Ashley Clifford edged Jackie Hering by 1:18 to win Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga. Andy Potts combined a best-swim and best-run to edge Leon Griffin.
Clifford’s duel with Hering went back and forth. Hering’s 2nd-best 27:01 swim gave her an 8-seconds advantage on Clifford, who then gained back 5 seconds with a women’s 2nd-best 2:28:18 bike leg. Clifford quickly took the lead and gradually increased her advantage to the end, finishing in 4:20:33 with a 1:18 margin over Hering.
Much like in the women's race, the top of the men's leaderboard was fluid. Potts combined a race-best 21:59 swim, a 2nd-fastest 2:09:35 bike split and a race-best 1:14:22 run to cross the line in 3:49:43 with a 1:32 margin on Griffin of Australia and 2:55 on 3rd-place finisher Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand. Potts bested Griffin by 1:27 in the swim, gave back 51 seconds to Griffin on the bike, lost 36 seconds in transition and outran Griffin by 1:38 to secure the victory.
New Zealand-born, Chattanooga resident Anna Cleaver led the swim in 26:40, 21 seconds ahead of Jackie Hering, 29 seconds up on Ashley Clifford and 55 seconds ahead of Nina Kraft. Chasers included Cori Burnett (+3:00), Sarah Cameto (+3:05) Kelly Fillnow (+3:38), Molly Roohi (+4:37), Heather Leiggi (+4:43), and with fearsome bike and run, Jessie Donavan (+6:18).
After 26 miles, Hering took the lead, 3 seconds ahead of Clifford and Cleaver, 4:16 and 4:17 on Cameto and Kraft and, predictably, just 4:42 on Donavan who already had trimmed her deficit by 1:34. By T2, Donavan posted the women's fastest 2:25:39 bike split and chopped her deficit to 3:16, arriving in T2 in 5th.
After a 2:28:41 bike split, Cleaver led into T2, 2 seconds ahead of Hering, 5 up on Clifford, 2:39 on Kelly Fillnow, 3:16 on Donavan and 3:48 on Cameto.
On the run, Clifford led Hering by 10 seconds at Mile 2.7 as Cleaver quickly faded to a 2:23 deficit. Fillnow remained 3:03 back while Donavan dropped back to 4:45 arrears.
After 6.7 miles, Clifford led Hering by 18 seconds, with Fillnow 3rd, 3:51 back, Donavan dropping to 6:04 arrears and Cleaver falling back at 7:50 down.
At 9 miles, Clifford drew slowly and inexorably further ahead of Hering, who trailed by 33 seconds with Fillnow 4:08 back and Donavan 6:27 behind.
Clifford finished in 4:20:33 with a 1:18 margin on Hering and 4:38 on 3rd-place finisher Fillnow.
While live streaming coverage and the Ironman Live twitter feed clearly showed that Clifford won and Hering was second, Ironman.com results offered a different story. The results page showed Hering winning in 4:24:08, Clifford second in 4:24:41, and Fillnow 3rd in 4:26:13. Because of the leaders’ discrepancies, we offer the 4th through 10th place women's finishers in order but without official times.
As expected, Andy Potts led the swim in 21:59, 2 seconds ahead of Brian Fleischmann, 4 seconds up on Australian James Seear, 6 over New Zealander Terenzo Bozzone, 10 over Australian-U.S. star Greg Bennett and 12 ahead of Joe Umphenour of the U.S. Of all the chasers, only Leon Griffin of Australia with his powerful run threatened the top swimmers.
On the bike, Fleischmann went out aggressively, by Mile 26 taking a 16 seconds lead on Potts, 20 on Bennett, 23 on Bozzone and 27 on Seear. Holding his own while the rest were fading further back was Griffin at 1:26 arrears. On the closing half of the bike, Griffin joined the party at the front. The 2006 ITU Duathlon World Champion made up the 86 seconds, leading into T2 after a race-fastest 2:08:44 split that gave him a 1 second advantage on Potts, 4 seconds on Bozzone, 7 on Bennett 8 on Seear and 12 on Fleischmann. Chris Baird led the rest at 4:25 down, followed by Blake Becker and Karl Bordine trailing by 5:18 and 5:19 respectively.
At 2.7 miles, Griffin maintained his slim lead over Potts and Bozzone running shoulder to shoulder 1 second back. Bennett fell 1:19 back and Seear and Fleischmann running together, were 2 minutes down.
At 9 Miles, Potts took the front, 1 second ahead of Bozzone and 6 seconds in front of Griffin, with Bennett and Fleischmann running together 4:27 down.
Potts grew stronger toward the end, finishing with a race-best 1:14:22 run that brought him to the finish in 3:49:43 with a 1:32 margin of victory over Griffin (1:15:50 run) and 2:55 over Bozzone (1:17:18 run). Chris Baird closed fast with a 2nd-fastest 1:14:25 run to take 4th, 1:44 behind Bozzone and 2:57 ahead of Fleischmann, who was 5th.
Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga
May 17, 2015
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Ashley Clifford (USA) 4:20:33
2. Jackie Hering (USA) 4:21:41
3. Kelly Fillnow (USA) 4:25:11
4. Jessie Donavan (USA)
5. Heather Leiggi (USA)
6. Amy Farrell (USA) *F35:39
7. Brianna Boehmer (USA) *F35-39
8. Sarah Cameto (USA)
9. Nina Kraft (GER)
10. Molly Roohi (USA)
1. Andy Potts (USA) 3:49:43
2. Leon Griffin (AUS) 3:51:15
3. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:52:38
4. Chris Baird (USA) 3:54:22
5. Brian Fleischmann (USA) 3:57:19
6. Greg Bennett (AUS) 3:58:30
7. James Seear (AUS) 4:01:17
8. Blake Becker (USA) 4:04:00
9. Adam Kosmicki (USA) 4:04:30
10. Joe Umphenour (USA) 4:04:40