Ronnie Schildknecht added another Ironman title to his resume with a convincing win in Panama City Beach in 7:59:42. He destroyed the old course record and recorded the fastest Ironman time on North American soil. Jessica Jacobs went sub-9 to take the women's title and repeated as the Ironman Florida champion.
John Flanagan led the men out of the water, 416 ahead of James Bonney and 5:26 ahead of Craig Evans and Wolfgang Guembel, three guys with quite a bit of swimming pedigree. Ronnie Schildknecht was next, 6:05 after the speedy Flanagan.
Frank Vytrisal also had a slower swim, but he managed to pull himself towards the front of the race during the bike segment. 30 miles into the race Flanagan was caught and it was now James Bonney, Ronnie Scildknecht and said Vytrisal who were at the head of the affair. Several attempts were made by these three individuals to gain an advantage but after 112 miles on the bike they reached the bike-run transition in close proximity with Schildknecht arriving first.
From there the fast Swiss pro uncorked a 2:43:47 marathon to take the win in Panama City Beach and smash the old course record. His final time of 7:59:42 would in fact be the fastest Ironman time recorded on North American soil, and further proof that Schildknecht can win outside of Switzerland. Maxim Kriat finished second and Justin Daerr closed out his day with a great run and finished third.
"We pushed flat out on the bike early on," said Schildknecht to Ironman media. "The last 30 km I got really tired. Then I came off the bike I got comfortable and got into a rhythm."
Bree Wee was first out of the water for the women, and she was pursued by Heidi Jesberger and Sofie Goos who had lost just under 2 minutes to the fast Hawaiian.
Goos, who had won this race in 2009, soon moved into the lead on the bike. Bree Wee though took the lead back and managed to reach T2 first. But a fast riding Jessica Jacobs had now moved herself into second position with Goos hanging on to third.
Jacobs though was well faster on the run than any of her nearby competitors and managed a fantastic 2:53:26 marathon to win the title again and go sub-9 hours. Mackenzie Madison ran all the way into second position, and Goos overcame back issues to take the final podium spot.
Panama City Beach, Florida, November 5, 2011
2.4m swim / 112m bike / 26.2m run
1. Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) 7:59:42
2. Maxim Kriat (UKR) 8:10:43
3. Justin Daerr (USA) 8:18:02
4. Mads Vittrup (DEN) 8:21:31
5. Frank Vytrisal (GER) 8:21:48
6. Eduardo Sturla (ARG) 8:23:08
7. Christopher Bastie (FRA) 8:24:32
8. Scott Defillipi (USA) 8:27:13
9. James Bonney (USA) 8:29:56
10. Felix Schumann (GER) 8:35:8
1. Jessica Jacobs (USA) 8:55:10
2. Mackenzie Madison (USA) 9:10:21
3. Sofie Goos (BEL) 9:22:21
4. Kim Loeffler (USA) 9:29:07
5. Stephanie Jones (USA) 9:33:45
6. Bree Wee (USA) 9:34:41
7. Heidi Jesberger (GER) 9:37:08
8. Eimar Mullen (GBR) 9:41:58
9. Rachel Wigton *AG
10. Licia Oliveira * AG