Olympic silver medalist Javier Gomez added another non-ITU classic title to his peerless resume and Heather Jackson ran down top USA Olympian Sarah Groff near the end to take the pro titles at the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon.
Gomez combined a 2nd-best 27:22 swim in a very chilly San Francisco Bay, a race-best 47:11 bike split and a 2nd-fastest 45:12 run to finish in 2:04:27 with a 1:12 margin of victory over runner-up Graham O’Grady of New Zealand. Two-time Wildflower winner Jesse Thomas posted the fastest run of 44:54 to take the final spot on the podium, 2:13 back of Gomez.
Gomez’s Alcatraz win is yet another chapter in his non-ITU championship forays, coming after his victories at the $151,000 Hy-Vee non-drafting event in September and the 2012 XTERRA World Championship in October.
Reigning Ironman World Champion Pete Jacobs posted the 3rd-fastest run of 45:41 on his way to 4th place, 4:06 back of Gomez.
"I was pretty consistent the whole way," Gomez told the San Francisco
Examiner moments after crossing the finish line. "You cant have any weak
points on such a course. Its not easy at all. The swim is pretty tough, the
bike is tough and the run is hard as well."
Wildflower long course champ Heather Jackson won the women’s event with an exciting come-from-behind surge on the run, passing top USA Olympian Sarah Groff in the final miles.
Groff came out of the swim in second, 44 seconds behind Sara McLarty and 3:41 ahead of Jackson. Jackson surged into contention with a race-fastest 51:39 bike split which cut Groff’s margin to 1:11. On the run, Jackson stalked the 4th-place 2012 Olympian until taking the lead right after the sand ladder. At the finish, Jackson’s race-best 48:23 run was precisely two minutes faster than the ITU veteran and gave the Carlsbad, California Ironman 70.3 star a 29 seconds margin of victory over Groff in a winning time of 2:18:08.
After the race, Groff explained on Twitter that she was suffering on the run: "Nasty stomach issues put a serious damper on my race today. Guess I'll have to return to next year!"
Germany’s Ricarda Lisk took 3rd in 2:23:36 and Great Britain’s Emma-Kate Lidbury was 4th in 2:25:34. Four-time Escape champion Leanda Cave had an off day and took 10th place.
"Escape from Alcatraz might be my new favorite race. It's a road race but like an XTERRA. The swim is horrible-mouthfuls of water every stroke, the bike is killer hills and the run is hills, tunnels, beach, sand ladder... Awesome! Its 2+hours all out," said Jackson to slowtwitch.
The 2013 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon was marred by the tragic death of an age group athlete in the cold waters.
Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon
San Francisco, California
March 3, 2013
1.5 mile swim / 18 mile run / 8 mile run
1. Javier Gomez (ESP) 2:04:27
2. Graham O’Grady (NZL) 2:05:39
3. Jesse Thomas (USA) 2:06:40
4. Pete Jacobs (AUS) 2:08:33
5. Jason Pedersen (USA) 2:09:32
6. Francesco Godoy (ESP) 2:09:38
7. John Dahlz (USA) 2:11:10
8. Paul Matthews (AUS) 2:12:12
9. Kyle Leto (USA) 2:12:50
10. Matt Lieto (USA) 2:13:58
1. Heather Jackson (USA) 2:18:08
2. Sarah Groff (USA) 2:18:37
3. Ricarda Lisk (GER) 2:23:36
4. Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) 2:25:34
5. Lauren Goss (USA) 2:25:41
6. Charisa Wernick (USA) 2:29:03
7. Elizabeth Lyles (USA) 2:29:13
8. Kristen Peterson (USA) 2:30:58
9. Sara McLarty (USA) 2:31:41
10. Leanda Cave (GBR) 2:33:42