Greg and Laura Bennett, who together made nearly a million dollars in prize money racing short course in 2007, ventured into triathlon^s middle distance Sunday and took the men's and women's titles at the Ironman 70.3 Augusta.
Looking for something a little different after battling injuries for much of 2009, the Bennetts both looked masterful in a triathlon conducted in the shadow of Augusta's famed Masters golf course.
Greg combined a seventh-best 20:23 swim in the Savannah River, a third-best 2:09:49 bike that wandered across the state line into the South Carolina countryside, and wrapped up an 80-second margin of victory over fellow Aussie Chris Legh with a second-best 1:14:31 half marathon to break the tape in 3:47:07.
The win marked completed to a 7 weeks recovery from serious injuries suffered when a car ran into him after a training ride at home in Boulder, Colorado. Bennett had just come off a third place in the first Life Time Fitness series third place at Minneapolis and a win at New York City.
Bennett's win in Augusta qualified the 2004 fourth place Olympian and three-time Life Time Fitness Series champion for the 2009 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater and his time marked him as a contender for the crown worn previously by Craig Alexander, Andy Potts and Terenzo Bozzone.
Laura Bennett, also in a long recovery process from leg woes, won a hard fought battle with Kelly Williamson by just six seconds, finishing in a swift 4:18:36.
Bennett, a three-time ITU World Championship medalist and 4th place finisher at the 2008 Olympics, emerged from the water with a second-best 21:24 swim, 23 seconds behind Aussie Pip Taylor and 19 seconds ahead of Williamson. Bennett^s seventh-best 2:31:12 bike left her third into T2 behind Magali Tisseyre of Canada and Tama Kozulina of the Ukraine, but 41 crucial seconds up on Williamson. Williamson's second-best 1:22:46 run took back 32 seconds from Bennett, but even with Williamson's slightly faster transitions thrown in, Bennett was six seconds to the good at the line.
With no conflicting races in the way, Laura Bennett also qualified for Clearwater and should be a major threat for the win as well.
Ironman 70.3 Augusta
September 27, 2009
S 1.2 mi./ B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Greg Bennett (AUS) 3:47:07
2. Chris Legh (AUS) 3:49:27
3. Brian Fleischmann (USA) 3:50:44
4. Viktor Zyemtsev (UKR) 3:51:51
5. Maxim Kriat (USA) 3:53:06
6. Paul Ambrose (AUS) 3:55:32
7. Kevin Collington (USA) 3:55:48
8. Richard Allen (GBR) 3:56:26
9. Nick Waninger (USA ) 3:56:33
10. Bjorn Andersson (SWE) 3:57:52
1. Laura Bennett (USA) 4:18:36
2. Kelly Williamson (USA) 4:18:42
3. Desiree Ficker (USA) 4:20:47
4. Tamara Kozulina (UKR) 4:22:36
5. Magali Tisseyre (CAN) 4:23:18
6. Sara Gross (CAN) 4:26:33
7. Kelly Jarrett (USA) 4:27:27
8. Pip Taylor (AUS) 4:28:23
9. Christine Fletcher (CAN) 4:31:47
10. Stacy Richardson (USA) 4:32:18