Filipe Azevedo of Portugal eked out a 33 seconds margin of victory over 47-year-old legend Cameron Brown of New Zealand and Kelsey Withrow of the U.S. outran Frankie Sanjana of Great Britain by 47 seconds in fierce duels at Ironman 70.3 Shanghai.
Azevedo outswam Brown by 1:16, while Brown out biked Azevedo by 1:40. By virtue of 35 seconds swifter transitions, the Portuguese up and comer started the run with an 11 seconds advantage over the 12-time Ironman New Zealand champion who is 3 years shy of 50.
Both men - plus nine other contenders jammed closely in a chase pack that also included Brit Tim Don, Nicholas Chase of the U.S., Paul Schuster of Germany and 2012 Ironman World champion Pete Jacobs of Australia - had hard work ahead.
The crowded chase pack left T2 2:35 behind race leader and Australian up-and-comer Leigh Anderson-Voight who jetted out front courtesy of a race-best 2:00:33 bike split.
Anderson-Voight slowly surrendered his lead as Azevedo whittled his deficit to 1:21, Cam Brown sliced his gap to 1:20 and Don trailed by 2:30 at the halfway point of the run leg.
By the 13 kilometer mark, Anderson-Voight maintained a 40 seconds lead on Azevedo. But Brown, at age 47 with a 2:40 marathon PB and 3 Kona podiums on his résumé, was actually running at the fastest pace and had closed to within 55 seconds.
So who was this little known dark horse tackling a legend and a veteran?
Anderson-Voight enjoyed 35-39 age group wins in Sunshine Coast events, but his best prior performance since turning pro was 6th. Azevedo earned four podiums in the past two years but no wins. And Brown’s last podium was 2nd at Subic Bay 70.3 in 2018 and his last win was at Taiwan in 2014 when he was 42.
At the 17km mark, Azevedo took the lead, followed 17 seconds later by Brown as the two men ran at the same pace. Faltering a bit after his brave start, Anderson-Voight hung stubbornly to 3rd place, 10 seconds behind Brown.
Finally, after a race-best 1:14:03 half marathon, Azevedo crossed the line in 3:47:03 with a 33 seconds margin of victory over Brown, who ran 1:14:26. Anderson-Voight ran 1:18:36 to take 3rd place, 45 seconds after Brown.
Withrow led the women's swim with a 25:51 split that gave her a 3 seconds lead on Laurel Wassner, 7 seconds on Laura Dennis, 12 seconds on Rebeccah Wassner and 19 seconds on Kinsey Laine of the U.S. Lagging further back were Frankie Sanjana of Great Britain (+4:31) and Sarah Bishop of the U.S. (+5:55).
After 60km of the bike leg, Laura Wood of New Zealand led a lead pack that included Kinsey Laine, Rebeccah Wassner, Withrow and Australian Laura Dennis. Forming a chase group were Sanjana (+1:37), Laurel Wassner (+5:47) and Sarah Bishop (+7:09).
After a women’s-best 2:15:37 bike split, Sanjana and Laura Dennis led Withrow by 7 seconds, Laine by 22 seconds, and Rebeccah Wassner by 47 seconds, with Laura Wood, Laurel Wassner and Sarah Bishop between 6 to 9 minutes arrears.
After 7km of the run, Withrow surged into a 50 seconds lead on Sanjana, 1:17 on Rebeccah Wassner, 2:39 on Laura Dennis and 4 minutes on Kinsey Laine.
After a women’s-fastest 1:26:15 half marathon, Withrow finished in 4:16:52 with a 47 seconds margin of victory over Sanjana, who ran 1:27:08. Rebeccah Wassner, who ran 1:29:34, took 3rd place, 4:01 behind Withrow.
After the race, Withrow wrote an ecstatic post on Facebook. "Oh my gosh! I can’t believe this happened! After 2 terrible races I finally had a good one???? Fastest swim and run today at Ironman 70.3 Shanghai."
Ironman 70.3 Shanghai
October 20, 2019
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Filipe Azevedo (PRT) 3:47:03 S 23:14 T1 2:27 B 2:05:42 T2 1:39 R 1:14:03
2. Cameron Brown (NZL) 3:47:36 S 24:30 T1 2:53 B 2:04:02 T2 1:48 R 1:14:26
3. Leigh Anderson-Voigt (AUS) 3:48:21 S 24:44 T1 2:45 B 2:00:33 T2 1:44 R 1:18:36
4. Paul Schuster (GER) 3:48:53 S 24:04 T1 2:23 B 2:05:02 T2 1:41 R 1:15:45
5. Tim Don (GBR) 3:51:47 S 24:05 T1 2:15 B 2:05:06 T2 1:33 R 1:18:50
1. Kelsey Withrow (USA) 4:16:52 S 25:51 T1 2:46 B 2:20:12 T2 1:50 R 1:26:15
2. Frankie Sanjana (GBR) 4:17:39 S 30:13 T1 2:55 B 2:15:37 T2 1:47 R 1:27:08
3. Rebeccah Wassner (USA) 4:20:53 S 26:03 T1 2:34 B 2:20:48 T2 1:55 R 1:29:34
4. Kinsey Laine (USA) 4:22:57 S 26:10 T1 2:35 B 2:20:13 T2 1:55 R 1:32:05
5. Sarah Bishop (USA) 4:26:44 S 30:43 T1 3:44 B 2:23:02 T2 2:27 R 1:26:49