Richie Cunningham and Meredith Kessler won the Rev3 Portland half Ironman distance in tough duels against tough opponents on a challenging course.
Despite a quality field that also included Viktor Zyemtsev of the Ukraine, the USAís Jordan Rapp, New Zealandís Terenzo Bozzone, and Australiaís Paul Matthews, the menís race ended up a duel between half Ironman master Richie Cunningham and two-time Wildflower champion Jesse Thomas.
After Cunninghamís 27:24 swim gave up 42 seconds to Bozzone but earned the Australian a 2:18 advantage on Zyemtsev, 2:19 on Thomas and 2:25 on Rapp, the bike leg shuffled the deck.
Bozzoneís not-up-to-par 2:19:45 bike gave back 1:56 and left the New Zealander 1:20 back to start the run and Thomasís race-best 2:16:42 bike split plus transitions left him 1:28 behind. Rappís 2nd-fastest 2:16:47 two-wheel effort plus transitions put him a hopeful 1:38 back to start the run, while Zyemtsevís well-over-par 2:22:45 bike threw the Ukrainian a hopeless 7 minutes back.
On the run, Rapp dropped out of contention for the win with a 1:17:12 run and Bozzone did the same with a 1:20:22 effort. Zyemtsev made the biggest push with a race-best 1:11:17 split, but that only brought him up to 3rd, just under 5 minutes back of the two main contenders. Thomas, racing just a few miles from his Eugene, Oregon home, went to work on his 1:28 deficit with a 2nd-best 1:12:32 run split. But Cunningham, with all that swim time in the bank, fought off the charge with a 3rd-best 1:13:46 run.
At the finish, Cunninghamís 4:00:38 was 23 seconds faster than Thomas, 4:56 ahead of fleet footed Zyemtsev, 5:04 better than Rapp, and 7:55 ahead of Bozzone.
Meredith Kessler opened with a race-best 28:56 swim that was two seconds better than Becky Lavelle and 7 seconds better than Lauren Goss. More to the point, Kessler was 2:27 better than red-hot half Ironman competitor Angela Naeth, armed with a killer bike and run.
Naeth then unleashed a race-best 2:28:30 bike split that was 3:48 better than Kesslerís ride and fast enough to leave Goss (2:41:33) and Lavelle (2:39:33) out of the mix. Naeth then took all the threat out of her rivals with 2nd-fastest 1:25:37 run (7th place Emily Cocks was 6 seconds faster) that was 25 seconds faster than Kessler and 15 seconds better than Goss.
At the finish, Naethís 4:27:27 time was 2:18 better than Kessler, 8:58 better than 3rd place Goss and 12 minutes flat better than 4th place Lavelle.
Rev3 Portland Half
July 8, 2012
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Richie Cunningham (AUS) 4:00:38
2. Jesse Thomas (USA) 4:01:01
3. Viktor Zyemtsev (UKR) 4:05:34
4. Jordan Rapp (USA) 4:05:42
5. Andrew Russell (CAN) 4:07:01
6. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 4:08:33
7. Paul Matthews (AUS) 4:09:44
8. Graham OíGrady (NZL) 4:11:25
9. Kyle Leto (USA) 4:13:05
10. Chris McDonald (AUS) 4:13:22
1. Angela Naeth (CAN) 4:27:27
2. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:29:45
3. Lauren Goss (USA) 4:38:25
4. Becky Lavelle (USA) 4:39:27
5. Nicole Kelleher (USA) 4:40:40
6. Homo Malaika (USA) 4:45:42
7. Emily Cocks (USA) 4:46:26
8. Madeleine Oldfield (AUS) 4:48:37
9. Charisa Wernick (USA) 4:49:37