That perennial favourite of UK athletes, Ironman Austria, appeared to follow the script, at least on the men's side. Last year's winner, Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL), proved yet again just how fast this course can be, storming to an 8:06:39 and putting over 13 minutes between himself and Norbert Langbrandtner and Max Longree who made a close finish for second and third. At one point Marino thought he might make it to a sub-8 time, he was feeling so good, but reality caught up on the run - well worth reading his comments on the IronmanLive site as it shows something of what goes on in the mind of a long-distance athlete.
Interesting to see that fourth place finisher was Kai Hundertmarck in 8:27:35. Kai was a pro cyclist with Team Telekom for nine years, and rode in all of the Grand Tours. He started with a 117th placing in the swim and then rode himself into third, just dropping a single place on the run. After Laurent Jalabert's performance in Switzerland a couple of weeks ago and now Kai's, I wonder who from the current Tour peloton may fancy a stab at triathlon in the future?
It appears that close finishes are now in vogue for ladies Ironman racing! Following Nicole Leder's five second win last week in Frankfurt, Edith Niederfringer (ITA) took Ironman Austria in 9:08:47 to leave local athlete Veronica Hauke second in 9:09:33. Last year's winner, Rebecca Preston (AUS), took the final podium slot in 9:15:55, not bad considering she has had injury problems and won Switzerland two weeks ago! The lead on the ladies race changed no less than three times on the run and one of the pre-race favourites, Hawaii runner up in 2006, took a six minute drafting penalty.
Austria has some astounding statistics but with the second largest national representation, GB had 369 behind Austria's 945 but ahead of Germany's 338, our suggestion that it's the GB triathlete's favourite away game is pretty close to the mark! We 'think' Toby Radcliffe, seventh in AG 25-29 with a 9:16:28, was first Brit home while Jenny Gowans (Serpentine) finished in 15th place overall, taking the age group win (30-34) in a time of 10:15:43 and, we assume, a Hawaii ticket. All the race commentary and photographs are on the IronmanLive website (www.ironmanlive.com) and they even streamed a 90 minute video of the race last night as well!
||Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 8:06:39
||Edith Niederfringer (ITA) 9:08:47
||Norbert Langbrandtner (AUT) 8:19:58
||Veronica Hauke (AUT) 9:09:33
||Max Longree (GER) 8:20:13
||Rebecca Preston (AUS) 9:15:55
At the Barclays Ironman 70.3 held in Washington State's Lake Stevens, wins were recorded by Chris Legh and Rebekah Keat. There's not much in the way of coverage on the event online that we can find but they do have the results online here.
||Chris Legh (USA)3:56:26
||Rebekah Keat (USA) 4:28:05
||Paul Matthews (AUS) 3:57:08
||Melissa Ashton (USA) 4:31:11
||Luke Mckenzie (USA) 3:57:33
||Heather Gollnick (USA) 4:34:02
At the ITU Premium European Cup race at Holten in Holland the best GB performance went to Chrissie Wellington with 5th. For the men the best place was Andrew Fargus in 9th then Oliver Howton in 15th, Grant Fillmore 21st, Harry Wiltshire 53rd and Tom Room 63rd. Gavin Noble (IRL) placed 14th with Brian Jenkins 75th. Full results are here.
At the Mazda National Age Group Championships in Wakefield it was no surprise, to us at least..., to see that Felicity Hart is the new National Age Group Triathlon Champion. As expected, she recorded the fastest bike split on the tough Yorkshire hills. However, it was no easy win, as Lindsay Smith (BRAT), who was also second at Dambuster, dropped only 40 seconds over the 40km course, and they both headed out onto the run together. Felicity managed to stretch out almost a minute lead on the run. Behind them, a blast from the past in the form of Loretta Sollars, also from the BRAT club, took third overall and won the 40-44 category with one of the fastest run splits of the day. We'll be featuring Felicity and her rocket bike soon...
For the men, we'll admit we didn't have a clue who might win! Taking the honours was Peter Swaine (2XU TFN RT) in 2:08:03, ahead of Chris Rhodes (SBR) in 2:08:26 and Simon Richards (Birmingham Uni) with 2:08:46. Peter was for several years the BTA's (now BTF...) merchandise officer, so if you recognise the name...! Congratulations to all the medalists, and good luck to those hoping to grab the remaining qualifying spots for Hamburg although we note that a number of penalties and DQs may have upset the hopes of a few. Full results are here.
Tri247's wandering photographer, John Coxon, was at Wakefield and reports that while the four-lap run course was pretty straightforward, the bike course was less so! A series of treacherous roundabouts, some tight bends but, most of all, the prolonged steep climbs were, for many, a killer. However, from the top of the last hill on Denby Dale Road the athletes did seem to be getting the benefit of the fast descents as well! The heat clearly brought out the best in people, local Scouts did a sterling job handing out water on the run, but for some the whole business seemed a major nuisance. One grade A sun-struck Sunday driver turned his car onto the roundabout directly outside the entrance to the venue and stopped, effectively threatening the lives of bike finishers by blocking the course, just so his spectator daughter had a shorter walk into the park! Ed Soar, the race referee, also had his job cut out post-race detailing an extraordinary 35 penalties including helmet violations, drafting, racking impedance, riding in transition and two disqualifications; one for swearing and one for dangerous riding. All in all, Wakefield did a fine job hosting a justifiably popular and well organised event. To get a flavour the event from John's photographs, click on this link.
Further south, the Milton Keynes CowMan half ironman-distance event saw over 200 finishers. First across the line was Joel Jameson (Total Fitness) in 4:17:21, who took eight minutes out of local athlete Dave Brown. Good to see Dave back to form after some difficult times lately. Swim demon, Mark Racher, showed he is becoming a complete triathlete (and that he has recovered from Lanzarote), by taking third a further 12 minutes back. We're holding fire on announcing the ladies winner as we have a query with the first draft of the results, hopefully this will be clarified for later today. Full results are here.
They say that things often 'run in the family' but we don't think they expected that to be middle distance triathlon wins! Up at the Cleveland Steelman, Joel's brother, Toby Jameson (Total Fitness), won the race with a 3:59:32 with Jen Milsom (Cleveland Biketracks) taking the ladies victory in 4:56:52. Full results are here.
Not content with just one event, the Big Cow team also had another 200+ in the third race of the Sprint Triathlon Series. This proved a double for Loughborough Students, courtesy of Tom Curtis with a 1:02:31 and Susy Cootes in 1:13:14. Full results are here.
More half-distance racing, and making a welcome return to the calendar, at the Ireman out in County Down. Fernando Fuentes (Belpark) took a narrow win in 4:33:23 ahead of Matthew Wilson (QUB Tri) in 4:34:15. Kay Hack (Triangle) took the ladies event with a 5:18:28, 15 minutes ahead of Jo Fearon (3D Tri), who had a further 12 minutes on Margot Buchhorn (Trilogy). Full results are here.
Down at the Hereford Triathlon wins were recorded by John Rawlings (Tri Team Glos) in 47:01 and Caroline Jones (Monmouth Tri) in 54:04. Full results are here.
Winners at the Hayle Standard Triathlon were junior athlete Peter Freedman in 1:58:16 and Helen Parkinson in 2:16:26. Full results are here.
Up in Scotland at the MPH Series Skene Sprint Triathlon the winners were Frank Boyne in 1:06:45 and Jeanette Stewart (Fleetfeet Triathletes) in 1:15:49. Full results are here. They also ran a Short Triathlon, results for that are here.