O'Donnell and Morrison on top in St. Croix

Timothy O'Donnell beat a stellar field of athletes at the 2009 Ironman 70.3 St. Croix International Triathlon. In the women's race, Catriona Morrison chased down long time leader Mirinda Carfrae late in the race to capture that event.

Tim O'Donnell had been the runner-up twice in 2008, first at Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs and then at the 5430 Long Course Triathlon in Colorado. Both times, victory had been taken away from him at the end of the race. But this time O'Donnell was not going to have history repeat itself.

O'Donnell exited the swim in good position behind Dirk, Bockel and Stuart Hayes and settled into a steady pace to stay near the front of the bike segment. Fastest bike split among the men went to Brazil's Igor Amorelli in a time of 2:20:25.

O'Donnell started the run in 5th position and slowly clawed his way to the front. A perfect role reversal from previous events, and the hunted had now become the hunter. O'Donnell captured and passed them one by one, but the current leader Amorelli was somewhat elusive. O'Donnell did not catch him until the 10 mile mark of the run and Amorelli did not go away easy. In the end O'Donnell crossed the line first in a new course record time of 4:02:36. Amorelli crossed the line 62 seconds later in second place and Richie Cunningham rounded out the podium in 4:05:45.

When asked about his pirate look during the run, O'Donnell said "Arrrrrrhhh. I must have been in the zone, I had NO CLUE I dropped a lens!

In the women's race many eyes were on Joanna Zeiger and Mirinda Carfrae, the 70.3 World Champions of 2008 and 2007. But Zeiger dropped out of the race during the bike with handlebar problems, and Carfrae took charge of the race with the fastest bike split among the women.

When she entered T2, Carfrae had a lead of just under 3 minutes on Catriona Morrison and the fleet footed Aussie quickly moved out onto the run. But Morrison ran even faster and slowly reeled in Carfrae. With a few miles to go Morrison passed Carfrae and ran to a very important victory in a time of 4:32:38. Carfrae grabbed the runner-up spot in a time of 4:35:21 and the fastest run of the day (1:23:07) put Caitlyn Snow into third place in a time of 4:40:44.

"The race came together exactly as I had planned - I swam in the second pack, stayed within my wattage limits on the bike and it all paid off on the run. I've raced once before in St Croix and had a really hard time on the run course. This time with a little more thought into nutrition, bike pacing and acclimatisation I had a far more comfortable time and really felt strong, especially onto the second lap," said a very happy Morrison after the event.

Ironman 70.3 St. Coix International Triathlon
St. Croix, US Virgin Islands / May 3

Top 10 men

1. Tim O’Donnell (USA) 4:02:36
2. Igor Amorelli (BRA) 4:03:38
3. Richie Cunningham (AUS) 4:05:45
4. Dirk Bockel (LUX) 4:07:07
5. Bryan Rhodes (NZL) 4:08:20
6. Stuart Hayes (GBR) 4:11:11
7. Alessandro Degaspari (ITA) 4:13:38
8. Michael Lovato (USA) 4:14:07
9. Wolfgang Guembel (CAN) 4:16:34
10. Ted As (SWE) 4:19:39

Top 10 women

1. Catriona Morrison (GBR) 4:32:38
2. Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 4:35:21
3. Caitlyn Snow (USA) 4:40:44
4. Nina Kraft (GER) 4:41:08
5. Lisa Bentley (CAN) 4:41:48
6. Amanda Lovato (USA) 4:45:12
7. Bree Wee (USA) 4:46:24
8. Joanna Lawn (NZL) 4:49:18
9. Abi Bailey (GBR) 4:50:16
10. Ayesha Rollinson (CAN) 4:57:52

An image gallery of the event can be found here.