Alexandre Ribeiro began the third day of the 25th Ultraman World Championship with a 23-minute lead over rookie Mike LeRoux of Australia, 38 minutes over Ultraman veteran and excellent runner Miro Kregar of Slovenia, and 40 minutes over the Peter Kotland. Twelve years ago, Kotland unleashed a beast of a run, a 5:33:27 double marathon, that won him the title and affixed his name in Ultraman legend. One year ago, Ribeiro posted a personal best Day 3 run of 6:15:32 on his way to his third Ultraman win. That run was 42:05 slower than Kotland’s 12-year-old record run mark. So, if both men were at their theoretical best, Kotland would eke out a 2-minute win.
While both were far from their best in 2009, Ribeiro took his fourth overall crown with a second-best final day double marathon of 6:38:59. Kregar passed LeRoux and Kotland for second overall with a race-best 6:20:07 run, and Kotland found the first two days of hard cycling left him with just enough gas in the tank to run a 6:47:49, which placed him third overall.
The true hero of the third day was Madison, Wisconsin psychologist and ultra running star Ann Heaslett, whose stunning 7:12:07 marathon smashed Tina Bischoff’s 20-year-old Ultraman Day 3 record by 37 minutes and 30 seconds. The run advanced Heaslett, the 2007 runner-up, to third place behind Kathy Winkler of Mill Valley, California, who also broke the Bischoff run mark with her 7:45:46 double marathon.
But don’t kid yourself. There is nothing easy about a double marathon after two days of a 10k swim and 260.4 miles of biking. So a hearty toast to the last man, Giorgio Alessi, who trotted home with a cutoff-beating 11:47:00 for a 33rd place finish just two weeks after completing a 1,406-mile Deca Ironman.
Photo Gallery ® Timothy Carlson
The Day 3 Ultraman double marathon starts in the dark at 6 AM with serious contenders like leader Alexandre Ribeiro and Miro Kregar setting their watches
Veteran Ultraman Uli Winklemann of Germany looks flexible and fluid in a pre dawn stretch.
Peter Kotland and crewman Ryan Short run third at the 4-mile mark.
Alexandre Ribeiro and Miro Kregar are so used to running the Day 3 Ultraman together, Ribeiro points to an object of interest
Ann Heaslett support crew member Jason Dorgan runs in tandem with his record–setting athlete at Mile 15.
Ribeiro and Kregar run in tandem as Kregar’s support vehicle makes the turn on to the Queen K at Kawaihae.
Ultraman runners and support vehicles hop scotch south along the Queen K.
Peter Kotland four minutes behind the leading runners Ribeiro and Kregar at the 20-mile mark.
Shanna Armstrong keeps her cool as Swiss Gigathlon winner Trix Zgraggen takes out an early lead on the run.
Juan Craveri of Argentina finished the Day 3 marathon in 8:21:00 – with eight stitches in his foot thanks to pre race encounter with sharp coral. Kathy Winkler finished the run in 7:45:46, which brought her home in second place with a 26:04:54 overall time, and the second-best-ever woman's time.
Richard Roll, 43, an entertainment lawyer from Malibu, hung tough after a bone jarring Saturday crash and ran a 7:51:40 to finish sixth overall.
Ribeiro cools off with some water poured on his smoothly shaven head.
Ribeiro and Kregar run in tandem framed by a red bougainvillea in the lava fields on the Queen K.
Ann Heaslett ran full stride the entire 52.4 miles to smash the old women’s run mark with a 7:12:07 double marathon.
Miro Kregar and Alexandre Ribeiro run 1-2 for Day 3 and a 2-1 overall finish.
Alexandre Ribeiro cools off with 5 miles to go, flanked by his son Kaipo.
Jason Lester gave it his all for a 9:35:48 double marathon and 18th place overall finish in 29:50:36.
Trix Zgraggen of Switzerland ran ahead of Shanna Armstrong for the first half, but was slowed by painful hip problems and finished bravely with a 9:16:47 double marathon and a 27:13:29 overall time for third place woman.
Sheena Miller smiles, holding a sign crafted by a modest Canadian wit: “15 Minute Limit on all Glory Basking.” Still, her 8:57:24 run and 30:38:28 overall time was reason enough to celebrate.
Suzy Degazon manages a wry smile after she wrapped up her 12th straight Ultraman with a 10:44:21 run and a 32:32:19 overall time.