Inaki De la Parra of Mexico and Kate Bevilaqua of Australia won the 32nd Hawaii Ultraman World Championship with strong performances on the Day 3 double marathon.
Inaki De la Parra ran 7:01:49, the 3rd-fastest men’s double marathon on the final day, to secure the 32nd Ultraman World Championship with a total time of 22:34:18 for the 3-day, 312-mile triathletic circumnavigation of the Big Island of Hawaii.
The victory was a remarkable redemptive Hawaii Ultraman performance as last year De la Parra, beset by fever and pulmonary distress, finished 13th in a time of 27:24:54.
Buoyed by his near-record Day 2 time of 7:20:24 for the 171.4-mile bike leg, the 33-year-old De la Parra’s margin of victory was 44:04 over Rob Gray of South Africa, who closed with a 7:41:06 double marathon. De la Parra started Sunday with a slim 4:47 lead on Gray after 2 days of the 3-day stage triathlon contest.
While long shot hopes were raised by his stellar Day 2 bike time - 13 seconds off the Day 2 course record - that De la Parra might challenge the Hawaii Ultraman record, he finished 52:56 off Holger Spiegel’s 1998 mark.
Synching into the spirit of the Ultraman, De la Parra was philosophical about his near miss at the Day 2 bike leg record and any thought of challenging for the race record. “With the high winds on the 90-mile bike leg on Day 1, I was hit by tree branches and almost blown off the road at South Point,” said De la Parra. “On the second day, the winds were very strong on top of the Kohala mountain range and on the steep descent into Hawi. I have two kids and I didn’t want to jeopardize my life going for any record. Last year I saw Christian Isakson crash badly on the bike and that was nightmare for a long time. So I played it very conservatively and braked for all the corners.”
Such decisions are influenced by the camaraderie and love that are the core of the Ultraman experience – which is distinguished by its physical challenges and underlined by the fact that there is no prize money.
“That is what I love about Ultraman,” said De la Parra. “It is not a high tension event like Ironman. The Hawaiian concepts Kokua (help), Ohana (family) and Aloha (love) you share with your crew, the other crews and your competitors are what Ultraman is all about.”
Still, it is a hard race. “I didn’t come to Ultraman to chase any record or to prove anything to anybody,” said De la Parra. “I just came to be a better person, a father and a coach. It was a good three days of racing. There were many dark moments If you are humbled and take the feedback, you are going to achieve a lot and will learn much more about yourself.”
Tony O’Keefe of Canada finished with the 4th-best 7:04:43 Day 3 run, which brought the 55-year-old former Canadian special forces officer to the finish in third place, 48:13 behind the winner.
One year younger than O’Keefe, 54-year-old Miro Kregar of Slovenia closed with the fastest run of the day – 6:50:51 – to finish in 4th place, 1:25:39 behind de la Parra.
Leading by 24:37 after Day 2 of the Ultraman, Australian Kate Bevilaqua sealed the overall win with a women’s-best 7:59:35 double marathon, bringing her to the finish in 24:44:04 with a 3:12:45 margin of victory over Canadian Tara Norton, who struggled on Day 3 to a 10:32:26 run.
Bevilaqua’s 7:59:35 run was the sixth-fastest women's run in Hawaii Ultraman history, falling 1:05:02 behind Yasuko Miyazaki’s 6:54:57 record set in 2014. Bevilaqua’s overall time of 24:44:04 was also the sixth-fastest Hawaii Ultraman overall time for a woman, falling 36:53 behind Amber Monforte’s race record set in 2010.
Defending women’s champion Staci Studer of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii closed with a 9:38:36 double marathon which brought her to the overall finish in 28:42:29, 45 minutes and 40 seconds behind Norton.
Ultraman World Championship
The Big Island of Hawaii
November 25-27, 2016
Day 1 – S 10k / B 90 mi.
Day 2 – B 171.4 mi.
Day 3 – R 52.4 mi.
1. Inaki De la Parra (MEX) Day 3 Run 7:01:49 Event Total 22:34:18
2. Rob Gray (USA) Day 3 Run 7:41:06 Event Total 23:18:22
3. Tony O’Keefe (CAN) Day 3 Run 7:04:43 Event Total 23:22:31
4. Miro Kregar (SLO) Day 3 Run 6:50:51 Event Total 23:59:57
5. Travis Wayth (AUS) Day 3 Run 7:45:27 Event Total 24:18:52
6. Juanma G Muñoz (ESP) Day 3 Run 6:56:33 Event Total 25:07:25
7. Jochen Dembeck (GER) Day 3 Run 8:03:37 Event Total 25:37:35
8. Bernardo Ribeiro (BRA) Day 3 Run 7:41:09 Event Total 26:10:15
9. Patricio Doucet (ESP) Day 3 Run 7:41:56 Event Total 26:42:52
10. John Howerton (USA) Day 3 Run 8:42:47 Event Total 27:39:15
1. Kate Bevilaqua (AUS) Day 3 Run 7:59:35 Event Total 24:44:04
2. Tara Norton (CAN) Day 3 Run 10:32:26 Event Total 27:56:49
3. Staci Studer (USA) Day 3 Run 9:38:36 Event Total 28:42:29
4. Iona Mackenzie (CAN) Day 3 Run 8:56:4 Event Total 29:26:46
5. Meredith Terranova (USA) Day 3 Run 8:41:29 Event Total 30:13:18
6. Ailie Coulter (AUS) Day 3 Run 11:43:58 Event Total 33:42:56