Ariane Monticeli of Brazil and Marino Vanhoenacker of Belgium won the $30,000 top prizes after tense duels at Ironman Brazil which also served as the Ironman Latin American Championship.
Monticeli fought back from an 11-minute deficit at T2 with a women's best 2:56:28 run to pass leaders Amanda Stevens and Elizabeth Lyles at the 35 kilometer mark of the marathon. After her bravura run, Monticeli finished in 8:59:08 with a 1:23 margin of victory on Lyles [3:03:04 run] and 2:19 on 3rd-place finisher Stevens [3:05:47 run].
Vanhoenacker carved out a 6-minute lead with a blazing fast 4:11:23 bike split, then survived Timothy O’Donnell’s 2nd-best 2:45:52 marathon. Vanhoenacker finished in 7:53:44 – the 5th fastest-ever men’s Ironman time and 11th-fastest Iron-distance finish in history – to edge O’Donnell by 1:12 and 3rd-place finisher Brent McMahon by 3:11. Igor Amorelli of Brazil just missed the podium, but rounded out the sub-8 hour performers with a 7:59:36 finish.
Dr. Amanda Stevens tasted victory at Ironman Brazil in 2013 and was hungry to repeat that feeling – this time with the added prestige of the Ironman Latin American Championship. This time around she swam a 2nd best 51:15, 1:40 behind Haley Chura of the U.S. and 1:32 ahead of Lucy Zelenkova of the Czech Republic, 1:36 on Laurel Wassner of the U.S., 6:34 on Elizabeth Lyles of the U.S., 8 minutes on Tine Deckers of Belgium and 9:03 on Ariane Monticeli of Brazil.
By 60km, Chura chugged away to a 5:05 lead on Wassner, 5:06 on Deckers, 5:08 on Stevens, 5:43 on Zelenkova, 7:04 on Lyles and even more on the dangerous runner, Monticeli.
By 130km, Chura maintained a slimming lead on Deckers (+2:29), Stevens (+3:36), Lundstrom (+4:33), Lyles (+5:00) while Monticeli, on her way to a very respectable 4:57:59 bike split, remained 10 minutes back.
After a 4:58:29 bike split, Chura retained a 1:09 lead on Deckers (women's 2nd-best 4:50:19 bike split), 1:15 on Asa Lundstrom of Sweden (women's-best 4:48:36 bike split), 1:17 on Stevens (4:57:32 bike split), and 10 minutes on Monticeli (4:57:59 bike split).
Things changed fast on the run as Lundstrom and Deckers stormed past Chura at 2.5k, leaving Chura 29 seconds back and Stevens 1:03 arrears. By 5km, Lundstrom led Deckers by 4 seconds Stevens by 48 seconds, Lyles by 2:03, Chura by 2:23 while Monticeli was steadily reducing her deficit.
After finishing the hills, Stevens took the lead at 9km, 4 seconds ahead of Deckers and 18 seconds ahead of Lundstrom.
By 16km, Stevens led Lyles by 1:14, Deckers by 1:37 , and 3:39 on Lundstrom. Finally coming into the picture, Monticeli ran 5th, 5:27 back.
At 32 km, the race for the lead was hot as Stevens remained out front, now just 45 seconds over Monticeli, 58 seconds on Lyles.
At 35 km, Monticeli took the lead, 10 seconds on Stevens, 53 seconds on Lyles and 4:43 ahead of Deckers.
At 37.5km, Monticeli grabbed control of the race, 39 seconds ahead of Stevens, 53 seconds on Lyles and 5:45 on Deckers.
By the finish, Monticeli’s 2:56:28 run decided the contest and brought the Brazilian to the finish in 8:59:08 with a 1:23 margin on Lyles and 2:19 on Stevens.
Australian Paul Matthews led the swim in 46:58, followed closely by Amorelli, McMahon and O’Donnell. Following 80 to 90 seconds later were Frank Silvestrin Souza of Brazil, Tyler Butterfield of Bermuda, Mike Aigroz of Switzerland, Per Bittner of Germany, Ivan Risti of Italy and Anton Blokhin of Ukraine.
After 25km of the bike leg, McMahon, Amorelli, O’Donnell and Matthews led Vanhoenacker and Butterfield by 1:45.
At 40km, McMahon led, followed by Amorelli (+2 seconds), Matthews (+10s), O’Donnell (+14s) then Butterfield (+1:56) and Vanhoenacker (+1:58).
By 134 km, Matthews dropped back while Vanhoenacker and Butterfield bridged the gap and joined O’Donnell, Amorelli and McMahon in the lead pack. In the next 21km, Vanhoenacker kept his foot on the gas and opened up a 2:45 lead on O’Donnell, McMahon, Butterfield and Amorelli. By the finish of the bike leg Vanhoenacker blasted home with a 4:11:22 split, earning 6:01 to 6:20 leads on McMahon, O’Donnell, Amorelli and Butterfield.
An hour into the run, Vanhoenacker’s lead was cut by three attackers – 3:43 on McMahon, 3:48 on O’Donnell, and 5:45 on Amorelli. By 19km, the lead was down to just over a minute on O’Donnell and McMahon, 5:45 on Amorelli. By 31km, O’Donnell cut Vanhoenacker’s lead to 36 seconds while McMahon dropped 2:02 back and Amorelli held steady at 5:58 arrears.
At that point, Vanhoenacker put up a wall that would not fall. By 37km, his lead was 1:18 on O’Donnell and 2:24 on McMahon and 8 minutes on Amorelli. By the finish, nothing changed for the four men who broke 8 hours.
Ironman Brazil / Latin American Championship
May 31, 2015
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 7:53:44
2. Timothy O’Donnell (USA) 7:55:56
3. Brent McMahon (CAN) 7:56:55
4. Igor Amorelli (BRA) 7:59:36
5. Tyler Butterfield (BER) 8:05:22
6. Matt Trautman (RSA) 8:06:29
7. Kyle Buckingham (RSA) 8:09:33
8. Mike Aigroz (SUI) 8:13:22
9. Guilherme Manocchio (BRA) 8:17:02
10. Frank Silvestrin Souza (BRA) 8:20:07
1. Ariane Monticeli (BRA) 8:59:08
2. Elizabeth Lyles (USA) 9:00:31
3. Amanda Stevens (USA) 9:01:27
4. Tine Deckers (BEL) 9:08:29
5. Laurel Wassner (USA) 9:09:47
6. Haley Chura (USA) 9:14:03
7. Mareen Hufe (GER) 9:14:50
8. Karen Thibodeau (CAN) 9:15:08
9. Asa Lundstrom (SWE) 9:23:35
10. Ana Boba (Brazil) 9:42:27