Australians David Dellow and Carrie Lester won the men’s and women’s titles at Ironman Cairns Sunday.
Dellow won his first Ironman title with a 47:56 swim, 4:33:45 bike and race-best 2:48:08 marathon to finish in 8:15:04 with a 7:17 margin of victory over 10-time Ironman New Zealand champion and 5-time Ironman Hawaii top 5 finisher Cameron Brown. Jimmy Johnsen of Denmark was 3rd, 14:32 back of Dellow.
Dellow stuck with the lead pack on the swim and bike and arrived in T2 in a group of five that included Cameron Brown, Leon Griffin, Matty White and Luke Bell.
Early in the run, Brown and Bell put a 1 minute lead on Dellow, Griffin and White. By 7 kilometers, White dropped off the pace and Dellow was stalking Griffin. At 8 kilometers into the run, Brown shook off Bell and Dellow swept past Griffin. Soon thereafter, Bell started to fade and Dellow advanced to second.
About 20 kilometers into the run, Dellow hit his stride and passed Brown. But after falling 35 meters back, the Kiwi veteran took in gels and shook his arms and clawed his way back into the lead by kilometer 23. But by kilometer 29, Dellow surged and had a 1:34 lead which he stretched out to 7:17 at the finish as Brown settled for a 2:56:06 run and second place.
After a 50:37 swim and 4:41:29 bike, Johnsen turned on the burners for a second-fastest 2:52:32 run which advanced him to the final slot on the podium, 7:15 back of Brown and 1:43 ahead of 4th place Matty White.
Significantly, Chris McCormack redirected his focus back to Ironman after he wrote in his blog that he heard he failed to make the Australian Olympic team (no official announcement by Sunday in Australia about the two men and two women who would join already nominated Brad Kahlefeldt and Emma Moffatt in London). Ironman.com live coverage stated unequivocally that McCormack was racing Ironman Cairns in order to validate his entry for this year’s Ironman World Championship and McCormack was already stirring the pot in interviews that he could not wait to beat Lance Armstrong at Kona.
Coming into this race with no long course training, McCormack fashioned a 50:05 swim, a leisurely 4:58:10 bike and a 3:11:10 run to take 10th and cinch his qualification for a return to Kona.
Lester combined a 56:31 swim, 5:05:20 bike and 3:13:52 marathon to finish in 9:21:00 with a 1 minute 42 seconds margin of victory over runner-up Belinda Harper of New Zealand and 3:45 over 3rd-place finisher Candice Hammond of New Zealand. The win was Lester’s second Ironman victory after her 2010 win at Port Macquarie.
Rebekah Keat started the race in charge, leading chaser Belinda Harper by 5:10 and Carrie Lester and Belinda Granger by 12:50 after a race-best 52:23 swim and race-best 4:56:27 bike. But Keat started walking due to a strained calf 6 kilometers into the run and withdrew at the 7.5 kilometer mark. Harper then took over the lead and held a 7 minute cushion on Lester and roughly 8 and a half minutes on Granger at the 11 kilometer mark. Harper was caught at the 31 kilometer mark of her 3:23:02 run by Lester, who was making up her 9:38 deficit to Harper at T2 with a 3:13:52 marathon. Harper refused to surrender right away and kept within 4 seconds through kilometer 34. Lester finally made a definitive break on Harper, carving out a 1:08 advantage at the 39 kilometer mark of the run, which grew to 1:42 at the finish. .
After a 1:00:53 swim and 5:07:22 bike, Hammond was 15:15 back of Harper and three minutes back of Granger and Lester at T2. Ultimately, Hammond’s race-best 3:10:26 marathon brought her 9 minutes closer to Harper but not enough to pass and she had to be content with 3rd place.
Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns
June 3, 2012
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. David Dellow (AUS) 8:15:04
2. Cameron Brown (NZL) 8:22:21
3. Jimmy Johnsen (DEN) 8:29:36
4. Matty White (AUS) 8:31:19
5. Peter Vabrousek (CZE) 8:40:00
6. Leon Griffin (AUS) 8:40:41
7. Brett Carter (AUS) 8:44:03 * M30-34
8. Jason Shortis (AUS) 8:53:25
9. Simon Cochrane (NZL) 9:02:01
10. Chris McCormack (AUS) 9:05:12
1. Carrie Lester (AUS) 9:21:00
2. Belinda Harper (NZL) 9:22:42
3. Candice Hammond (NZL) 9:24:45
4. Belinda Granger (AUS) 9:32:16
5. Rebecca Hoschke (AUS) 9:39:53
6. Monica Dalidowicz (AUS) 10:04:41 * F35-39
7. Susan Crowe (AUS) 10:11:41 * F40-44
8. Kathryn Parkinson (AUS) 10:21:52 * F25-29
9. Elizabeth Gordon (AUS) 10:26:34 * F25-29
10. Sam Boag (AUS) 10:33:42 * F25-29