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Raña, Beth Ellis at Ironman Cozumel
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Sunday 25th November 2012


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Today's fourth edition of Ironman Cozumel in Mexico leaves just one event left on the full distance M-Dot calendar for 2012, with Ironman Western Australia in two weeks time closing out the WTC Ironman schedule.

Ladies

The USA's Mary Beth Ellis (who I interviewed earlier this year), continued her quite remarkable run in Ironman racing. Ironman Austria 2011 - less than 18 months ago - represented her debut at the distance, and some start it was too. She won, and her 8:43 finish time remains the fastest debut ever, still in the top ten of all time. Ironman Regensburg and Ironman Canada soon followed, and before her first attempt in Kona last year she had Ironman wins on her CV.

2012 had already seen her win twice (Ironman Texas and Ironman New York), and finish fifth in Kona. Cozumel was her fourth Ironman of the year and with another win, MBE remains unbeaten at Ironman outside of her two Kona appearance. Remarkable consistency.

Mary Beth exited the swim alongside Tenille Hoogland (CAN) and Ironman Lanzarote winner Michelle Vesterby. Last month's Ironman Florida winner Yvonne Van Vlerken was over 10 minutes back after her weakest discipline.

Hoogland, Vesterby and Ellis were closely matched throughout the bike leg, the Dane pulling away to gain three minutes on MBE in the late stages, with Hoogland a further one minute behind, as Belgian Sophie De Groote and Van Vlerken (NED) overcame most of their swim deficits on two wheels - leaving it all to play for on the run, all five athletes in with a shout at the win.

Beth Ellis quickly caught Vesterby to take the head of the field with De Groote appearing to be the strongest of the other challengers as she too passed Vesterby and moved into second place. At the midpoint of the marathon De Groote was three and half minutes down on Beth Ellis, but had a three minute buffer on Vesterby.

All under control then? Well, De Groote had her sights on more than just a podium spot and with just four and a half miles remaining had closed to 1:40 on Beth Ellis. The gap at the finish? Just seven seconds...

Third place went to the fast running Kona fourth place finisher Sonja Tajsich (GER), who despite giving away almost twenty (yes, twenty) minutes to Beth Ellis in the swim, closed with a 3:02:40 marathon ending the day six minutes in arrears.

Men

Just a few weeks ago we were talking about the long distance potential of former ITU World Champion and three-time Olympian Iván Raña (ESP) following his debut 70.3 win in Lanzarote. Well, he's now proven it over the full distance too with an Ironman victory at the first attempt. Best keep a closer eye on him for the future then...

For much of the day it was the Dirk Bockel (LUX) show. With many of the lead men closely bunched through the 3.8km swim, Bockel (part of the Leopard-Trek team) showed his bike strength by putting a full seven minutes into the field by T2, his 4:28:39 bike split - of course - the fastest of the day.

Bockel though looked set to be a hunted man on the run as well over ten athletes - including Raña, James Cunnama (RSA), Bas Diederen (NED), Bert Jammaer (BEL), Luke McKenzie (AUS) and Ironman Wales winner Sylvain Rota (FRA) were all within 10 minutes of the regular top-10 Kona finisher at T2. Could they catch him?

From the start of the run the gap to Bockel started falling with Raña, Cunnama and Diederen leading the charge. By the halfway mark, Bockel was in big trouble, fading rapidly and drifting well out of winning contention while Raña was looking like the most fleet of foot.

He held his form well in the second half of the marathon too, and a 2:44:05 Ironman debut run was an impressive way to secure a seven minute plus victory margin. Diederen showed that his Challenge Barcelona win was no fluke by taking second, with multiple Ironman Lanzarote winner Bert Jammaer completing the top five.

Pos Men Women
1st Iván Raña (ESP) 8:15:07 Mary Beth Ellis (USA) 9:15:38
2nd Bas Diederen (NED) 8:22:55 Sophie De Groote (BEL) 9:15:45
3rd Bert Jammaer (BEL) 8:24:51 Sonja Tajsich (GER) 9:21:30
4th Anton Blokhin (UKR) 8:26:38 Michelle Vesterby (DEN) 9:23:49
5th Jimmy Johnsen (DEN) 8:29:09 Kathleen Calkins (USA) 9:25:58

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