Richie Cunningham of Australia and Emma-Kate Lidbury of Great Britain dominated the men’s and women’s pro races at Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston Sunday.
Australian men went 1-2-3 as Cunningham combined a 3rd-fastest 23:35 swim, 3rd-best 2:08:31 bike split and a race-best 1:12:45 run to finish in 3:48:25 with a 3:11 margin of victory over runner-up Tim Berkel and 4:51 over Chris McDonald.
After trailing U.S. competitor Allen Gardner by 44 seconds in the swim, Cunningham rode to the front by the 20-mile mark of the ride. Although his 2:08:31 bike split was only 3rd-fastest and was bested by Berkel and McDonald by half a minute each, Berkel and McDonald’s 80 seconds deficit in the swim left them both 50 seconds back of Cunningham starting the run.
Once the run began, Cunningham’s sizzling half marathon put the race out of reach.
Relatively little known French pro Jose Jeuland, who last year placed 5th at Antwerp 70.3, 6th at Ironman Nice, 6th at Honu 70.3 and 11th at Oceanside 70.3, finished 4th, 1:16 back of McDonald and 19 seconds ahead of 5th-place Pedro Gomes of Portugal.
Cunningham, who won Rev3 half Ironman distance races at Quassy, Portland and Wisconsin Dells last year, came back strong after an off-form 10th at San Juan 70.3 a few weeks ago with well-balanced race topped off with a dominating run.
Emma-Kate Lidbury, recovering quickly from a shoulder dislocated two weeks ago, fashioned a 4:13:54 finish from a 3rd-best 25:43 swim, a dominating 2:19:14 bike split and a 6th best 1:24:43 run to outpace runner-up Kelly Williamson of Austin, Texas and 3rd-place Caitlin Snow of Brockton, Massachusetts.
Lidbury and Williamson started their race-long duel with almost mirror-equal 25:43 and 25:44 swims. Lidbury then rocketed away to a 9-minute lead with a race-best 2:19:14 bike split. Williamson, whose race-fastest 1:18:16 run topped Lidbury’s half marathon by 6:27, made a charge but fell 2:12 short of catching Lidbury.
Caitlin Snow, who started her day 4 seconds behind Lidbury on the swim, fell 8:33 back on the bike leg. Snow’s second-fastest 1:19:43 run left in 3rd place and 3:46 back of Lidbury at the finish.
Lidbury’s win comes after a 4th place at Escape from Alcatraz this year and 2012 wins at Mallorca 70.3 and Challenge Fuerteventura and three 70.3 wins in 2011.
Ironman 70.3 Texas
April 7, 2013
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Richie Cunningham (AUS) 3:48:25
2. Tim Berkel (AUS) 3:51:36
3. Chris McDonald (AUS) 3:53:16
4. Jose Jeuland (FRA) 3:54:32
5. Pedro Gomes (POR) 3:54:51
6. Mitch Robins (AUS) 3:57:02
7. Christopher Baird (USA) 3:57:16
8. Trevor Delsaut (FRA) 3:59:24
9. Adam Bohach (USA) 3:59:41
10. Allen Gardner (USA) 4:00:55
1. Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) 4:13:54
2. Kelly Williamson (USA) 4:16:06
3. Caitlin Snow (USA) 4:17:40
4. Liz Lyles (USA) 4:17:50
5. Jessica Jacobs (USA) 4:20:21
6. Sara Gross (CAN) 4:23:48
7. Jennie Hansen (USA) 4:23:53
8. Stephanie Jones (USA) 4:24:16
9. Heather Leiggi (USA) 4:24:44
10. Haley Chura (USA) 4:27:30