Carrie Lester, James Cunnama win IM France

Carrie Lester of Australia and James Cunnama of South Africa conquered 100 Fahrenheit temperatures and the challenging, mountainous bike course to win the weather-shortened Ironman France.

Lester won wire-to-wire, combining a dominant 53:36 swim, a women’s just second-fastest 4:41:12 for the 152km bike split, and a women’s 2nd-fastest 2:22:08 split for the 30 kilometer run to finish in 8:05:20 with a 3:58 margin of victory over Tine Deckers of Belgium and 8:41 over 3rd place finisher Manon Genet of France.

Lester finished second at this race and at Ironman Arizona in 2018, and finished 3rd at Oceanside 70.3 earlier this year.

Cunnama overcame an 8:57 deficit after the bike leg with a pass on long time race leader Frederik Van Lierde at the 11 kilometer mark of the run. Cunnama ran a second-fastest 2:04:30 split for the 30 kilometer run to finish in 7:16:16 with a 6:27 margin of victory over Kevin Rundstadler of Germany and 10:53 over 5-time Nice winner and 3rd place finisher Frederik Van Lierde of Belgium.

Cunnama added this win to recent best performances of 3rd at 2018 Ironman Hamburg and 3rd at Ironman 70.3 South Africa earlier this year.


Lester led the women's swim with a 53:36 swim that gave her a 3:11 lead over Candice Mizon of France, 3:23 over Tine Deckers of Belgium, 3:25 over Manon Genet of France and 4:32 over Martina Dogana of Italy.

After 49.5 kilometers of the bike leg, Lester exploded to a 5:36 lead on Deckers and 13:19 over Genet. After a women’s 2nd-best 4:41:12 split for the 152km bike leg, Lester held a 3:17 lead on Deckers (women's-best 4:41:07 bike split) and a 14:17 lead on Genet.

Halfway through the 30 kilometer run leg, Lester led Deckers by 5:02 and Genet by 11 minutes.

After a women’s second-fastest 2:22:08 split for the 30 kilometer run, Lester finished in 8:05:20 with a 3:58 margin of victory over Deckers (2:23:01 run) and 8:41 over Genet, who closed with a women's-best 2:16:39 run split.


Frederik Van Lierde of Belgium, a 5-time Ironman Nice winner, led the swim with a 48:38 split that gave him a 2 seconds lead on Wouter Monchy of Belgium, 5 seconds on Kevin Rundstadler and Kevin Maurel of France, 10 seconds on Bert Jammaer of Belgium, and 12 seconds on James Cunnama of South Africa.

After 62km of the bike leg, Van Lierde raced to a 4:08 lead on Rundstadler, 4:21 on Cunnama, 9:19 on Maurel, and 10:08 on Robert Brundish of Great Britain. Surprisingly, Cameron Wurf of Australia trailed in 10th, 12:49 arrears.

After finishing the 152km bike leg in a race-best 4:08:21, Van Lierde held a 5:57 lead on Rundstadler and 8:25 on Cunnama, with the rest of the field far back.

On his way to a 2nd-fastest 2:04:30 run split, Cunnama passed a fading Van Lierde for the lead at the 10.5 kilometer mark. Cunnama finished in 7:16:16 with a 7:27 margin of victory over Rundstadler and 10:53 over 3rd place Van Lierde who faded with a 2:23:31 run split.

Ironman France
Nice, France
June 30, 2019
S 3.8k / B 152k / R 30km



1. Carrie Lester (AUS) 8:05:20 S 53:36 T1 4:33 B 4:41:12 T2 3:53 R 2:22:08
2. Tine Deckers (BEL) 8:09:18 S 58:06 T1 3:25 B 4:41:07 T2 3:41 R 2:23:01
3. Manon Genet (FRA) 8:14:01 S 57:51 T1 3:43 B 4:52:04 T2 3:46 R 2:16:39
4. Martina Dogana (ITA) 8:40:56 S 58:58 T1 3:43 B 5:06:11 T2 4:13 R 2:27:54
5. Karen Steurs (BEL) 8:46:12 S 59:01 T1 3:56 B 5:02:43 T2 4:27 R 2:36:07


1. James Cunnama (RSA)7:16:16 S 48:50 T1 3:21 B 4:16:35 T2 3:01 R 2:04:30
2. Kevin Rundstadler (FRA) 7:23:43 S 48:43 T1 3:23 B 4:14:12 T2 3:10 R 2:14:17
3. Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) 7:27:09 S 48:38 T1 3:22 B 4:08:21 T2 3:20 R 2:23:31
4. Diego Van Looy (BEL) 7:31:43 S 1:00:04 T1 3:46 B 4:23:23 T2 3:55 R 2:00:37
5. Robert Brundish (GBR) 7:33:59 S 54:01 T1 3:16 B 4:20:05 T2 3:17 R 2:13:22
7. Cameron Wurf (AUS) 7:36:57 S 54:00 T1 3:14 B 4:23:06 T2 3:20 R 2:13:19