We love Ironman races that take place on Saturday in the Eastern hemisphere. By the time you get up on Saturday it's just time to get the last of the pro action on the run and then you can back-fill on the previous nine hours from the legendary commentary on IronmanLive over a cup of coffee. That's such a good way to start the weekend!
This weekend's event Ironman Malaysia at Langkawi and while there was no top-rank British interest in the pro field there were many familiar names in the race for an early-season Hawaii slot. The race lived up to its fearsome reputation with 30°C heat and 70% humidity - there are comments that one of the timing boxes were being packed with ice to keep it running - but that didn't stop some great racing. While Faris Al Sultan was pretty much a shoe-in for the men's win he was still concerned enough about Petr Vabrousek's reputation to put the hammer down and open up a major gap on the run to cross the line in 8:34:42, half an hour clear of Vabrousek. Ireland's Peter Kern had a pretty good race with an 11th place finish in 9:34:02.
In the women's race things looked to be getting interesting at the start of the run with Belinda Granger losing ground to Yvonne van Vlerken and Hillary Biscay looking a potential to upset the natural order of things. Last time Granger raced here she had faded badly in the last 10k but not this year - she seems to have negative split the run and consistently opened the gap on van Vlerken to break the course record set last year by Nicole Leder by 12 minutes in a remarkable 9:29:21. That was good enough to place her seventh overall. Biscay ended up in fourth having been caught with 6k to go by Yasuko Miyazaki which probably means that she won't get the second pro Hawaii slot, Granger has already pre-qualified.
||Faris Al Sultan (GER) 8:34:42
||Belinda Granger (AUS) 9:29:21
||Petr Vabrousek (CZE) 9:04:54
||Yvonne van Vlerken (NED) 9:35:46
||Elmar Schuberth (AUT) 9:06:03
||Yasuko Miyazaki (JPN) 10:14:01
Saturday also saw the ITU's Winter Triathlon World Championship taking place in Freudenstadt. Both of last years winners returned to successfully defend their titles which means that Sigrid Mutscheller (GER) has now passed Simon Lessing's and the late Benny Vansteelant's record of five World Championships each. The men's winner was Arne Post (NOR). The Under-23 Championships were won by Marthe K Myhre (NOR) and Peter Viana (ITA). Eleven British athletes were in the team for the age group races, the largest we have ever sent, with the majority coming from the Army Triathlon Association. You can get all the results from the ITU website: www.triathlon.org
Also on the ITU's calendar this weekend was the Bloemfontein African Cup which, while not exactly bursting at the seams, did have a certain Javier Gomez (ESP) making an early season showing. He won, big surprise there, but not by a huge margin so one could speculate that it was more of a training session than an all-out race - although he did put the hammer down at the start of the run in his usual style but then backed right off to cruise home. Britain's Dann Brook came 5th. In the women's race Ricarda Lisk (GER) was the winner but Kerry Lang was pretty close after leading the swim out by nearly a minute and then holding that lead until the final bike lap. She ended up just 44 seconds behind in second place. Full results are on the ITU website: www.triathlon.org
There was a bit of cross country running going on as well, Cat Morrison dropped us a note to say that she had finished second at the Scottish National XC Championships, there's a report on her new website: www.catmorrison.com Also running around muddy fields were the English - their National Cross Country Championships was at Alton Towers and Alistair Brownlee was second in the Junior race, brother Johnathan was 14th. Liz Yelling won the women's senior race and Andrea Whitcombe was sixth while in the senior mens race a certain P Wylie appears at 17th and an O Freeman makes an appearance at 42nd - we are assuming they are who we think they are... Full results are on the National site: www.englishcrosscountry.co.uk
Sunday's racing started with results from the Foot Anstey Taunton Deane Aquathlons where Junior Heffernan continued his winning streak with a 0:52:40 and West Country duathlon specialist Helen Parkinson took the women's prize in 0:58:39. Full results are available here. The organisers also ran a half-distance event and the winners here were Alan Hughes in 0:26:14 and Helen Danbury in 0:30:33. Results of that race are available here.
Results came through for the age groupers at the ITU's Winter Triathlon World Championships and Britain will be bringing home some medals! Congratulations to Samantha Toop, Gold 25-29; Philip Hobbs, Silver 25-29, Stuart Sievwright, Bronze 20-24 and Giles Fuford, Bronze 25-29. You can get a full set of results from the event website.
In the Bannatynes Wellingborough Multi-Terrain Run the 15k winners were Phil Holland (Olney Runners) in 00:52:41 and Linda Howell (Bournville Harriers) in 01:01:28. The 10k winners were Richard Sumpter in 00:34:41 and Philippa Taylor (Stamford Striders) 00:37:41. The 5k run was won by N Barnett (Wellingborough & District AC) in 00:17:29 and Mel Newbery (TVH) in 00:18:34 - Mel's having a great start to her year two! A full set of results can be found here.
The Halesowen Aquathlon, organised by Cobra RC whose website is badly in need of an update, fortunately used Stuart Steele's StuWeb site for the results. The winners were Dan Stimpson (Black Country Triathletes) in 0:25:37 and Helen Russell (Redditch Tri) in 0:29:58. You can get the full results from Stuart's site here.
The Nottinghamshire University Tri Squad's NUTS Aquathlon was a late addition to the calendar but the results still arrived promptly. The winners were Kev Fearn in 0:23:46 and Michelle Wilcox in 0:27:34. A full set of results and a short report is here.
UK Triathlon's fifth Swim Run Race outing at the Snowhill Pool in Nantwich saw Lee Cook (Ashurst BC) take the win in 0:37:27 with Eva Berrill the fastest women in 0:53:45 over the 750m/7.5k distance. Two shorter races were also run, results for all three are here.
Cerist Tri's Earlybird Aquathlon Series held its third race at the Bro Dydynni Leisure Centre in Tywyn and the winners there were James Thomas in 0:43:50 and Louise Barker in 0:49:19. A full set of results and a short report is here.
There were plenty of triathletes having an early-season check-out at Concept Sport's Winchester 10k. The overall winners were Chris Bolt (Aldershot Farnham & District) on 0:31:14 and Joanna Rodriquez (Woking AC) in 0:38:14. A full set of results is here.
We haven't yet seen results for the Wirrall Tristar Aquathlon or the Aberdeenshire Duathlon. We'll update these as and when we get them.