Fredrik Croneborg of Sweden and Verna Walter of Germany won the full distance Challenge Taiwan on Saturday.
Croneborg combined a 2nd-fastest 48:14 swim, 2nd-best 4:13:34 bike split and 3rd-best 2:53:34 marathon to finish in a race-record 8:03:21 time, which gave him an 8:02 margin of victory over runner-up Dougal Allan and 20:26 over fellow New Zealander and 3rd-place finisher Guy Crawford.
In ideal conditions, Croneborg’s winning time was 13 minutes better than the previous course record set by Dylan McNeice of New Zealand in 2013.
Ritchie Nicholls of Great Britain led the swim in 48:11 which gave him a 3 seconds lead on Croneborg, 4 seconds on Crawford, 5:43 on Karol Dzalaj of Slovakia, 5:48 on Allan and Till Schramm of Germany, 5:52 on Denis Sketako of Slovenia, and 5:55 on Petr Vabrousek of the Czech Republic.
While Nicholls DNF the bike leg, Guy Crawford seized the lead with a race-best 4:13:27 bike split which gave him a 6 seconds lead on Croneborg (4:13:34 bike split) and 8:20 on Allan (4:16:00 bike split.). The rest of the field, led by Karol Dzalaj (4:25:20 bike split) and Denis Sketako (4:31:18 bike split) was 17 minutes and more arrears.
Allan made the strongest effort to erase his deficit, but his race-best 2:52:57 run could only take back 37 seconds from Croneborg and left him 8:02 behind the winner. After his brave surge to the lead at T2, Crawford could only manage a 3:13:41 marathon which left him 20:26 behind the winner and 7:35 ahead of 4th place finisher Sketako.
Verena Walter overcame a 4:35 deficit after the swim with a by-far women’s-best 4:52:43 bike split and held on for the win with a women’s 2nd-fastest 3:25:03 run, which gave her a 16:20 margin of victory over Lucie Zelenkova Reed and 20:29 over 3rd-place Kathryn Haesner of New Zealand.
Walter’s great bike split gave her an 11:22 lead over Kate Bevilaqua at T2 and margins of 19:14 over Alyssa Godesky of the U.S., 21:04 over Haesner and 21:06 over Reed.
Reed made the biggest inroad on the run, taking back 4:56 with a women’s-best 3:20:07 marathon but that still left her 16:20 back of the winner. Haesner’s women’s 3rd-best 3:28:32 left her in 3rd-place, 20:29 back of the winner.
Walter’s 9:25:51 time was 23:28 back of Britta Martin’s 2014 race record 9:02:23 winning time.
Taitung City, Taiwan
April 29, 2017
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Fredrik Croneborg (SWE) 8:03:21 - 8,000 Euros
2. Dougal Allan (NZL) 8:11:23 - 5,000 Euros
3. Guy Crawford (NZL) 8:23:47 - 3,500 Euros
4. Dennis Sketako (SLO) 8:31:11 - 2,500 Euros
5. Karol Dzalaj (SVK) 8:45:30 - 2,000 Euros
DNF Ritchie Nicholls (GBR)
1. Verena Walter (GER) 9:25:51 - 8,000 Euros
2. Lucie Zelenkova Reed (CZE) 9:42:11 - 5,000 Euros
3. Kathryn Haesner (NZL) 9:46:20 - 3,500 Euros
4. Alyssa Godesky (USA) 9:58:58 - 2,500 Euros
5. Kate Bevilaqua (AUS) 10:20:51 - 2,000 Euros
Challenge Taiwan half distance
Current Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno had an impressive mark at the Challenge Taiwan half distance race held on the same day as the full distance contest.
Frodeno received a late invitational entry to the half distance contest and he flew 40 hours from his half distance victory last weekend at Sardinia. Frodeno took the honors in the men's contest with a 22:51 swim, 2:03:48 bike split and a 1:14:01 half marathon to finish in 3:48:20.
“My coach told me to keep pushing on the run, so I was pushing pretty hard at the end,” he told his Bahrain Endurance 13 media representatives. “It was a good time but to be honest I was tired... But you know you have to make the hard days, you've got to take them home as well and push hard, which is what I did today.”
Challenge Taiwan has not yet provided results and details of the half distance race.