Arnaud Guilloux of France and Simone Mitchell of Great Britain dominated the pro fields on the tough as nails course, which starts in the seaside town of Tenby, at Ironman Wales in Pembrokeshire.
Guilloux overcame a 5:29 deficit after the swim and a 1:08 deficit after the bike with a third-best 2:56:48 marathon to finish in a Tenby course record 8:48:06, which gave him a 9:42 margin of victory over Maxmilian Hammerle of Austria and 12:03 over 3rd place finisher Fabian Rahn of Germany.
Mitchell trailed swim leader Rebecca Clarke of New Zealand by 3:04, then charged on the bike to lead Manon Genet of France by under a minute at T2. Mitchell then cinched the win with a women’s-best 3:10:46 run split which brought her to the finish in a new course record time of 9:41:52. This gave her a 10:36 margin of victory over Genet and 17:44 over 3rd place finisher Laura Siddall of Great Britain.
Super swimmer Dylan McNeice of New Zealand led the field into T1 with a 47:27 split that gave him a 3:22 lead on Alfaro Peru of Spain, 3:25 on Philip Graves of Great Britain, 3:28 on Romain Guillaume of France and 4:28 on Daniel Niederreiter of Austria.
By 40 kilometers of the bike leg, McNeice maintained a lead of 3:36 on Guillaume, 3:39 on Graves, 5:33 on Niederreiter, 6:26 on Bryan McCrystal of Ireland and Joe Skipper of the UK, and 6:29 on Arnaud Guilloux of France.
Halfway through the 180 kilometer bike leg, McNeice led Skipper by 1:39, who led a five man pack including Graves (+1:41), McCrystal (+1:42), Guillaume (+1:46) and Guilloux (+1:48). A second chase pack that would play a more prominent role in the final standings included Stefan Schumacher of Germany (+6:19) and Maxmilian Hammerle of Austria (+6:22).
About 115 kilometers into the ride, Skipper and Graves took the lead, followed by Guilloux (+26s), McNeice (+28s), Guillaume (+1:03), McCrystal (+4:38), and Schumacher and Hammerle working together at 5:54 and 5:56 arrears.
After a bike course record 4:40:42 split, Schumacher and Graves arrived together atop the field at T2, with Guilloux trailing by 1:08 and McNeice 3:04 back in 4th place.
After 8km of the run, Guilloux took a 1:16 lead on Schumacher, 1:59 on Graves, 5:22 on McNeice and 7:00 on Hammerle. After 25 kilometers of the run, Guilloux achieved a firm grip on the lead – by 8:16 on Hammerle, 9:22 on Schumacher, 11:05 on McNeice and 15:36 on Fabian Rahn of Germany.
After a third-best 2:56:48 marathon, Guilloux finished in 8:48:06 with a 9:42 margin of victory on Hammerle and 12:03 on 3rd place Fabian Rahn of Germany (2:53:02 run split).
Rebecca Clarke of New Zealand led the pro women’s wave with a 53:10 swim split that gave her a 2:02 lead on Fern Davies of Great Britain, 4:49 on Manon Genet of France, and 5:19 on Simon Mitchell of Great Britain.
After 126 kilometers of the bike leg, Mitchell took a 1:46 lead on Genet, 4:17 on Laura Siddall of Great Britain, and 9:52 on defending champion and recently retired as full-time pro Lucy Gossage of Great Britain. “The only reason I am here,” said Gossage, “is I LOVE it!”
After a women’s-best 5:25:21 bike split, Mitchell arrived in T2 with just under a minute lead over Genet (5:26:44 bike split), a great deal further behind was Siddall, and Gossage was 4th, 14:39 arrears.
Halfway through the marathon, Genet took the lead by 1:29 over Mitchell, with Siddal and Gossage 14 and 21 minutes behind. At 35km into the run, Mitchell retook the lead from Genet. At the 39 kilometer mark, Mitchell sailed to a 9 minutes lead on Genet.
After a women’s-best 3:10:46 marathon, Mitchell finished in a new course record time of 9:41:52 with a 10:36 margin of victory over Genet and 17:44 over 3rd place finisher Laura Siddall of Great Britain.
All praise to the winner Simone Mitchell. But perhaps Lucy Gossage's 4th place carried the most emotional wallop as she declared this would be her last Ironman after a marvelous career.
"Finally I feel I’m ready to let go," she wrote on Facebook. "I needed one last blast around my favourite course before I was truly ready to say goodbye to Ironman and Tenby today did not disappoint. I don’t think anyone (excluding the Welsh rugby players!) got more cheers today than I did. I was suffering but couldn’t stop smiling. Thank you Tenby. Thank you everybody who shouted my name and made me smile. And thank you Ironman for teaching me to push my boundaries, live out of my comfort zone and ultimately changing my life course. It’s been a blast and I wish I could do it all over again. But if I could, I wouldn’t change a thing."
September 15, 2019
S 2.4 mi/ / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Arnaud Guilloux (FRA) 8:48:06 S 52:56 T1 4:43 B 4:51:20 T2 2:19 R 2:56:48
2. Maxmilian Hammerle (AUT) 8:57:48 S 56:09 T1 4:05 B 4:54:29 T2 1:58 R 3:01:17
3. Fabian Rahn (GER) 9:00:09 S 59:17 T1 4:44 B 5:01:23 T2 1:43 R 2:53:02
4. Stefan Schumacher (GER) 9:02:11 S 59:34 T1 4:55 B 4:43:22 T2 2:11 R 3:12:09
5. Dylan McNeice (NZL) 9:10:37 S 47:27 T1 4:23 B 4:59:06 T2 2:12 R 3:17:321
6. Joe Skipper (GBR) 9:12:29 S 55:46 T1 4:47 B 5:16:40 T2 2:57 R 2:52:21
1. Simone Mitchell (GBR) 9:41:52 S 58:28 T1 4:52 B 5:25:21 T2 2:25 R 3:10:46
2. Manon Genet (FRA) 9:52:28 S 57:59 T1 4:51 B 5:26:44 T2 2:02 R 3:20:53
3. Laura Siddall (GBR) 9:59:36 S 1:01:36 T1 4:53 B 5:28:43 T2 2:01 R 3:22:24
4. Lucy Gossage (GBR) 10:06:20 S 1:03:55 T1 4:25 B 5:35:01 T2 2:49 R 3:20:12
5. Sabrina Harpaintner (GER) 10:50:48 S 1:01:40 T1 5:27 B 6:07:18 T2 2:14 R 3:34:12