Bevan Docherty topped off his debut Ironman win by breaking 10-time Taupo champion Cameron Brown’s race record and Meredith Kessler dominated the women’s field at Ironman New Zealand.
Docherty, the 2004 ITU World Champion and Olympic silver medalist, the 2006 Commonwealth Games silver medalist and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, finished in 8:15:34 with a 9:56 margin of victory over runner-up Marko Albert of Estonia and 18:54 ahead of third-place finisher Brown.
Docherty underlined the wisdom of his switch to long course at age 35 as he broke Brownie’s course record by 2 minutes 30 seconds. While finishing off his ITU short course career with a 12th at the London Olympics and 14th at the ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Auckland, he made bigger waves in 2012 with a win over Lance Armstrong at the 2012 edition of Panama 70.3 and took 3rd to Sebastian Kienle and Craig Alexander at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
Docherty won virtually wire-to-wire, his 45:44 swim trailing only Albert’s 45:34 out of Lake Taupo. On the bike, Docherty established a careful dominance as his race-fastest 4:35:06 split outpaced Albert by 3 minutes 28 seconds, outsped Brown by 6:46 and topped an off-form Terenzo Bozzone by 17 minutes.
Docherty put his stamp on this race and sealed his record performance with a race-best 2:49:46 marathon which outpaced Albert by 7:10 and Brown by 7:28. Bozzone, clearly feeling ill, dropped out at the 19 kilometer mark of the run.
Meredith Kessler did indeed win wire-to-wire although she did not post the fastest run. The San Francisco-based pro, a 4-time Ironman winner, swam 47:37 which gave her a 4:07 lead on 2009 Ironman New Zealand champion and 11-time Ironman distance winner Gina Crawford and 7:03 on Australian Carrie Lester.
Kessler then biked a race-best 5:04:44 which was 3:33 better than Crawford, 10:16 better than Candice Hammond and 14:55 better than Lester.
Starting the run with a 7:40 lead on Crawford, Kessler maintained that lead until the final 10 kilometers of the run. Gritting against the pain, Kessler faded to a 3:19:24 marathon which surrendered 4:30 to Crawford but had enough in the bank to finish with a 3:44 margin of victory over Crawford.
Kessler’s fade cost her a solid chance to break 7-time Taupo champion Joanna Lawn’s race record. Kessler’s winning time of 9:17:10 was 2:35 off Lawn’s mark.
Kelloggs Nutri-Grain Ironman New Zealand
Taupo, New Zealand
March 2, 2013
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Bevan Docherty (NZL) 8:15:34 *CR
2. Marko Albert (EST) 8:25:30
3. Cameron Brown (NZL) 8:34:28
4. Courtney Ogden (AUS) 8:38:53
5. Balazs Csoke (HUN) 8:46:05
6. Carl Read (NZL) 8:48:16
7. Keegan Williams (NZL) 8:50:22
8. Ben Cotter (CAN) 9:02:47
9. Chris Sanson (NZL) 9:07:01
10. Simon Cochrane (NZL) 9:17:12
1. Meredith Kessler (USA) 9:17:10
2. Gina Crawford (NZL) 9:20:54
3. Candice Hammond (NZL) 9:35:52
4. Anna Ross (NZL) 9:38:59
5. Kira Flanagan (AUS) 9:55:41 * F25-29
6. Erin Furness (NZL) 9:56:30 * F30-34
7. Janine Sax (NZL) 10:03:21
8. Dimitry-Lee Duke (AUS) 10:08:41 * F30-34
9. Melanie Burke (AUS) 10:09:02
10. Larisa Marsh (NZL) 10:15:55 * F25-29