Ribeiro, Monforte win Ultraman
Written by: Timothy Carlson
Date: Sun Nov 25 2012
Ribeiro, a sleek greyhound of a triathlete who makes age 47 seem like the Fountain of Youth, dominated all three days of the 10 kilometer swim, 261.4-miles of bike legs and a 52.4 mile run which comprises a triathletic circumnavigation of the Big Island of Hawaii in a total of 22 hours 51 minutes and 12 seconds.
Like many a six-time world champion, Ribeiro made it look easy as he won every stage and stretched his lead to 48 minutes over Kregar to start the final day's double marathon. While Kregar outran him by a few minutes on Day 3 last year, Ribeiro should have had little to worry him. "On the run, I say to Miro, 'Please let's keep the run tranquil. Don't push hard!' Miro says, 'OK Alexandre.' After that, it's OK. I enjoy the marathon."
Indeed he did as Ribeiro hit the first marathon in 3:05 and cruised to the finish adding 10:17 to his lead over Kregar.
Ribeiro left Kregar just after Kawaihae at the 30 kilometer mark, asking the Slovenian: "Join me?'" Kregar declined. "I didnít see any sense," said Kregar. "I went slower because I didnít need to suffer."
Ribeiro started Day 3 with a 48:28 lead over Kregar, then outran his Slovenian friend and rival 6:45:24 to 6:58:41 to seal his victory. In addition to taking his third Ultraman World Championship runner-up placing, Kregar smashed the previous Ultraman men's 50-59 record time by three hours.
Afterwards, Ribeiro said he had no regrets about finishing one hour slower than his personal best. "This race was for the championship," he said after matching Shanna Armstrong's record of six women's Ultraman wins. "Not the time. It did not matter if I finish 21:50 - my best time - or one hour later. It's not important. The weather and water conditions determine the times."
Ribeiro led Day 1 swim and bike, the Day 2 bike and finished off the Day 3 double marathon with a race-best 6:45:24 split which gave him a 1 hour, 1 minute and 45 seconds margin over runner-up Miro Kregar of Slovenia and a 3 hours, 5 minutes and 17 seconds margin over men's third-place Tony O'Keefe of Canada. O'Keefe, a 51-year-old Canadian Armed Forces officer, finished a miracle comeback from severe 2011 injuries with an 8:25:17 double marathon.
O'Keefe was riding his bike near Colorado Springs in Fall of 2011 when a car hit him head on and he was launched through the car's windshield. After he was extracted, carbon fiber pieces of his brake lever were embedded in his femur, and he required reconstructive surgery on his face and multiple ligament damage in his leg which had to be replaced by cadaver parts. O'Keefe, the 2008 Ultraman runner-up in a personal record time of 22:31:54, resumed swimming and biking much earlier, but could not resume running until two months ago. Many thought O'Keefe's participation would be honorary after the swim and the bike as the stress of a 52-4 mile double marathon would be too much to bear.
"When I arrived back on the Big Island I looked around and thought: I didnít come all this way to DNF," said O'Keefe. "I knew I wanted to compete, so I went as hard as I could and I told myself If I have to walk, I'm going to walk. I'm OK with it."
O'Keefe did far, far better than that, and he takes ;pains to explain that he has nothing to complain about. "I serve with the best men in the military and many of them come back from Afghanistan and Iraq with truly devastating injuries. Whatever pain is out there in Ultraman is just a reminder that I am one of the luckiest guys in the world because I can still do challenging things."
O'Keefe started Day 1 with the 2nd-fastest 3:10:42 swim against tough currents, then biked 6:15:03 to stand 8th in 9:25:45 on total time. On Day 2 he rode the 4th fastest 8:05:47 split to stand 3rd male and 4th overall in 17:31:12. On Day 3 his 8th-fastest 8:25:17 run brought him home 4th overall and 3rd male in 25:56:29. "What Tony did today was fantastic.," said Ribeiro. "To survive that accident and then come race with the best in the world at age 51 makes him a very special guy."
Monforte played it cool at the start on Sunday, letting her two closest pursuers chase glory. "I looked at my watch and saw I was running 8 minute miles and they were just pulling away," said Monforte. "I can't run that. After I did the Western States 100 in June, I took time off before I got married and I just didnít have enough running miles in my legs. "
On the Day 3 double marathon, Miyazaki ran with Winkler and ahead of Monforte for the first 15 miles, then blazed ahead to the 2nd-best-ever women's double marathon split of 7:32:13 which bested Winkler's run by 34:09 and Monforte's 3rd-best 8:12:06 run by 39:54 and trailed only Ann Heaslett's 2008 Ultraman women's race record run, which was 20 minutes faster.
But Monforte kept a close eye on Winkler. " I know I was running a comfortable hard pace," she said. "I wanted to keep it up because you know anything could happen in a 52 mile run. I wanted to keep Kathy her in sight because she is a really strong runner. You never know what she might pull out of the hat."
Midway through the run, Monforte held steady just 80 meters back of her rival and only let that margin increase the last few miles. While Winkler seemed to be cruising, the 46-year-old kindergarten teacher in Tiburon, California had more problems than she let on. "I really felt kind of lousy and I was having some stomach issues," said Winkler. "I was peeing blood from Mile 15 on, so I knew it was important to drink. It happened to me last time I raced here and doctors thought my bladder had collapsed and was rubbing on itself when I ran low on water."
The solution was to drink every few minutes. "The drink fills it up so the sides donít collapse," she explained, which was irritating at the least during such a tough run. "It is hard to stop every few minutes. Not only to drink but to constantly pull over to go to the bathroom. The miles went by very slowly. I thought I was going to walk a lot. But I never did. I was very grateful to have the luck to run all the way."
At the finish, Monforte's three-day total of 25:29:09 was well over an hour slower than her record-setting time but was 28:27 better than Winkler's runner-up effort and 52:29 better than Miyazaki's 3rd-place race. Still, Miyazaki's spectacular run had to take second place to the thrill she got when her boyfriend and 30-mile Ultraman pace runner Atsushi Ohkawa knelt down at the finish line, presented her with a ring and asked for her hand in marriage.
"It was mentioned that maybe he would be proposing one day," said Miyazaki, who works as an athletic shoe salesperson when she is not racing XTERRA and Ultraman, "But I never expected that at the finish. It was exciting!"
When Miyazaki said yes, the happy couple were greeted by a great round of cheers.
Ultraman World Championship
The Big Island of Hawaii
November 23-25, 2012
Day One Swim 10k / Bike 90 mi. Day Two Bike 171.4 mi. / Day Three Run 52.4 mi.
1. Alexandre Ribeiro, 47, (BRA) Day 1 swim and bike -- 8:28:53 Day 2 bike - 7:36:55 Day 3 run - 6:45:24 TOT 22:51:12
2. Miro Kregar, 50, (SLO) Day 1 swim and bike - 9:03:07 Day 2 bike - 7:51:09 Day 3 run - 6:56:41 TOT 23:52:57
3. Tony O'Keefe, 51, (CAN) Day 1 swim and bike - 9:25:45 Day 2 bike - 8:05:27 Day 3 run - 8:25:27 TOT 25:56:29
4. Peter Mueller, 50, (SUI) Day 1 swim and bike - 9:16:27 Day 2 bike - 8:47:14 Day 3 run - 8:18:07 TOT 26:21:48
5 Gary Wang, 44, (USA) Day 1 swim and bike - 10:11:51 Day 2 bike - 8:08:28 Day 3 run - 8:15:11 TOT 26:35:30
6. Chris Draper, 35, (USA) Day 1 swim and bike - 10:24:26 Day 2 bike - 8:40:19 Day 3 run - 7:40:23 TOT 26:45:08
7. Mark Ford, 50, (USA) Day 1 swim and bike - 9:33:40 Day 2 bike - 8:45:59 Day 3 run - 8:43:47 TOT 27:04:46
8. Juan Craveri, 44, (ARG) Day 1 swim and bike - 10:38:38 Day 2 bike - 9:38:15 Day 3 run - 7:38:21 TOT Bike 27:55:09
9. Adam Peruta, 34 (USA) Day 1 swim and bike - 10:29:03 Day 2 bike - 9:17:25 Day 3 run - 8:20:44 TOT 28:07:12
10. Robert Parseghian, 42 (BRA) Day 1 swim and bike - 10:21:32 Day 2 bike - 9:24:39 Day 3 run - 8:44:58 TOT 28:31:10
1. Amber Monforte, 34, (USA) Day 1 swim and bike 9:07:36 Day 2 bike - 8:09:27 Day 3 run - 8:12:06 TOT 25:>29:09
2. Kathy Winkler, 46, (USA) Day 1 swim and bike - 9:04:23 Day 2 bike - 8:47:12 Day 3 run - 8:06:21 TOT 25:57:56
3. Yasuko Miyazaki, 35, (JPN) Day 1 swim and bike - 9:29:27 Day 2 bike - 9:17:49 Day 3 run - 7:32:12 TOT 26:21:28
4. Tracey McQuair, 37, (CAN) Day 1 swim and bike - 9:58:49 Day 2 bike - 9:03:45 Day 3 run - 9:14:57 TOT 28:18:31
5. Joni Moore, 46, (USA) Day 1 swim and bike - 10:38:29 Day 2 bike - 9:00:41 Day 3 run - 9:04:54 TOT 28:44:04
6. Kat Calder-Becker, 48 (CAN) Day 1 swim and bike - 11:05:32 Day 2 bike - 10:04:04 Day 3 run - 9:50:52 TOT 31:01:08
7. Ingrid Hillhouse, 39, (USA) Day 1 swim and bike - 11:59:58 Day 2 bike - 9:43:20 Day 3 run - 9:48:38 TOT 31:31:56
The annual three-day triathletic circumnavigation of the Big Island of Hawaii on the weekend after Thanksgiving begins with a 10 kilometer swim followed by a 90-mile bike. Photo Gallery by Timothy Carlson 11.26.12
The second day of the Ultraman World Championships means endless hours in the saddle, but in a very stunning surrounding. Images by Timothy Carlson. 11.28.12
After 10 kilometers of swimming and 261.4 miles of biking with 16,200 feet of climbing, the Ultraman competitors settle the matter with a double marathon from Hawi to Kailua-Kona. Photo gallery by Timothy Carlson 11.30.12
Five-time champion Alexandre Ribeiro of Brazil took charge of the Ultraman men's race, earning a second-day 48:28 lead; two-time champion Amber Monforte took a 34:32 lead with a race-best bike leg. 11.24.12
Difficult swim currents and rain on the bike make Ultraman Day One slowest in years; 5-time champion Alexandre Ribeiro leads Nino Cokan by 24 minutes and Kathy Winkler leads Amber Monforte by 3 minutes 11.23.12
When Jonas Colting dropped out with a leg injury, Alexandre Ribeiro outpaced Michael Coughlin on the Day 3 double marathon for his 5th Ultraman title; defending women's champ Amber Monforte won her second title wire-to-wire by a wide margin 11.27.11
Mike LeRoux of Australia takes the double marathon in 6:31:45, leapfrogs past an ailing Jonas Colting for the win; Amber Monforte leads three other women who all smashed Tina Bischoff's 21-year-old Ultraman Hawaii race record. 11.28.10