After a tough summer and fall dealing with injuries, Canada’s Paula Findlay made a triumphant return to racing today with a huge win at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, dominating on the bike and posting solid swim and run splits to hold off Great Britain’s Emma Pallant-Browne and South Africa’s Jeanni Metzler.
Guam’s Manami Iijima led the women out of the water, a couple of seconds up on Metzler and 25 seconds ahead of Findlay. Pallant would hit T1 1:34 down in eighth, while popular super-mom Mirinda Carfrae continued her comeback to racing hitting T1 in ninth, 4:12 down.
Once on the bike, though, the race quickly became the Paula Findlay show as the Canadian used her cycling talents to pull clear of the rest of the field. Through 60 km she was over four-minutes ahead of Metzler and Pallant-Browne and would extend that lead to over six minutes by the end of the bike. Pallant-Browne and Metzler have both had very ambitious race schedules this fall, compared to Findlay, who competed at the Collins Cup in August but has been sidelined for much of the summer and fall with injuries. Pallant-Browne would make a charge towards the front through the first half of the run, but was still almost four minutes back as she started the second half of the run. Metzler, who had run her way to a silver medal at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship earlier this year, wasn’t able to stick with her British rival and never gained time on the Canadian leader.
Findlay would pace her half-marathon perfectly, easily holding off Pallant-Browne for a big win, running a 1:21:43 half-marathon to finish the day in 4:14:05. Pallant-Browne would post the days fastest run (1:17:34) to take second in 4:16:16, while Metzler would round out the podium, crossing the line in 4:20:53.
Kanute at the front from start to finish
American Ben Kanute showed his strength in all three disciplines, leading the men out of the water and off the bike, then outrunning Denmark’s Miki Taagholt and Australian Sam Appleton to take the men’s win in Oceanside.
Canadian Brent McMahon was part of the group of seven who led the way out of the water and stayed with that group through the first 20 km of the bike. Through 60 km McMahon was out of the picture though as a group of five including Appleton, Kanute, Taagholt, and Americans Eric Lagerstrom and Dylan Gillespie rode together at the front. Hitting T2 Lagerstrom was out of the mix, leaving four to compete on the run for the podium spots as the lead group of four enjoyed a lead of almost four minutes on the rest of the field. Starting the run McMahon was in seventh, 3:57 down, while another Canadian, Taylor Reid, was in 10th, just under nine minutes behind Kanute.
Out on the run there was no touching Kanute, who blazed through a 1:11:39 half-marathon to take an impressive win in 3:46:32. Taagholt would take second in 3:48:56, with Appleton rounding out the podium in 3:49:35.
McMahon would move up a spot to take sixth in 3:52:15, while Reid appears to have pulled out of the race on the run.