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6th Sep 2011Issue 195

Welcome to the newsletter

I don't have a clear recollection of the year but it was certainly a while back when Greg Bennett visited Dorney Lake one weekend as one of the celebrity athletes (Tim Don was another, or so my fading memory tells me) sponsored by Gold, a property developer. What I do remember quite clearly is that on the Sunday morning Bennett was asked to lead the toddlers and kids round for their Scootathlon and, like the affable bloke he is, happily agreed. He jogged the first one with the youngest kids, jogged ran with the second group and then virtually sprinted to keep ahead of the oldest ones on their scooters. We're all a good few years down the track and so it's great to see the man still turning on the magic and beating the best of them at the Hy-Vee 5150 event this weekend. Of course, a pay cheque of $156,650 (and his wife Laura took home one of her own as well thanks to her 5th place) is enough of a temptation to make anyone swim, cycle and run pretty fast. The rumours are that Greg's bar bill afterwards may have been pretty special too... Excellent results too for Stuart Hayes in 3rd and Liz Blatchford in 8th.

And so from one extreme to the other, racing for just the pure challenge. Finishing up today with a double marathon leg is the UK's first Ultraman event and last time I checked the results Mark Stenning had the title all sewn up. Three days of serious endurance sport in North Wales with a field of less than 30 athletes and precious little to show for it other than the aches and blisters - and a massive sense of personal achievement. Oh, and the opportunity to go and do it all again out in Hawaii later in the year... Having funded the wife on her quest to get to Kona I'm all too familiar with the almost bottomless pit that can open up - and Ultraman needs a full support crew as well! Perhaps a quick call to Greg Bennett might be in order, I hear he's got a little bit left after paying the bar bill...

Next weekend things continue to hot up on the racing front with Ironman Wales heading a packed domestic calendar and the 70.3 World Championships hitting the Las Vegas for the first time so if all goes according to plan we'll be back with another newsletter then.

In this issue:

Results

Weekend action

International Racing

The big money race for the weekend was the Hy-Vee Triathlon, an event that used to be the main payday on the ITU World Cup circuit but jumped ship and is now the flagship event for WTC's 5150 series. In the men's race the perennial Australian turned American Greg Bennett blew past Benjamin Collins (USA) on the run leg and then held off a challenge from Hunter Kemper (USA) to secure the win.

Collins had opened up a big lead on the bike leg and looked as if he might run away with the race with a lead of a minute in the early stages of the 10k but he was battling a foot injury and began to tire on the uphill portion of the course. On the third of four laps Kemper, the former Olympian and elite cup winner shaved 20 seconds off Bennett's lead, But that advantage proved insurmountable. He was clocked in at 1 hour, 49 minutes and 42 seconds. Kemper was 30 seconds back. Stuart Hayes (GBR), ranked first this season in the 5150 series, grabbed third place.

Bennett took home the $151,500 winner's purse and another $5,150 in bonus premiums for each of the run laps he led. "This is truly the greatest race in the world and the best competition in the world," said Bennett. "I'm inspired by the greenbacks," admitted Bennett, whose wife Laura finished fifth in the women's Elite Cup earlier in the day. "Laura and I love coming back to Des Moines; it's such a special thing for the Bennett family."

In the womens race Sara Haskins (USA) took the lead from Sara McLarty (USA) not long after they emerged first and second from the 1.5k swim in the swift current of the Des Moines River. Haskins, who came into the Hy-Vee race a perfect five-for five in 2011, quickly open up her lead over McLarty on the bike and initially beat back the challenge of top-ranked 5150 series competitor Nikki Butterfield on the run course.

Sweden's Lisa Norden was the one flying on the 10k run and she and 2010 Ironman champion Mirinda Carfrae both passed Haskins on the fourth lap with Norden going on to take the win. "I knew it was going to be a tight race that would come down to the run," Norden said. "I've had a really crappy season, this is the first time I've finished in the top five. I'm just so glad it came at the Hy-Vee." Norden took home $151,500 for the win, plus a $5,100 bonus for her performance on the final lap. Carfrae, like Norden and Haskins, entered Sunday's race by way of special invitation, said she was surprised by her second-place finish. "I didn't have high expectations; I just went out to do my best," she said.

Best GB results outside the top three were Liz Blatchford in 8th, Fraser Cartmell in 22nd and Ritchie Nicholls in 27th.

Pos Men Women
1 Greg Bennett (USA) 1:49:42 Lisa Norden (SWE) 1:59:12
2 Hunter Kemper (USA) 1:50:12 Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 1:59:20
3 Stuart Hayes (GBR) 1:50:30 Sarah Haskins (USA) 1:59:29

The combined ITU/Powerman Long Distance Duathlon Championships at Zofingen saw a fairly predictable result for the men, Joerie Vansteelant carried a nine minute advantage to the line, but in the women's race it was the relatively unknown New Zealander, Melanie Burke, who triumphed. Best GB result was Matt Moorhouse in 6th with Oliver Mott 12th and Ireland's David Vaughan 17th. Michelle Parsons finished 9th in the women's field. Full results for all the races are on the Datasport website.

Pos Men Women
1 Joerie Vansteelant 6:07:15 Melanie Burke 7:11:43
2 Thibaut Humbert 6:16:58 Eva Nyström 7:15:10
3 Andy Stutz 6:18:28 Erika Csomor 7:22:42

The Ironman 70.3 Ireland race was hit by bad weather forcing the swim course to be shortened to 700m. Mike Aigroz (SUI) was a clear overall winner ahead of Pavel Simko (SLO) and local athlete Owen Cummins. Lucy Gossage kept a 2:30 advantage over Rachel Joyce in the women's race.

Pos Men Women
1 Mike Aigroz (SUI) 03:50:12 Lucy Gossage (GBR) 04:21:09
2 Pavel Simko (SLO) 03:55:59 Rachel Joyce (GBR) 04:23:37
3 Owen Cummins (IRL) 04:01:26 Charisa Wernick (USA) 04:37:41

At the second edition of the half distance Signa Challenge Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) dominated the race and set a new course record in 3:49:20 ahead of Tim Bracht (GER) and an age grouper, Boris Stein (GER) was third overall. It was Schildknecht outing at a Challenge event and he seemed well pleased with the result, "It was a super tough race and I had really tough competition. I had really good legs on the bike but I got cramps towards the end of the run and was not sure until the very end if my lead was big enough."

The women's race saw a rematch of last year's duel between Yvonne van Vlerken (NED) and Eva Dollinger (AUT). The result was a 'two from two' with van Vlerken taking the win in 4:25:11 ahead of Dollinger but the local athlete had been in the lead right up to the last lap of the run. Third place went to Mirjam Weerd (NED). "Eva did not make it easy for me," said van Vlerken.

UK Racing

RaceNewForest reprised their Swashbuckler early season race with the Buckler's Revenge, I'm sure we'll see a full report from Richard and Jo during the week but for the moment the headline news is that Oliver Milk (Human Performance) took the win in 3:31:11 while Tracy Cook was recorded second overall to claim the top female slot in 3:38:51.

F3 Events ran a slew of races out of Shiplake College in Henley with swims on the Saturday and a sprint and a 'standard' distance on the Sunday. Sam Gardner (Berkshire Tri) was the winner of the not quite standard distance race, actually a 1500m swim/27k bike/7k run, in 1:34:38 ahead of Chris Panayiotou and Matthew Hammersley. Caroline Whittaker won the women's division in 1:55:38. Sam, who has had an exceptional season with ten wins from 15 races, sent us a brief email report: "I had a reasonable swim coming out the water in 4th place, but lost three minutes to top swimmer and main rival Chris Panayiotou. On the bike it took me 25km to catch Chris and we came into T2 only 15 seconds apart. On the run we ran shoulder to shoulder for the first lap and then I managed to pull away on the second lap for a 45 second win."

At the Sailfish Strathclyde Standard Triathlon, the race also hosted the Scottish standard distance championships, the wins and championship trophies went to Roger Witz Barnes (Manchester Tri Club) and Natalie Milne (Stirling Tri).

In what is rated as one of the toughest races in the world, the Helvellyn Triathlon saw great weather and a new course record with Martin Cain (National Fire Service) recording a 3:27:50 to beat Alistair Brownlee's previous best by 24 seconds. In an equally dominating performance Saray May (Calderdale Tri Club) saw off the rest of the women's field with a 4:13:46.

There's one race this weekend that still hasn't finished and that's the first running of the UK Ultraman. It started off on Saturday with a 10k swim and then rolled into the first leg of a two-day bike section with 144.8k on the Saturday and a further 275.8k on Sunday. Today there's just the small matter of a double marathon to wrap it all up. Oh, and it's all taking place in Snowdonia so the lake (Bala) will be somewhat on the cool side, the biking will be hilly and the run is a double loop of the Snowdon Marathon course... Nice! Mark Stedding headed the field after the first day with a 43 minute advantage over his nearest rival, Jan Svendsen (SWE). They ended the second day's biking on the same time and as this is being written Mark has just completed the double marathon in 6:44:40 which would seem to make him the overall winner as well.

FULL WEEKEND RESULTS LISTINGS

Capernwray Clearwater Autumn Triathlon (Olympic and Sprint Distance) - 2nd October

Hosted at Capernwray Dive Centre on the edge of The Lake District National Park on 2nd October 2011.

The swim takes place in the sparkling and still warm spring fed waters of the Dive Centre, which is possibly the safest and officially the second cleanest open water in the UK.

Find out more here www.adventure-challenge-solutions.co.uk/news-and-events/events/capernwray-clearwater-autumn-triathlon

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