Lawrence, Appleton top Santa Rosa 70.3

Holly Lawrence of Great Britain and Sam Appleton of Australia took convincing wins at Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa.


After winning the Ironman 70.3 Worlds last year, Holly Lawrence continues to be a dominating force in the Ironman 70.3 realm as she scored 2017 wins at Oceanside 70.3, the Ironman 70.3 North American Championship in St. George, and now Santa Rosa 70.3

Lawrence emerged from the water three seconds behind swim leader Kaitlin Curbeau. After a by-far women’s-best 2:18:08 bike split - 3:28 faster than her nearest pursuer - Lawrence held a 7:20 lead on Carrie Lester of Australia, 8:56 on Kelsey Withrow of the U.S., 9:00 on top-5 Kona finisher Kaisa Lehtonen of Finland, and about 10 minutes on famed slow swimmer/fast runner Sarah Piampiano of the U.S.

After six miles of the run, Lawrence accumulated an 8:07 lead on fast-rising Piampiano, 9:53 on Lester, 10:41 on Withrow and 13:00 on Lehtonen. After a women’s 2nd-fastest 1:25:17 run - giving up 5:32 to Piampiano’s impressive 1:19:45 half marathon - Lawrence finished in a race record 4:13:20 with a 4:52 margin of victory over Piampiano and 10:37 over 3rd-place Lehtonen.

At age 27 and with just three years at the middle distance game, Lawrence has accumulated an Ironman 70.3 record that is gradually approaching the outstanding 70.3 race résumé of Melissa Hauschildt.


After six half-Ironman distance wins in 2015, Sam Appleton has been a regular visitor to half-Ironman distance podiums in the last two years. In 2017, after wins at Geelong 70.3, the Challenge Melbourne half, and now a strong win at Santa Rosa 70.3, he seems on the verge of a win streak similar to his breakout year in 2015.

Appleton’s race-best 23:28 swim was 3 seconds better than Tim O’Donnell, 5 seconds better than perennial super-swimmer Andy Potts, and 8 seconds better than ITU veteran Jarrod Shoemaker. That swim also gave him a cushion of 29 seconds over dangerous biker-runner Joe Gambles.

After 30 miles of the bike leg, Appleton carved out a 40 seconds lead on Gambles, 2:25 on Justin Rossi, 2:43 on O’Donnell and 4:05 on Potts. After a race-best 2:03:26 bike split, Appleton had a 3:39 lead on Gambles, 4:39 on Rossi, 7:48 on Derek Garcia, 7:53 on Potts, 7:54 on O’Donnell and 8:00 on Jordan Rapp.

After 6 miles of the run, Appleton increased his lead to 4:06 on Gambles, 7:37 on O’Donnell, 8:25 on Potts and 9:11 on Garcia. After a 3rd-best 1:14:51 run split, Appleton finished in 3:46:47 with a 3:45 margin of victory over Gambles (1:14:47 run) and 7:32 on 3rd-place O’Donnell (race-best 1:14:46 run).

In the amateur ranks, Formula One racing star Jenson Button of Great Britain won the men’s 35-39 age group in a time of 4:13:54. Button finished 22nd overall male, 23rd overall – beaten by just one woman, first overall Holly Lawrence. Button swam 28:45, biked 2:15:18 and ran 1:22:52.

Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa, California
May 13, 2017
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.



1. Holly Lawrence (GBR) 4:13:20
2. Sarah Piampiano (USA) 4:18:12
3. Kaisa Lehtonen (FIN) 4:23:57
4. Carrie Lester (AUS) 4:24:31
5. Kelsey Withrow (USA) 4:26:47
6. Christine Cross (USA) 4:31:39
7. Sarah Cameto (USA) 4:32:52
8. Christen Brown (USA) 4:34:24
9. Alycia Hill (USA) 4:36:27
10. Jessica Smith (USA) 4:36:32


1. Sam Appleton (AUS) 3:46:47
2. Joe Gambles (AUS) 3:50:32
3. Tim O’Donnell (USA) 3:54:19
4. Andy Potts (USA) 3:55:09
5. .Alex Libin (USA) 3:56:57
6. Derek Garcia (USA) 3:58:06
7. Jordan Rapp (USA) 3:58:15
8. Sean Jefferson (USA) 3:59:24
9. Jason Pedersen (USA) 3:59:53
10. Sam Long (USA) 4:01:32