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Jeanni Metzler flies to Ironman 70.3 North American title

All-around performance puts South African on top of the podium

Photo by: Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images for Ironman

South Africa’s Jeanni Metzler garnered lots of attention in 2021 when she took second at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in St. George, and admits that she struggled with the expectations that performance created. After racing just twice in 2022, she returned to the top of the podium at today’s Ironman 70.3 North American Championship in St. George, leading the way out onto the run course and never looking back.

Brandon dominates in the water

As was expected, American Lauren Brandon was untouchable through the swim, hitting T1 50 seconds up on fellow American Hannah Sakaluk. Metzler was 1:12 down staring the ride, with two of the other pre-race favourites, Americans Jackie Hering and Skye Moench, getting on their bikes just over three minutes down.

Brandon stayed near the front for much of the ride, but no-doubt was feeling the effects of her fourth-place finish at Ironman Texas a couple of weeks ago. By the end of the ride it was Moench who entered T2 first, with Metzler just seven seconds down. Canadian Rach McBride led Sweden’s Anna Bergstren and Brandon into T2 about 2:30 down from the leaders.

Metzler flew through transition and blasted out onto the run course first, and that was as close as the race was going to get. The South African was never challenged on the run, opening up a 2:27 lead at the half-way point of the half marathon as American Danielle Lewis, coming off a fifth-place finish at Ironman Texas just two weeks ago,  moved her way towards the podium with a strong run.

Over the closing few kms of the run both Moench and Lewis would close some of the gap, but in the end there was no touching Metzler, who crossed the line in 4:16:42. Moench would finish exactly one minute later, while Lewis would use a 1:21:44 on the challenging St. George run course to round out the podium in 4:18:24.

Bergstrom would take fourth in 4:21:48, Hering finished fifth in 4:23:35 and McBride finished sixth in 4:23:49.