Australians Craig Alexander and Felicity Sheedy-Ryan won the elite titles Saturday at Ironman 70.3 Busselton.
Just a month before his 46th birthday, Alexander combined a sixth-best 27:10 swim in rough conditions that left him 47 seconds behind the leader, and a third-fastest 2:04:40 bike split that put him 42 seconds arrears. Alexander then unleashed a race-best 1:15:13 half marathon that brought him to pass leader Mike Phillips of New Zealand at the 10 kilometer mark. Alexander finished in 3:49:53 which gave him a 1:21 margin of victory over Phillips and 3:15 over 3rd place finisher Matt Burton of Australia.
"Really happy with my race today," Alexander wrote on Facebook. "Pushed all the way in tough conditions by Big @mikephillipsnz @mattburton_01 and @maxxyneumann. Mike had some stomach issues on the run, which opened the door for me. The race doubled as the Australian Long Course Championships, so I was pumped to take the title nearly 20 years after winning it for the first time. Well done to everyone who raced, that wind was tough!"
Alexander’s victory adds to a winning 2019 that includes a second place finish at Davao 70.3 in March and a win at Liuzhou 70.3 in April. Underlining the depth of the field, Alexander ended Phillips’ 2019 streak of wins at Ironman New Zealand and Taupo 70.3.
Alexander lost one battle this day. His winning time today was 6:35 slower than his 2016 race record performance.
Sheedy-Ryan started her day with a women’s second-fastest 29:54 swim that put her 54 seconds behind swim leader Rebecca Clarke of New Zealand, then posted a women’s second-fastest 2:23:19 bike split that left her 50 seconds behind bike leader Renee Kiley of Australia. Sheedy-Ryan then stormed out of T2 on a women’s-best half-marathon pace that brought her a 42 seconds lead over Kiley and 1:26 on Clarke at 3.5 kilometers.
After a women’s best 1:24:07 run split, two-time duathlon world champion Sheedy-Ryan, who won this race in 2015, finished in 4:20:16 with a 6:30 margin of victory over Clarke and 10:32 over 3rd place finisher Emily Loughnan of Australia, who made up a lot of ground with a women's second-fastest 1:26:06 half marathon.
Kiley, who finished 2:06 behind Loughnan in 4th place, won a significant personal lifestyle victory before turning pro just two years ago. After building a successful business, she took up triathlon in 2015 and lost 90 pounds. After age group success, she turned pro late in 2017 and was 5th at Ironman Australia last year.
Ironman 70.3 Busselton
Busselton, Eastern Australia
May 4, 2019
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:49:53 S 27:10 T1 1:27 B 2:04:40 T1 1:26 R 1:15:13
2. Mike Phillips (NZL) 3:51:14 S 27:07 T1 1:27 B 2:04:02 T2 1:26 R 1:17:14
3. Matt Burton (AUS) 3:53:08 S 29:55 T1 1:30 B 2:01:09 T2 1:18 R 1:19:18
4. Max Neumann (AUS) 3:55:29 S 26:27 T1 1:23 B 2:05:33 T2 1:29 R 1:20:39
5. Sam Tebeck (AUS) 3:59:01 S 29:10 T1 1:37 B 2:08:35 T2 1:39 R 1:18:02
1. Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (AUS) 4:20:16 S 29:54 T1 1:21 B 2:23:19 T2 1:36 R 1:24:07
2. Rebecca Clarke (NZL) 4:26:46 S 28:45 T1 1:36 B 2:24:19 T2 1:46 R 1:30:22
3. Emily Loughnan (AUS) 4:30:48 S 31:29 T1 2:11 B 2:29:41 T2 1:23 R 1:26:06
4. Renee Kiley (AUS) 4:32:54 S 32:40 T1 1:55 B 2:18:29 T2 2:11 R 1:37:42
5. Laura Armstrong (NZL) 4:37:15 S 33:23 T1 1:40 B 2:24:47 T2 1:57 R 1:35:29