Canadian Olympian Matt Sharpe’s foray into long-distance racing continues to go well as he racked up another podium finish at Ironman 70.3 Santa Cruz this weekend. (Last month Sharpe won Ironman 70.3 Boulder – photo above.) In Santa Cruz, Sharpe finished behind American’s Eric Lagerstrom (Canadian Paula Findlay’s partner) and Tim O’Donnell. Australia’s Sarah Crowley took the women’s win, while O’Donnell’s wife, Mirinda Carfare, also finished second, with Brazil’s Pamella Oliveira rounding out the podium.
Lagerstrom and Sharpe led the way out of the water with a 39-second lead over American Dylan Gillespie, with O’Donnell another six seconds behind. Out on the bike course former pro cyclist Ruben Zepuntke (GER) rode to the front of the race, hitting T2 with a lead of about two minutes on a group of five that included Lagerstrom, Sharpe and O’Donnell.
Lagerstrom took off in pursuit of the German and was in front by 6 km of the half-marathon run, with Sharpe and O’Donnell running together trying to limit the time gap to the front. There was no touching Lagerstrom as he cruised through of the win in 3:44:47). O’Donnell started to edge clear of Sharpe through the 15 km point and was able to open up a 40-second lead by the end of the race – O’Donnell finished in 3:45:34, while Sharpe crossed the line in 3:46:13.
Crowley tunes up for Kona in style
A two-time podium finisher at the Ironman World Championship, Crowley showed that she’s getting ready for another big finish on the Big Island with her decisive win. Oliveira led the way out of the water with Crowley 1:26 behind and Carfrae almost four minutes back in 12th. Crowley would ride her way to the front of the race and hit T2 a few seconds ahead of the Brazilian, with Carfrae starting the run in fourth, 4:06 behind.
Crowley would post the day’s fastest run for a clear win that saw her hit the finish line in 4:12:13. Carfrae would run her way to second place, finishing in 4:16:59, 42 seconds ahead of Oliveira (4:17:41).