Matt Hanson and fellow U.S. triathlete Jodie Robertson each won $30,000 for their victories at the Ironman North America Championship at The Woodlands, Texas.
Hanson (below) led a five-man assault on the 8 hour mark and set an American record in the process with his 7:52:44 clocking on perfect day for a records at the Ironman North American Championship in Texas. At the finish, Hanson led runner-up Ronnie Schildknecht of Switzerland by 3:37 and 3rd-place finisher Tyler Butterfield of Bermuda by 5:45.
Hansonís day began with a 51:46 swim and progressed to a 4th-best 4:13:53 bike split that put him in 4th place, 14:48 behind Andrew Starykowiczís kamikaze bike split. On his way to a 2nd-fastest 2:42:07 marathon, Hanson passed Butterfield and Antony Costes before assuming the lead.
Schildknecht, a 9-time Ironman Switzerland winner, combined a 53:34 swim, a 4:14:40 bike split, and a 3rd-best 2:43:28 marathon to finish in 7:56:21. Tyler Butterfield combined a 49:08 swim, a 4:15:20 bike split and a 2:49:00 marathon to finish in 7:58:29.
Will Clarke of Great Britain ran a race-best 2:42:01 marathon to take 4th place, 33 seconds behind Butterfield and 30 seconds ahead of 5th place Kirill Kotsegerov, who became the first Estonian to break the 8 hour mark.
After a courageous solo attack which featured a 49:15 swim and a dazzling 4:01:14 bike split to carve out a 13:04 lead on Antony Costes at T2, Andrew Starykowicz finally ran out of gas 14 miles into the run and ran an honorable 3:58:07 survival slog to finish 25th overall.
The win was Hansonís second at The Woodlands. In 2015, Hansonís 8:07:03 winning time was a race record.
Jodie Robertson held off a late race run by Michaela Herlbauer of Austria by 2:59 while setting an Ironman PR of 8:56:32. Robertson chased swim and bike leader Lauren Brandon for more than six hours before overtaking her fellow American at mile 10 of the run.
As usual, Brandon led the women - and this time the professional men as well - through the swim in a time of 48:52 which gave her a 4:01 lead on Alicia Kaye of the U.S., 4:03 on Celine Schaerer of Switzerland, 6-plus minutes on Darbi Roberts and Kelly Williamson, 8:49 on Jocelyn McCauley, 9-plus minutes on Amber Ferreira and Herlbauer, 10-plus minutes on Leslie Miller and Jessica Jones Meyers, and a whopping 13:39 on Robertson.
After a 5th-best 4:53:03 bike split, Brandon held a 5:40 lead on Robertson, who surged to 2nd place with a race-best 4:43:45 bike split leaving Maja Stage-Nielsen of Denmark, Tine Deckers of Belgium and Alicia Kaye one minute further arrears, and Herlbauer aching to erase her 7 minute deficit.
While Brandon gamely held on to her lead until the 10th mile of the run, but her mighty efforts on the swim and the run left her only enough energy to finish 6th with a 3:19:25 run.
Once Robertson took the lead, she finished with a 4th-best 3:03:41 run which brought her to the finish first in 8:56:32. Charging hard to a womenís 3rd-fastest 3:02:27 run, Herlbauer ended up 2nd overall, 2:59 behind the winner. Closing with a 3:07:45 run, Maja Stage-Nielsen grabbed the final spot on the podium, 4:28 back of the winner.
Finishing with a 3:11:00 marathon, Alicia Kaye took 4th, 8:08 back of the winner. Deckers closed with a 3:12:24 run to take 5th, 1:28 behind Kaye and 17 seconds ahead of 6th place Brandon.
While Robertson has a raft of running accomplishments including a 1:13:38 PR at the 2015 US Half Marathon Nationals and a 2:34:32 marathon PR at the 2014 Mohawk Hudson River Marathon, her triathlon career began just two years ago. On her way to this major Ironman victory, Robertson won the 2015 Quassy Half, took 3rd at 2016 Ironman 70.3 Texas and was 2nd to Julia Gajer last year at the Ironman North American Championship in a time of 8:16:30.
Ironman North America Championship
The Woodlands, Texas
April 22, 2017
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / B 26.2 mi.
1. Matt Hanson (USA) 7:52:44
2. Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) 7:56:21
3. Tyler Butterfield (BER) 7:58:29
4. Will Clarke (GBR) 7:59:02
5. Kirill Kotsegerov (EST) 7:59:32
6. Matt Russell (USA) 8:01:35
7. Leon Griffin (AUS) 8:04:04
8. David Plese (SVN) 8:05:08
9. Callum Millward (NZL) 8:07:13
10. Marc Duelsen (GER) 8:07:25
1. Jodie Robertson (USA) 8:56:32
2. Michaela Herlbauer (AUT) 8:59:31
3. Maja Stage-Nielsen (DEN) 9:01:00
4. Alicia Kaye (USA) 9:04:40
5. Tine Deckers (BEL) 9:06:08
6. Lauren Brandon (USA) 9:06:25
7. Kelly Williamson (USA) 9:11:19
8. Malindi Elmore (CAN) 9:11:34
9. Leslie Miller (USA) 9:13:22
10. Caroline Livesey (GBR) 9:18:33
[Photo courtesy of Quintana Roo]