Matt Chrabot and Lauren Barnett won the race originally scheduled as Ironman 70.3 Racine – although the swim was canceled and the bike leg reduced to 31.4 miles due to severe weather.
The downsizing of the race to a middle-distance duathlon was a fair and reasonable adjustment by race officials to avoid lightning, dangerous water conditions and strong gusting winds that blew through just before the scheduled start of the event.
Initial reaction to these changes led triathlon experts to make pre-race favorite Lionel Sanders (who was currently on a record 9-race win streak at the 70.3 distance) even more of a prohibitive favorite. That is because it would eliminate Sanders’ one weakness, his slow swim, which typically leaves the red-hot Canadian the last man out on the bike and 4 minutes behind the leaders.
Good thing sports betting parlors were at least a thousand miles away.
After a timed start to the cycling leg, Sanders led the men into T2 with a race-best 1:02:48 bike split, which gave him a 1:29 lead on former star cyclist Cameron Wurf, 3:07 on Matt Chrabot, 3:43 on Drew Scott, 4:14 on Justin Metzler, 4:49 on Canadian Taylor Reid, 5:05 on Paul Ambrose of Australia, 5:26 on Thomas Gerlach, and 5:40 and 5:41 on Australians Richie Cunningham and Paul Ambrose.
Everything was going according to script until, as later reported by Sanders’ former coach and ITU announcer Barrie Shepley, Sanders started struggling with gastrointestinal issues on the hot and humid run. Sanders held tough through 8 miles as his lead was shaved to 1:32 on Chrabot and 4:39 to 8:36 over 8 men including James Hadley, Reid, Matthews, Metzler, Wurf, Robbie Wade, Scott and Cunningham.
In the final miles of an off-form 1:17:15 half marathon run split, Sanders surrendered to Chrabot, who was on his way to a race-best 1:12:55 run. Chrabot finished the impromptu duathlon in 2:19:43, which gave him a 1:14 margin of victory over Sanders, 4:35 over 3rd-place finisher James Hadley of Great Britain, 5:17 over Taylor Reid of Canada, and 6:23 over Paul Matthews of Australia.
Depending on whether or not you consider this weather-abbreviated race a true Ironman 70.3 event, Sanders’ remarkable streak of Ironman 70.3 victories has either ended or been interrupted at 9.
Sarah Piampiano charged out front on the 31.4-mile bike leg, arriving at T1 in 1:12:52 with a 6 seconds lead on Lauren Barnett, 39 seconds on Sarah Haskins, 3:18 on Jodie Robertson, 3:27 on Jeanni Seymour of South Africa, and 4:03 and 4:29 on Lesley Smith and Christen Brown.
Barnett took charge with a women’s-best 1:22:40 half marathon which brought her to the finish in 2:36:37, with a 1:56 margin of victory over Piampiano (1:24:41 run), and 4:37 on 3rd-place Sarah Haskins, who edged 4th place Jeanni Seymour by 1 second.
Ironman 70.3 Racine
July 17, 2016
B 31.4 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Matt Chrabot (USA) 2:19:43
2. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 2:20:57
3. James Hadley (GBR) 2:24:18
4. Taylor Reid (CAN) 2:25:00
5. Paul Matthews (AUS) 2:26:06
6. Robbie Wade (IRL) 2:27:16
7. Justin Metzler (USA) 2:28:05
8. Thomas Gerlach (USA) 2:30:36
9. Drew Scott (USA) 2:31:14
10. Cameron Wurf (AUS) 2:31:45
1. Lauren Barnett (USA) 2:36:37
2. Sarah Piampiano (USA) 2:38:33
3. Sarah Haskins (USA) 2:41:14
4. Jeanni Seymour (RSA) 2:41:15
5. Jodie Robertson (USA) 2:43:29
6. Leslie Smith (USA) 2:46:19
7. Nicole Walker (CAN) 2:46:33 * F25-29
8. Christen Brown (USA) 2:49:34
9. Jessica Chong (USA) 2:51:54
10. Lenny Ramsey (NLD) 2:54:10 * F30-34