Bart Aernouts of Belgium combined a back of the pack 29:27 swim, a second-best 1:59:47 bike split and a second-fastest 1:13:02 half marathon to finish in 3:47:42 with a 38 seconds margin over Matt Hanson of the U.S. and 1:18 advantage on third place Andreas Dreitz of Germany at Ironman 70.3 Florida.
Coming off a recent win at the South African National Championship, Emma Pallant of Great Britain combined a women’s second-best swim, second-best bike split and second-fastest half marathon to finish in 4:18:48 with a 4:17 advantage over Lesley Smith of the U.S. and 8:54 over third-place finisher Heather Jackson of the U.S.
Alexander Khalamanov led the swim in Lake Eva with a 26:29 split that was 23 seconds ahead of Jackson Laundry of Canada, 54 seconds ahead of Taylor Reid of Canada, 56 seconds ahead of Felipe Azevedo, 57 seconds of Ivan Raña, 59 seconds ahead of Andreas Dreitz of Germany, and 1:32 ahead of Matt Hanson of the U.S. Back in the shadows, 17th out of the water, was a man who would loom much larger by the end of the day – top five Kona finisher Bart Aernouts of Belgium.
After a stellar 1:59:47 bike split, Aernouts burst into the top ranks behind only Dreitz, whose excellent swim and 1:58:38 bike split kept Aernouts 2:56 at bay. But Matt Hanson, who superb run had potential to erase the 2-minute deficit to Aernouts, threatened to crash the party.
On his way to a second-best 1:13:02 half marathon, Aernouts swept into the lead midway through the run. The Belgian had no room to relax as Hanson was on his way to a dominating 1:10:38 run split that was quickly slicing big chunks of Aernouts’ lead. Ultimately, Hanson ran out of real estate and fell 38 seconds short of Aernouts’ victory parade. Dreitz, after an excellent swim and masterful bike split, fell 1:18 short of the winner on the heels of his 1:17:28 run that brought him a third-place finish.
Pallant never had to struggle with a major deficit as she posted a women’s best 28:34 swim, that gave her a 20 second lead on Mollie Hebda and Lesley Smith and 2 minutes on Heather Jackson. Jackson attacked on the bike, and her women’s-best 2:17:25 bike split was 29 seconds better than Pallant’s effort but still trailed Pallant at T2 by 90 seconds.
On the run, Lesley Smith’s women’s-best 1:24:13 half marathon –2:20 better than on Pallant’s run – sliced into Pallant’s advantage, but fell short of the top prize. Pallant finished in 4:18:48 with a 4:17 advantage on Smith and 8:54 on Jackson’s third place mark.
Ironman 70.3 Florida
Haines City, Florida
April 18, 2021
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mmi.
1. Bart Aernouts (BEL) S 29:27 T1 3:13 B 1:59:47 T2 2:15 R 1:13:02 TOT 3:47:42
2. Matthew Hanson (USA) S 27:52 T1 2:58 B 2:04:43 T2 2:11 R 1:10:38 TOT 3:48:20
3. Andreas Dreitz (GER) S 27:28 T1 3:11 B 1:58:38 T2 2:21 R 1:17:28 TOT 3:49:04
4. Jackson Laundry (CAN) S 26:52 T1 3:16 B 2:03:38 T2 2:19 R 1:15:17 TOT 3:51:20
5. Bradley Weiss (RSA) S 28:05 T1 3:12 B 2:02:47 T2 2:45 R 1:15:48 TOT 3:52:36
1. Emma Pallant (GBR) S 28:34 T1 3:12 B 2:17:54 T2 2:33 R 1:26:36 TOT 4:18:48
2. Lesley Smith (USA) S 28:57 T1 3:51 B 2:23:02 T2 3:03 R 1:24:13 TOT 4:23:05
3. Heather Jackson (USA) S 30:33 T1 3:25 B 2:17:26 T2 2:14 R 1:34:06 TOT 4:27:42
4. Mollie Hebda (USA) S 28:55 T1 3:45 B 2:23:03 T2 3:06 R 1:33:09 TOT 4:31:57
5. Simone Mitchell (GBR) S 30:30 T1 3:25 B 2:23:22 T2 3:04 R 1:32:58 TOT 4:33:17