Clearwater, Florida – If you thought last year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championship course record winning times were speeds for the ages, think again.
When the blazing bike segments and runs at the pancake flat Clearwater event were done, Joanna Zeiger had sawed off 4 minutes 37 seconds from Mirinda Carfrae's record and won $20,000 and her first world title in 4:02:48. Zeiger held off long shot Mary Beth Ellis, in the race of her life, by 1 minute 19 seconds, with Becky Lavelle making the podium a US sweep, 3 minutes 25 seconds further back.
When young Terenzo Bozzone hit the line in an amazing 3:40:10, he had taken 2 minutes, 33 seconds off Andy Potts' year-old course record and held off the on rushing ITU World Cup veteran Andreas Raelert and his race-best, course-record 1:10:53 run by 32 seconds. Reliable 70.3 veteran Richie Cunningham was another minute and 4 seconds back for his second third place finish in this championship.
The winners were understandably ecstatic. Competing with a broken hand suffered in a training crash a month ago in Kona, Bozzone said his 5th World championship (he won two junior world triathlon titles and two junior world duathlon crowns) was the best. "My God, this is great!" said Bozzone, who had finished 6th and 9th in the previous two Clearwater 70.3 championships. "This wasn't quite the performance I had winning the 2005 Wildflower in 3:53, but it is by far my best result."
Zeiger, citing the 38-year old Olympic women's marathon champion and 40-year old Tom Evans record 8:07 winning time at Ironman Florida last week, said "This has been a year for the old people. For everyone who thinks that athletes are washed up at 38, they don't know what the capabilities of the human body are. I still feel passionate about my sport and hope I have a lot of good years left."
Defending champions Carfrae and Potts were prime case studies illustrating that winning the faster, shorter Ironman 70.3 distance is almost as elusive of a target as the full Ironman.
When the third Ironman 70.3 World Championship was done Saturday, overwhelming favorite, and world record holder for the distance Carfrae was mystified at her 12th place finish among Pro women. Coming off a five win, one second place season at the 70.3 distance, and rolling into town with her best-ever training block, Carfrae hit the proverbial brick wall the moment she started the bike. "If I could simply tell you what happened, I'd be happy. To be honest, I felt pretty awful from the start. I was hurting the whole day, but I wasn't going that fast. It's very disappointing and it hurts to have such a weak title defense. I have no excuse. Maybe I raced too much this year, but my workouts have been great. So I have to tell myself that every great athlete gets their butt kicked at one time or another. I'll come back from this, you can mark my word."
Andy Potts, just four weeks after a stirring 7th place in his Kona debut, didn't have any words for his 6th place finish. He simply poured ice and water over his overheated head for several minutes at the finish line.
Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3
Clearwater Beach, Florida / November 8, 2008
S 1.2m / B 56m / R 13.1m
1. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:40:10
2. Andreas Raelert (GER) 3:40:42
3. Richie Cunningham (GBR) 3:41:47
4. Oscar Galindez (ARG) 3:42:28
5. Reinaldo Colucci (BRA) 3:43:22
6. Andy Potts (USA) 3:44:30
7. Luke McKenzie (AUS) 3:45:11
8. Brent McMahon (CAN) 3:45:43
9. Joe Gambles (AUS) 3:46:23
10. Fraser Cartmell (GBR) 3:46:34
14. Simon Thompson (AUS) 3:49:40
15. Peter Robertson (AUS) 3:51:53
16. Timothy O'Donnell (USA) 3:51:50
17. Andrew Starykowicz (USA) 3:52:00
19. Daviel Bretscher (USA) 3:52:12
20. David Thompson (USA) 3:52:39
1. Joanna Zeiger (USA) 4:02:49
2. Mary Beth Ellis (USA) 4:04:07
3. Becky Lavelle (USA) 4:07:32
4. Julie Dibens (GBR) 4:09:10
5. Brooke Davison (USA) 4:12:10 *
6. Kelly Jarrett (AUS) 4:13:49 **
7. Nina Kraft (GER) 4:15:32
8. Erika Csomor (HUN) 4:16:00
9. Catriona Morrison (GBR) 4:16:28
10. Angela Naeth (CAN) 4:16:50
11. Lindsey Jerdonek (USA) 4:18:03 ***
12. Leanda Cave (GBR) 4:18:50
13. Amanda Stevens (USA) 4:20:28
13. Caroline Steffen (SWI) 4:21:34
15. Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 4:22:29
* = AG F35-39
** = AG F25-29
*** = AG F18-24
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