Chrissie Wellington smashed her own women’s world best for the Ironman distance with an amazing 8:19:13 for 7th place overall while Rasmus Henning’s 7:52:36 came within 2:09 of Luc Van Lierde’s men’s world best at Challenge Roth today.
Wellington broke her own world-best mark of 8:31:59, set last year at Roth, by an astonishing 12:46.
The woman who broke into the Ironman scene three years ago as a dark horse unknown who won at Kona had a race, as she told Challenge Roth media, “as close to perfect as I have ever had.”
The woman who broke into triathlon as a 27-year-old amateur in a stiff, oversize wetsuit in which she swam 35 minutes for 1500 meters, started with a 50:28 swim right on the heels of super swimmer Tereza Macel.
Wellington’s next act was a women’s best-all-time 4:36:33 split for the 112-mile bike which broke her own record bike split of 4:40:28 – set last year at Roth – by 3 minutes 55 seconds.
Wellington finished with a stunning women’s world-best-ever 2:48:54 Ironman-distance marathon, which broke Erin Baker’s women’s Ironman marathon world-best of 2:49:53 set winning Ironman Canada in 1990.
“I really didn’t think that I could break the world record (again), but I’ve shown now that truly anything is possible,” she said. “I’m so happy.”
In fact, Wellington shocked herself and the triathlon world last year when she broke Yvonne Van Vlerken’s previous world-best Ironman distance time by 13 minutes 49 seconds with her 8:31:59 mark at Roth. This year, Wellington broke her own record by another 12:46.
Wellington’s 8:19:13 would have placed her third overall against the men at Roth in 2003, second overall against the men at Roth in 2002 and would have beaten Roth overall men’s winner Lothar Leder’s time by 25 seconds in the year 2000.
Wellington thus crossed the line with 32:55 in hand over second-place Australian Rebekah Keat – who could only muster a stellar 8:52:10 after setting her own PR of 8:39:24 last year while finishing second to Wellington at Roth .
“Chrissie was just...I don’t know,” Keat told Challenge Roth media. “The boys have to look out for her now. I have to try to beat her but I don’t know what we can do.”
Wellington told Challenge Roth media rep Amy White that she thinks it’s important for her to continue to show other women athletes what’s possible — and that there are really no limits: “We're narrowing the gap between the men and women, and that’s really important,” she said, adding that she hoped her performance would inspire other women to take up triathlon or challenge themselves with goals they might’ve thought impossible. “I never thought 8:19 was possible. Hopefully that's helped to promote triathlon and promote the growth of women in sport and that's something that I'm really proud to do.”
Tereza Macel of the Czech Republic was 3rd, trailing by 50:16 in 9:09:29, a personal best at the Ironman distance. Former Challenge Roth winner Belinda Granger of Australia was 4th in 9:15:25 with Dagmar Matthes, a Roth hometown favorite, winning the German national title while taking 5th in 9:32:05.
Rasmus Henning of Denmark scored the 5th fastest men’s Ironman distance all-time with his 7:52:36 finish, topping runner-up Sebastian Kienle of Germany (7:59:06) by 6 minutes 30 seconds, and 9 minutes 57 seconds ahead of 3rd place Eneko Llanos of Spain (8:02:33). Pete Jacobs of Australia took 4th in 8:08:57 and defending champion Michael Goehner of Germany was 5th in 8:13:09.
Henning, a two-time Olympic triathlete who won two Hy-Vee $200,000 paydays and who took fifth in his debut at the Ironman World Championships last year with a broken hand, threatened the world best time at the distance until the final moments of the run.
“I've proven today that it definitely is possible” to break Luc Van Lierde’s 1997 record, Henning said. ”The male record has been standing for ages now, and I think it's about time that somebody gets down there close to [the top times].”
On this day, Henning almost made good on his promise, starting with a 46:57 swim, a stellar 4:23:54 bike which was 9 minutes short of the Roth record, and a 2:39:43 marathon -- among the best ever at the distance but 2:54 slower than Van Lierde’s run on his record day.
The day also marked the splashy long course debut of 26-year-old Sebastian Kienle of Germany. Kienle came to Roth with wins at the half distance Challenge Kraichgau and Ironman Germany 70.3. While he fell short of an overall win, Kienle broke Normann Stadler's 2009 bike course record of 4:14:42 with a spectacular 4:14:07 and started the run with a four-minute lead over Henning, former Ironman Germany winner Eneko Llanos of Spain and last year’s runner-up, Pete Jacobs of Australia.
Kienle held on to that lead for 30 km of the 42 km run before surrendering to Henning’s formidable charge.
Henning told Challenge media’s Amy White: “In the run training for the last two months every single session has been diamond legs. Six-hour rides, where I've been just completely stuffed, I've gone out to do a brick run just after and my legs were just flying. That's exactly what happened today.”
Related image galleries
Challenge Roth 2010 pre-race
Challenge Roth 2010 race day
July 18, 2010
S 2.4 mi./ B 112 mi./ R 26.2 mi.
1. Rasmus Henning (DEN) 7:52:36
2. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 7:59:06
3. Eneko Llanos (ESP) 8:02:33
4. Pete Jacobs (AUS) 8:08:56
5. Michael Goehner (GER) 8:13:09
6. James Cunnama (RSA) 8:18:47
7. Cyril Viennet (FRA) 8:22:20
8. Richard Ussher (NZL) 8:24:56
9. Christophe Bastie (FRA) 8:25:58
10. Sylvain Rota (FRA) 8:26:34
1. Chrissie Wellington (GBR) 8:19:13
2. Rebekah Keat (AUS) 8:52:10
3. Tereza Macel (CZE) 9:09:29
4. Belinda Granger (AUS) 9:15:25
5. Dagmar Matthes (GER) 9:32:05
6. Kristin Lie (NOR) 9:41:50
7. Maureen Hufe (GER) 9:44:32
8. Birgitte Christensen (DEN) 9:49:42
9. Helen Buley (RSA) 9:51:34
10. Fiona Moorehead-Lane (AUS) 9:54:19