle, Bahrain Endurance 13.