There were about 1,600 athletes on hand to enjoy the “balmy” – for the Escape from Alcatraz – 63-degree water as the iconic event in San Francisco celebrated its 40th anniversary. American Ben Kanute took the men’s race for the fourth straight time, while Great Britain’s Emma Pallant-Browne managed to outrun 2016 Escape champion Holly Lawrence (GBR) to take the women’s race.
“High winds, a strong current and choppy water made for an especially challenging swim today,” Kanute said after the win. “It was difficult to track Greg Harper as he was in the lead during the swim, but I was able to make up some time and catch him on the first hill of the bike course. I love this race, I love its 40-year history and the picturesque course, it is unlike any other race.”
Kanute would take his fourth-straight win in 2:10:11, with Jason West (USA) and Bradley Weiss (RSA) finishing in second (2:12:16) and third (2:12:41).
Lawrence led the women out of the water and was still in front off the bike, but former world duathlon champ Pallant-Browne caught her countrywoman just after the 200-step sand ladder that is one of the classic features of the event.
“This was my first time competing in this race and it was my first-time visiting San Francisco, I absolutely loved it,” Pallant-Browne said after winning the race in 2:22:20. Lawrence would take second in 2:23:04, with American Jackie Hering rounding out the podium in 2:27:44.