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The women’s win at Ironman Arizona came down to a gutsy run performance by a two-time Olympian turned long-distance star

Americans Sarah True and Skye Moench raced head to head for much of the day in Tempe

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

It’s been quite a year for American Sarah True (pictured above), who returned to racing after two years off (during which she had her first child) with impressive wins at Ironman 70.3 Eagleman and Ironman Lake Placid, only to have to pull out of the Ironman World Championship due to a respiratory infection. Determined to get at least one more race done, the 2012 and 2016 Olympian headed to Ironman Arizona and took a hard-fought victory over countrywoman Skye Moench.

American super-swimmer Lauren Brandon typically leads any triathlon swim that doesn’t include Lucy Charles, and she continued that trend today with a 51:08 swim that put her in T1 2:40 up on True, with Moench hitting transition just over five minutes behind the leader. Canada’s Melanie McQuaid was sixth out of the water (8:19 behind), while countrywomen Angela Naeth, Jenn Annett and Robyn Hardage finished the swim in 12th (13:37 back), 15th (14:36 behind) and 16th (17:20 back).

Skye Moench

Brandon would remain in the lead through the first half of the bike, but shortly after then Moench pulled through to the lead with True right on her tail. From that point on there was really no doubt that the race for the win would be between those two. Moench would hit T2 a shade ahead of True, with Australia’s Renee Kiley 7:40 back. McQuaid was fifth off the bike, 11:27 behind the leaders, with Annett just six seconds behind her countrywoman. Naeth was ninth off the bike, but almost 23 minutes behind, while Hardage was 16th off the bike.

Just a few seconds separated True and Moench through the first 13 km of the run, but it was the new mom who was pushing the pace, as Moench gallantly tried to keep the gap to a minimum. True was finally able to pull clear through the 16 km point (she hit that 26 seconds ahead), and would steadily open up more of a gap through the rest of the marathon.

In the end True’s 2:55:33 marathon got her to the line in 8:42:38, just under five minutes ahead of Moench (3:00:31/ 8:47:28). American Danielle Lewis flew through a 2:52:44 marathon to run her way to the final spot on the podium (9:03:18), with Annett finishing fourth in 9:06:26. McQuaid finished sixth in 9:26:34.


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