Storms forced both delays and a shortening of the bike course (to 43.5 km) at Ironman 70.3 Des Moines today, where Canadian Jackson Laundry managed to run his way to the podium. American Jason West took the men’s race, while Great Britain’s Holly Lawrence showed she’s back in the form we’re used to seeing after a tough day at the Ironman 70.3 North American Championship in St. George last month.
Hoel and Smith in lead swim pack
American Eric Lagerstrom led the men out of the water, but there were eight men within 11 seconds, including Canadians Brock Hoel and Brennen Smith. Much of that group remained in front through the bike,w ith Chile’s Martin Ulloa leading into T2 with West 16 seconds behind. Lagerstrom hit T2 in third, 45 seconds behind, with Hoel and American Collin Chartier a second behind him and Smith another five seconds back in sixth. Laundry came off the bike with Australian Joe Gambles, American TJ Tollakson, but was 1:32 out of the lead as he started the run.
West was untouchable on the run, using the days fastest run split (1:09:36) to take a solid win in 2:38:21. Chartier was the only one of the other swim leaders to hang on for the podium, taking second in 2:39:43, 1:22 behind West. Laundry used a 1:11:20 half-marathon split to move himself to third (2:41:31), with Gambles taking fourth (2:42:33) and Mexico’s Mauricio Mendez Cruz rounding out the top five (2:42:41). Smith hung on for sixth in 2:43:29, with Hoel taking eighth in 2:45:56.
“I had a solid day,” Laundry said after the race. “Those guys ahead of me raced really well. It might have been different with a longer bike, but who knows – they raced well and deserved it.”
Lawrence from start to finish
Great Britain’s Holly Lawrence, the 2016 Ironman 70.3 world champion, is renowned for her wire to wire wins, which is why things seemed amiss in St. George last month, where she was well back after the swim (after suffering an asthma attack) and would eventually take sixth. She returned to form in Iowa today, though, leading the women out of the water and never relinquishing her lead.
Lawrence was 42 seconds up on a group of four that included American’s Ali Brauer, Rachel Olson and Grace Alexander, along with South Africa’s Jeanni Metzler. Next out of the water behind that group was Lawrence’s countrywoman Emma Pallant-Browne, who was 1:41 back. On the bike Lawrence continued to open up time on the rest of the women’s field, finishing the bike 2:31 ahead of Brauer with Pallant-Browne and American Jackie Hering 2:48 and 2:50 behind.
On the run course Pallant-Browne would steadily gain time on Lawrence, getting the gap down to under a minute with just over 5 km of running to go, but the charge for the lead stalled there as Lawrence started to pull clear once again and would cross the line in 2:53:46 with a handy 1:40 advantage over Pallant-Browne (2:55:26). Hering would round out the podium in 2:57:08 with Metzler (3:02:34) and American Lesley Smith (3:03:02) taking fourth and fifth.