Aussies rule at Kona

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii -- Chris McCormack came into Kona as a nearly forgotten former champion whose best days seemed to be behind him. Mirinda Carfrae stepped into the waters of Kailua Bay as the expected second place to the Chrissie Wellington Express on its way to a 4th straight win. But when the day was over the man called Macca and the woman called Rinny turned the tables on all expectations for two rousing victories for the Australians at the Ford Ironman World Championship.

The day began with a shocking announcement that the seemingly invincible Chrissie Wellington would miss the Ironman Hawaii start with a last minute illness. It ended with a smashing win by Mirinda Carfrae that erased any thoughts that her victory would be darkened with an asterisk as she broke the 9-hour barrier with an 8:58:36 time that was the fourth fastest women's effort in Kona history.

And along the way, Carfrae smashed her own women's marathon record with a sizzling 2:53:32 mark that vaulted the 29-year-old Australian past bike leader Julie Dibens (4:55:27 bike that put 4 minutes on Caroline Steffen and 9 minutes on Carfrae's 5:04:59) at the 13 mile mark of the run and left Carfrae with a 7:24 margin of victory over rising Swiss star Caroline Steffen, who held off Dibens by 4:04 for second place.

After that performance, Carfrae need offer no apologies to the Kona crowd as some kind of understudy to the headliner -- three-time champion Wellington, who had been eager to post a Paula Newby-Fraser record-tying fourth straight win.

Other stellar performers included the USA's Caitlin Snow's second-best 2:56:04 marathon on her way to an 8th place and Swiss cycling champion Karin Thuerig's 4:48:22 day's best bike leg to a 6th place women's finish.

McCormack began his day with a 51:36 swim, just 4 seconds slower than Alexander, 9 seconds slower than Raelert and one second faster than third place finisher Marino Vanhoenacker of Belgium -- and 47 seconds ahead of Chris Lieto.

Lieto then lit up the bike, clocking a 4:23:17 split that put 8 minutes on McCormack, 9 minutes on Raelert, 8 on Vanhoenacker and a whopping 16 minutes on Alexander. On the run McCormack took down Lieto at Mile 10 and was challenged from Mile 23 to Mile 24 -- an echo of Mark Allen and Dave Scott's epic 1989 Iron War duel decided at the very same mile marker - but never headed by Raelert.

The roster of fast men's marathons was a long one, headed by 9th place Pete Jacobs' 2:41:05 and followed by Alexander's 2:41:59, Macca's 2:43:31, Raelert's 2:44:25 and Vanhoenacker's 2:46:45.

Lieto, somewhat thrashed by his bike heroics, fell to 11th with a survival slog 3:06:00 marathon.

McCormack's win was singularly remarkable since his famous pre-race Muhammad Ali-style trash talk was totally absent this year.

Instead, the 37-year-old owner of the 1997 ITU short course World Championship and now two Ironman World Championships let his feet do the talking with the 5th fastest winning time and 7th fastest time overall in Ironman Hawaii history - 8:10:37.

Related KONA 2010 galleries
2010 IM Hawaii race gallery - part 2
2010 IM Hawaii race gallery - part 1
Kona 2010 - Friday / bike check-in
Kona 2010 - the slowtwitch gathering
Kona 2010 - the underpants run
Kona 2010 - a Wednesday gallery
Kona 2010 - a Tuesday afternoon gallery
Kona 2010 - a Tuesday morning gallery

Ironman World Championship
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
October 9, 2010
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.


1. Chris McCormack (AUS) 8:10:37
2. Andreas Raelert (GER) 8:12:17
3. Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 8:13:14
4. Craig Alexander (AUS) 8:16:53
5. Raynard Tissink (RSA) 8:20:11
6. Timo Bracht (GER) 8:21:00
7. Eneko Llanos (ESP) 8:22:02
8. Dirk Bockel (LUX) 8:22:59
9. Pete Jacobs (AUS) 8:23:26
10. Faris Al-Sultan (GER) 8:24:04

1. Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 8:58:36
2. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 9:06:00
3. Julie Dibens (GBR) 9:10:04
4. Virginia Berasategui (ESP) 9:16:47
5. Rachel Joyce (GBR) 9:18:48
6. Karin Thuerig (SUI) 9:22:48
7. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NLD) 9:23:33
8. Caitlin Snow (USA) 9:26:42
9. Heleen Bij De Vaate (NLD) 9:27:02
10. Leanda Cave (GBR) 9:27:42