Sam Long takes Ironman 70.3 Gulf Coast win over Lionel Sanders
American goes two-for-two with big win in FloridaPhoto by: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images for Ironman
American Sam Long made it two-for-two with another impressive 70.3 win today, following up his big win at the Ironman 70.3 North American Championship last weekend in St. George, Utah with another impressive win at Ironman 70.3 Gulf Coast in Panama Beach, Florida.
The race included pro men only, with the women racing in a couple of weeks at Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga, and the top-four from last weekend’s race in Utah were back competing again in the Florida panhandle. Added to the mix that included Long, American Trevor Foley (second in St. George last weekend), along with Canadians Jackson Laundry (third) and Lionel Sanders (fourth) was American Tim O’Donnell, who won Ironman 70.3 Peru last month.
Sanders and Long exit the water together
O’Donnell was the fastest of the pre-race favourites out of the water, hitting T1 in third place, 51 seconds behind swim leader Braxton Books (24:48). Laundry was 11th out of the water, 2:36 down, with Long hitting the beach 3:41 behind the leader, three-seconds up on Sanders.
By the 50 km point of the ride Sanders and Long had moved to the lead, with Laundry, Elliot Bach (USA) and O’Donnell among the lead group. Long was starting to stretch the group out, though, and through 70.5 km he was seven seconds up on Laundry, nine ahead of Sanders and 11 seconds up on O’Donnell as the rest of the group faded.
Long really pushed the pace over the final 20 km and by the time he hit T2 he was over a minute up on Sanders, O’Donnell and Laundry, with Foley hitting the final transition 3:23 back.
Long’s 1:11:51 run split only opened up more of a gap to the rest of the group as he flew to a 3:36:00 finish. That was 3:55 up on Sanders, 6:23 ahead of Jackson and 9:06 up on O’Donnell. Foley continued his impressive stretch of racing after taking 16th at Ironman Texas, the runner-up spot last weekend with a fifth-place finish in 3:46:06.