Two Britons - three-time ITU Duathlon World champion Paul Amey and two-time Ironman distance winner Rachel Joyce – won Ironman Texas today by very different margins.
Amey fought hard to come back from a 4:37 deficit to eventual runner-up James Cunnama of South Africa after the swim. Amey then posted a race-best 4:29:07 bike split and a race-fastest 2:56:18 marathon in south Texas heat to earn his first Ironman title by a 2 minutes, 19 seconds margin over Cunnama. Ian Mikelson of the United States finished 3rd, precisely 5 minutes back of Amey. Last year’s runner-up Justin Daerr was 4th, 5:29 back of the winner.
Team TBB newcomer Brett Carter of Australia led the swim with a 49:13 clocking, followed by Andres Castillo Latorre of Colombia (49:14), Joe Umphenour of the U.S. (49:15), Bryan Rhodes of New Zealand (49:18), Balazs Csoke of Hungary (49:21), Holden Comeau of the U.S. (49:27), Mathias Hecht of Switzerland (49:27), Jan Raphael of Germany (50:17), Dominik Berger of Austria (50:17), and James Cunnama of South Africa (50:17).
Amey struck back with a race-best 4:29:07 bike split which advanced him from 10th to 7th, 2:54 back of race leader Mathias Hecht, whose swim and 4:30:16 bike split brought him to the end of T2 in 5:25:54. After a 4:32:55 bike split, Cunnama left T2 in 2nd place, 1:16 back of Hecht, with Mikelson 3rd, another 57 seconds back. Justin Daerr, the 2012 Ironman Texas runner-up, was another 24 seconds back in 4th.
On a sizzling south Texas day, Amey was the only man able to break 3 hours on the marathon and it gave him the victory. Amey’s race-best 2:56:18 split was 4:07 better than runner-up Cunnama, 5:41 better than 3rd-place Mikelson and 5:44 better than 4th place Daerr.
Hecht faded out of the top 20 on the run and has not yet been credited with a finish.
Joyce, who had two Ironman distance wins to her credit coming into this contest, broke Mary Beth Ellis’s year old course record with a swift 8:49:14 clocking that gave her a 36 minutes and 21 seconds winning margin ahead of runner-up Jennie Hansen of the U.S. Kimberly Schwabenbauer of the United States finished 3rd, 43:47 back of Joyce.
Joyce has always been a fast long course competitor, as she posted an 8:45:05 time to win Challenge Roth in 2011 and an 8:46:09 to place second at Ironman Melbourne last year.
Joyce led Ironman Texas wire-to-wire, starting her day with a race-best 54:02 swim which was 4 seconds ahead of Amy Marsh, 30 seconds better than Ashley Clifford and well ahead of eventual runner-up Jennie Hansen and 3rd place finisher Kimberly Schwabenbauer.
Joyce then unleashed a world-class 4:42:29 bike split which gave her a 6:28 lead on Amy Marsh, who fought back bravely with an excellent 2nd-best 4:48:56 bike split. The rest of the women’s field was left in their dust, with Japanese pro Keiko Tanaka 19 minutes in arrears and Christine Anderson 30 minutes back starting the run.
Joyce sealed the win with a race-best 3:07:27 marathon that brought her to the finish in 8:49:14. Marsh, apparently overcooked after her stellar bike, fading to 6th with a survival slog 4:07:05 run. Jennie Hansen overcame her 1:07:22 swim with a 3rd-best 5:01:06 bike split and 4th-best 3:10:51 run to take 2nd in 9:25:35. Kimberly Schwabenbauer surged back from her 1:04:16 swim with a 4th-best 5:03:42 bike split and a 4th-best 3:19:15 run to grab the final spot on the podium, 7:26 back of Hansen.
The Woodlands, Texas
May 18, 2013
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Paul Amey (GBR) 8:25:06
2. James Cunnama (RSA) 8:27:35
3. Ian Mikelson (USA) 8:30:06
4. Justin Daerr (USA) 8:30:35
5. Swen Sundberg (GER) 8:37:30
6. Jan Raphael (GER) 8:42:34
7. Balazs Csoke (HUN) 8:44:01
8. AJ Baucco (USA) 8:53:37
9. James Chesson (USA) 8:53:44 *M30-34
10. Mike Schifferle (SUI) 8:56:06
1. Rachel Joyce (GBR) 8:49:14
2. Jennie Hansen (USA) 9:25:35
3. Kimberly Schwabenbauer (USA) 9:33:01
4. Ashley Clifford (USA) 9:36:51
5. Christine Anderson (USA) 9:44:51
6. Amy Marsh (USA) 9:55:49
7. April Gellatly (USA) 10:01:54
8. Sarah Hankla (USA) 10:04:41
9. Oleysa Prystayko (UKR) 10:08:49
10. Emily Kratz (USA) 10:18:34 * F35-39