Tim Don of Great Britain and Jeanni Seymour of South Africa took the elite titles at Ironman 70.3 Liuzhou Saturday in China.
Don took a short lead in the swim with a race-best 19:42 split, then turned on the jets with a blazing fast 2:00:14 bike split which gave him a 4:03 lead on Jesse Thomas of the U.S. at T2. While Thomas fought back with a race-best 1:11:34 run split, that effort only took back 1:10 from Don’s margin and left the British star a 3:15 margin of victory in a time of 3:37:44. Patrick Evoe of the U.S. took the final spot on the podium, 8:53 behind dashing Don and 1:28 ahead of 4th place Ivan Kalashnikov of Russia.
The women provided the most excitement. As usual super fish Haley Chura of the U.S. took the swim with a 20:01 split that gave her a 45 seconds lead on Radka Vodickova and 1:40 on Seymour and significantly, 4:21 on dangerous cyclist-runner Sarah Piampiano of the U.S.
After a women’s-best 2:20:49 bike split, Vodickova took a 7 seconds lead on Chura (women’s second-best 2:21:00 bike split) and 3:39 on Seymour, who hung within striking distance with a women’s sixth-fastest 2:23:15 bike split. Piampiano gained no ground with a 4th-fastest 2:22:53 bike split that left her 6:23 arrears.
Halfway through the 13.1 mile run, Kahlefeldt increased her lead to 1:13 on Chura but Seymour cut her deficit to 2:25 and seized the momentum. At the 16km mark, Seymout was rolling and took over second place from Chura and whittled Kahlefeldt’s lead to 55 seconds. Running 17 seconds per kilometer faster than Kahlefeldt, Seymour ran through Kahlefeldt with 2 kilometers to go.
After a blazing 1:17:15 run, Seymour finshedin 4:08:08 with a 31 seconds margin of victory over Kahlefeldt (women’s second best 1:21:25 run) and 2:50 over Chura, who took the final spot on the podium with a women’s 3rd-fastest 1:23:25 run. Piampiano closed hard with a 1:21:58 run but fell 4:51 behind Chura and had to be satisfied with 4th place.
Ironman 70.3 China
April 1, 2017
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Tim Don (GBR) 3:37:44
2. Jesse Thomas (USA) 3:40:59
3. Patrick Evoe (USA) 3:46:37
4. Ivan Kalashnikov (RUS) 3:48:05
5. Daniil Sapunov (UKR) 3:48:22
6. Justin Metzler (USA) 3:49:24
7. Kaito Kohara (JPN) 3:30:56
8. Alexander Polizzi (AUS) 3:51:154
9. Brad Williams (USA) 3:52:11
10. Lukasz Kalaszczynski (POL) 3:54:52
1. Jeanni Seymour (RSA) 4:08:08
2. Radka Kahlefeldt (CZE) 4:08:39
3. Haley Chura (USA) 4:10:58
4. Sarah Piampiano (USA) 4:15:49
5. Amelia Watkinson (NZL) 4:17:56
6. Paulina Kotifica (POL) 4:18:46
7. Sue Huse (CAN) 4:20:04
[Photo: Scott Flathouse, taken at the 2016 edition of 70.3 Austin]