Chris Lieto may just have honed his game sharp enough to throw fear into Craig Alexander when they meet at Kona again, if his performance at Kansas Ironman 70.3 is any indication. And Chrissie Wellington is back on her game enough to shut the door on hope for virtually any woman at any triathlon on the planet after the British tornado put a 16 minutes, 40 second hurt on the Kansas field.
Under a blazing blue Kansas sky, the 2009 Ironman Hawaii runner-up unleashed a 2:05:30 bike that turned Andy Potts’ 90-second advantage after the swim to a 4:19 deficit starting the run. Back in the old days before Lieto sculpted an excellent run on top of his killer bike, Potts’ sizzling 1:07:15 run would have left him with an easy victory. But the new, improved-with-age Lieto fired back with a 1:11:43 half marathon that gave the K-Swiss triathlete a race-record 3:44:07 finish and left him the better triathlete on the day by 24 seconds.
As a footnote for the future, the 21-year-old Andrew Yoder emerged from the water three seconds better than Lieto, stayed within 30 seconds of Lieto’s race-best bike and hung tough with a creditable 1:16:44 run to take third, 5 minutes 39 seconds back of the winner.
In the women’s contest, Chrissie Wellington had a decent 28:43 swim that gave away 3 minutes to Aussie Pip Taylor, roared into control with as 2:21:16 bike that was on a gender-adjusted par with the best men’s efforts. Then the 3-time Kona winner issued a frighteningly fast 1:15:12 run that may well be the fastest run by a woman ever at the 70.3 distance. And it put her 16 minutes 40 seconds ahead of runner-up Taylor and 18:11 up on third place Linsey Corbin.
While it is hard to compare the significance of times at different races in different places in different weather on courses with different standards of measurement albeit on the same day, Wellington’s run and overall performance seems to shut the door on an improving Carfrae. And it shows that Wellington has plenty of firepower to fight off any challenge from the current Ironman 70.3 record holder Julie Dibens even on the shorter distance.
K-Swiss Ironman 70.3 Kansas
June 6, 2010
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Chris Lieto (USA) 3:44:07
2. Andy Potts (USA) 3:44:31
3. Andrew Yoder (USA) 3:49:46
4. Courtney Ogden (AUS) 3:58:58
5. Stephen Hackett (AUS) 3:59:54
6. Brent Poulsen (USA) 4:00:23
7. Gavin Anderson (USA) 4:01:27 * M30-34
8. Tony White (USA) 4:01:29
9. Damon Barnett (USA) 4:04:19
10. Joe McDaniel (USA) 4:06:16
1. Chrissie Wellington (GBR) 4:07:49
2. Pip Taylor (AUS) 4:24:29
3. Linsey Corbin (USA) 4:25:58
4. Christine Anderson (USA) 4:32:45 * W25-29
5. Uli Bromme (USA) 4:38:10
6. Whitney Henderson (USA) 4:38:46 * W30-34
7. Natasha Van Der Merwe (RSA) 4:41:03 * W25-29
8. Heather Haviland (USA) 4:42:09
9. Jackie Arendt (USA) 4:44:18 * W25-29
10. Catherine Lee (USA) 4:45:22 * W35-39
* Age grouper
Images courtesy of Paul Phillips of competitiveimage.us