Javier Gomez and Daniela Ryf both won the season opening Ironman 70.3 Dubai and the late summer Ironman 70.3 World Championship titles. That gave them the opportunity to win $1 million for the Sheik Nasser Hamad Al Khalifa Triple Crown if they could win the final jewel at the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship at Bahrain Saturday.
But maintaining top form throughout a 10 month season proved to be too tough. And so in 2017 the third time was not the charm.
Understandably after her Ironman 70.3 and Ironman World Championship victories, Daniela Ryf ran out of gas on the run in Bahrain. So Holly Lawrence of Great Britain gained redemption after her disappointing DNF at Chattanooga took home the $14,000 top prize. ITU veteran Olympic distance star Anne Haug of Germany closed fast with a women's-best 1:17:27 run to edge past Ryf and take the $7,000 second place prize. Unlike her $1 million payday two years ago when she swept all three of the Triple Crown races, Ryf had to be satisfied with a $4,500 third place award.
Javier Gomez arrived at Bahrain with five ITU Olympic distance World Championships, two Ironman 70.3 World titles and one XTERRA World Championship hoping to add a $1 million payday to his already glittering race resume. Gomez got a front pack 21:52 swim start, but the Spaniard ran out of juice even earlier, falling 8:05 behind Kiwi Terenzo Bozzone'srace-best 1:58:00 bike split and 5:04 behind Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt's 2:00:59 effort. By that point, Gomez was out of fuel and out of hope and his survival slog (for his high standards) 1:17:18 run left him in 4th place, his $3,000 check, $997,000 short of the Triple Crown payday he was seeking.
After his killer bike split, Bozzone had a 3 minute lead on Blummenfelt and a run track record where he could conceivably hold off the 2017 World Triathlon Series silver medalist. But Bozzon's explosive redline effort left him short of the leg speed he needed.
On his way to a 1:17:07 run, the New Zealander saw the Norwegian zoom past with two kilometers to go. Blummenfelt finished with a race-best 1:13:34 half marathon which brought him to the line in 3:40:24 with a 39 seconds margin over Bozzone, 6:50 over 2004 Olympic bronze medalist and today's 3rd place finisher Sven Riederer of Switzerland.
Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship
November 25, 2017
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Holly Lawrence (GBR) 4:02:33 S 24:14 B 2:12:25 R 1:23:05 - $14,000
2. Anne Haug (GER) 4:02:43 S 25:29 B 2:16:06 R 1:17:27 - $7,000
3. Daniela Ryf (SUI) 4:06:13 S 24:24 B 2:10:07 R 1:28:20 - $4,500
4. Emma Pallant (GBR) 4:07:07 S 26:21 B 2:15:49 R 1:22:00 - $3,000
5. Angela Naeth (CAN) 4:10:41 S 28:05 B 2:13:13 R 1:25:32 - $2,500
1. Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) 3:40:24 S 23:07 B 2:00:59 R 1:13:34 - $14,000
2. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:41:02 S 23:11 B 1:58:00 R 1:17:07 - $7,000
3. Sven Riederer (SUI) 3:47:14 S 23:18 B 2:05:54 R 1:15:01 - $4,500
4. Javier Gomez (ESP) 3:48:25 S 21:52 B 2:06:05 R 1:17:18 - $3,000
5. Matt Trautman (RSA) 3:49:19 S 23:26 B 2:06:36 R 1:16:00 - $2,500