Kiwi Bevan Docherty unleashed a run of fury to capture the 2014 Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas in 8:09:37. Texan Kelly Williamson took the women's title and possibly her finest win in 8:54:42. This win also gave Williamson her first Ironman title.
Brandon Marsh led the men out of the water in a speedy 46:38. Brit Stephen Bayliss, who certainly isn't a slouch when it comes to swimming, was next in 47:51 and behind him were Bevan Docherty in 47:55, Dutch Pro Bas Diederen in 47:59, Aussie Tim Reed in 48:00 and Hungarian Balazs Czoke in 48:01.
Brandon Marsh continued to lead the bike until mile 64, but behind him Jordan Rapp had moved himself into striking position. Rapp overcame the 4 minute swim deficit to Docherty, Reed and Diederen by mile 40 and from there he set the pace of that small group to reel in the lone leading Texan. Docherty meanwhile looked calm and collected and seemed to be biding his time. Once Rapp passed Marsh, the multiple Ironman champion steadily pulled away and reached T2 about 3.5 minutes ahead of Docherty and Diederen with a race best bike split of 4:19:11.
Rapp look solid during the run too, but Docherty ran faster and steadily gained time on his Specialized team mate. Docherty made the catch at mile 10, and after a brief aid station yoyo pulled away to not be seen again. Rapp then came slowly came undone and Matthew Russell also managed to run past the man known as Rappstar. Up front though no one was able to touch Docherty and the sender Kiwi ran to a fine win in 8:09:37 with a 2:49:17 marathon.
"It's been an emotional year. I have to be honest, there were times I considered retiring from the sport," said Docherty. "It wasn't easy today. You forget how hard these races are—but it's the biggest high of your life when you win races like this."
Russell hung on to second place in 8:14:53 and meanwhile Justin Daerr had also pulled past Rapp to grab the final podium spot in 8:17:29. Rapp was next in 8:17:58 and Chris McDonald was fifth in 8:22:51.
Kelly Williamson used a 51:49 swim to lead the Pro women out of the water. and that gave her a solid advantage over most competitors. Only Tami Ritchie, Julia Gajer, Amber Ferreira, Bree Wee and Christina Jackson stayed within a couple minutes.
Williamson then held the lead for the first 23 miles before she was overtaken by the fast German Gajer, and Ferreira also seemed poised to make a play. Gsajer however put the hammer down and steadily rode away from the other women. Her 4:53:43 bike split was fastest among the women at the front of the race, but a bit further back Sarah Piampiano clocked a race best 4:53:04. Gajer and Piampiano were in fact the only women to ride sub-5 hours on this course. But as in the men's race, a dangerous runner was lurking behind. Williamson however reached T2 about 8.5 minutes behind.
Williamson ran well and made up 5 minutes of that disadvantage during the first half of the run. Williamson in fact ran a race best 2:54:46 and was the only Pro female to stay under 3 hours. Her final time of 8:54:42 gave her a convincing win.
"I just had to keep digging at it," said Williamson. "I knew I had it in me, but it wasn't until I got out there and started feeling strong throughout. It's tough to overcome struggles when your 12 years into your career."
Julia Gajer ran 3:09:53 to finish second in 9:00:52, and Amber Ferreira rounded out the podium in 9:11:48.
Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas presented by Waste Management
The Woodlands, TX, USA / May 17, 2014
2.4m swim / 112m bike / 26.2m run
1. Bevan Docherty (NZL) 8:09:37
2. Matthew Russell (USA) 8:14:53
3. Justin Daerr (USA) 8:17:29
4. Jordan Rapp (USA) 8:17:58
5. Chris McDonald (AUS) 8:22:51
6. Matt Hanson (USA) 8:25:51
7. Clay Emge (USA) 8:28:52
8. Brandon Marsh (USA) 8:31:38
9. Balazs Csoke (HUN) 8:33:06
10. James Chesson (USA) 8:37:12
1. Kelly Williamson (USA) 8:54:42
2. Julia Gajer (GER) 9:00:52
3. Amber Ferreira (USA) 9:11:48
4. Bree Wee (USA) 9:14:27
5. Tamara Kozulina (UKR) 9:15:19
6. Jennie Hansen (USA) 9:18:51
7. Jessica Meyers (USA) 9:27:05
8. Cindy Lewis (CAN) 9:29:53
9. Sarah Piampiano (USA) 9:38:57
10. Heather Leiggi (USA) 9:39:30