Not even close – Sam Long dominates the 70.3 North American Championship as Lionel Sanders takes fourth
A breakthrough runner-up finish for Trevor Foley, while Jackson Laundry takes another podium finishPhoto by: Kevin Mackinnon
After losing to Lionel Sanders in a sprint to the line at the Ironman 70.3 North American Championship, then enduring a tough day in St. George for last year’s 70.3 worlds (pictured above), American Sam Long was untouchable at today’s race in Utah, moving to the front early in the bike and never looking back.
Things started positively for Long as he came out of the water in 16th place, 1:41 behind swim leader Mark Dubrick (USA) and just a few seconds behind two of his main competitors today – Jackson Laundry and Matt Hanson. Three-time St. George champ Lionel Sanders was 2:18 back as he entered T1.
By 17 km into the bike Long and countryman Dylan Gillespie were out in front, 40 seconds ahead of American Justin Metzler and Laundry, with Hanson at 1:45 down and Sanders at 1:54.
Long continued to push the pace and eventually pulled clear of Gillespie, finishing the ride 2:42 ahead of a group that included American Trevor Foley, Gillespie and Laundry. Sanders ended up losing some time due to a dropped chain just before the long climb up Snow Canyon, and hit T2 four minutes down.
Long was never challenged through the run course as Foley, coming off a 16th-place finish at Ironman Texas two weeks ago, ran his way to one of his best performances.
Long crossed the line in 3:43:05 after a 1:12:42 run. Foley, one of Sanders’ training partners, ran 36 seconds faster than Long (3:45:27) for second, adding a podium finish at this championship event to go along with his win at Ironman 70.3 Waco last year. Laundry rounded out the podium in 3:46:11.
Sanders would end up fourth in 3:48:20, holding off Mexico’s Tomas Rodriguez Hernandez by just three seconds.