Michael Raelert pulled an upset, Julie Dibens redeemed two disappointing fourth place finishes and fulfilled a long held dream to win a world title on pavement and along the way, records were set and many renowned triathletes were humbled at the Foster Grant Ironman 70.23 World Championships in Clearwater.
Photo Gallery by Timothy Carlson
Andrew Starykowicz set a bike course record of 1:58:49, outpacing Joe Gambles by 8 seconds. But Gambles' 1:13:21 run brought him home 5th, while Starykowicz's 1:20:00 left him 24th.
Pros complained about sharing the roads with traffic and narrow lanes set off by the cones, which produced large packs on Florida's typically flat terrain.
The result of the crowding - several drafting penalties, served in four minute segments in bins on the course.
Phillip Graves (38), the 20 year-old phenom from Great Britain who won Ironman UK, was in the mix with a 21:25 swim and 1:59:25 bike, but faded to 43rd with a 1:26:38 run. Brian Fleischman (81) ran amore evenly paced race to take 10th in 3:41:37.
Phillip Graves stayed aggressive throughout the bike.
The lead pack stayed in tight but legal formation coming back over the causeway, but 400 yards from T2, a marshal popped an irate Leon Griffin for drafting. Without the four-minute penalty, Griffin theoretically would have been second.
Matt Reed felt strong through a 1:59:09 bike and led the field out on the run.
But when he hit causeway bridge at Mile 2, Reed said his race legs just weren't there and he faded to third with a respectable but not stellar 1:13:11 run.
Greg Bennett was he was taking his debut at this year's Foster Grant Ironman 70.3 World Championship as an experiment. A 22:14 swim and a 1:59:07 bike got an A- grade. His 1:20:59 run to 27th place showed that four races in six weeks after his painful collision with a bike in June left him off his best form.
Richie Cunningham had the most consistent results at Clearwater in the first three years with a 3rd, 5th and 3rd. But in 2009, his best-ever 3:42:13 only brought him home 11th.
Joe Gambles' second-best 1:58:57 ride and 1:13:23 run brought him 5th place in 3:38:19.
Tim O'Donnell was disheartened when he got popped for drafting, but still ran home with a 4th-best 1:13:06 for 11th place at the line.
Greg Bennett's elegant stride should be preserved on a Greek frieze. But when you're out of gas, you drop 10 minutes and 25 places.
Julie Dibens led twice and dropped to 4th at the finish in 2007 and 2008 when her run broke down. This time, she backed up her race record 2:07:15 bike with a 1:24:37 run to take the gold.
Jodie Swallow, a few weeks after her ITU long course world title, started the run in third, but DNF'd the run.
Some 1,800 age groupers raced the course.
After a fine bike, Caroline Steffen of Switzerland held second for most of the run before Mary Beth Ellis and Magali Tisseyre took a podium finish away.
Michael Raelert stepped out of the shadow of his brother Andreas, who was second in his Clearwater debut last year, with this surprise victory won with a stunningly fast 1:09:05 run.
Raelert's torso in full flight on the run.
Michael Raelert, you are an Ironman 70.3 World Champion - and new world record holder with your 3:34:04 finish. .