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5 Things we learned from Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells-La Quinta

A banner day for Norway, another runner-up finish for Tamara Jewett and more that we noticed from this weekend's Ironman race in California

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

The season-ending race of the professional North American triathlon season offered up some very interesting action this year – the competitive pro field put on quite a show that saw a pair of Norwegians top the podium, while their coach dominated the age group race. Here’s a few things we noticed:

How’s that for an epic debut?

Norway’s Solveig Lovseth has been racing up a storm on the World Triathlon draft-legal circuit this year (she’s pictured above at WTCS Montreal) and currently sits 48th in the World Triathlon Individual Olympic Qualification Ranking and 67th in the World Rankings.

Lovseth is not a front-pack swimmer at most World Triathlon races, which makes it hard for her to earn podium finishes at the most competitive draft-legal races. She was 2:31 behind swim leader Emily Tato out of the water in Indian Wells, but was only 19-seconds behind third place, basically the tail end of the chase group. That put her in an excellent position to use her phenomenal cycling skills to blast to a huge 5:32 lead into T2. A 1:20:25 run split was easily enough to hold off Tamara Jewett (more on her below) to take a convincing win in her half-distance debut.

We’re guessing Lovseth will be very much Olympic focussed until next August, but look out when she decides to make 70.3 racing her focus!

Speaking of Norwegians #1

Another short-course specialist from Norway, Casper Stornes, took the men’s win in Indian Wells-La Quinta, finishing just six-seconds back after the swim before entering transition in the lead alongside countryman Sebastian Wernersen and America Justin Riele off the bike, then using the day’s fastest run (1:10:43) to handily take the men’s title. Like Lovseth, one would assume that the first eight months or so of 2024 will be focussed on trying to get to Paris, but we’ll anticipate seeing him in the hunt for the 70.3 world title in Taupo next December.

Runner-up hat trick for Tamara Jewett

For the third year in a row Canada’s Tamara Jewett rounded out her season with a third-place finish at 70.3 Indian Wells-La Quinta. Turns out the Canadian star is hardly disappointed with the result – she’s been dealing with a problematic Achilles tendon injury all year and is “thrilled that after a fall race season, my body feels healthier and stronger than it did in August, and ready to rebuild after a planned break.”

As usual Jewett posted the day’s fastest run (1:16:15) to run her way from fourth (among a group of six at around six minutes behind Lovseth) to easily take the runner-up spot for the third year in a row! As she pointed out in this Instagram post, she’s enjoyed a banner year, apparently proving that her decision last year to leave her part-time work as a lawyer and focus full time on triathlon was a good one.


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A post shared by Tamara Jewett (@tamarajewett)

Speaking of Norwegians #2

Norway’s national team coach, Mikel Iden, proved he’s still pretty darn fit, taking the overall age-group men’s title in 3:56:56. How’s that for a good day – coaching the pro men’s and women’s winners, then winning the age-group race overall, too!

International field

Seems like everyone lots of people want to be in California in December, or maybe just really keen to get one last kick at some prize money to round out the season. The top-10 in the men’s race included four Americans, three Norwegians, two Canadians and a Kiwi. The women’s top-10 wasn’t quite as international with six Americans, two Canadians along with one Norwegian and one Brit. That still means out of the top-10 men and women, half were from outside the United States.

Seems like a lot of travel in the hunt for a share of a $50,000 prize purse.