Fast rising Canadian triathlete Cody Beals and U.S. star Sarah Haskins gave top performances to win Ironman 70.3 Eagleman by comfortable margins.
With her Olympic distance non-drafting domain disappearing with the loss of the Life Time Fitness series and Hy-Vee race, the 2008 ITU World Championship runner-up Sarah Haskins seems to be taking well to the 70.3 distance which handsomely rewards her world-beating bike skills.
Haskins and her ITU-honed natatational powers did not lead the swim. Lauren Brandon beat all the men, including her husband Barrett Brandon, who was the fastest male, with a 26:02 split that was 32 seconds better than Haskins. No other pro woman broke 30 minutes on a choppy day in the Choptank (although 30-34 amateur Karen Burbella posted a 29:37 split).
While Haskins broke out front with a women's-best 2:19:10 bike split, Brandon hung tough, just 45 seconds astern after a 2:20:25 effort. Heather Leiggi was next best as her 2:21:15 bike split left her 9:18 arrears and Sarah Piampiano was 4th, 12:56 back.
After her strong start, Brandon fell off fast on her way to a 1:45:29 run split and a 4th place women's finish. With no challengers in sight, Haskins did not have to push the run and still managed a women's-best 1:28:59 which brought her to the line in 4:16:43 with a 11:21 margin on Heather Leiggi and 13:02 on 3rd-place finisher Piampiano, whose 2nd-best 1:29:12 run left her 1:41 behind Leiggi.
The win was Haskins' second 70.3 victory of 2015, coming after her win at San Juan.
Barrett Brandon led the swim in the Choptank River with a 26:08 split that was 55 seconds better than TJ Tollakson, 2:00 quicker than Cody Beals, 2:20 faster than Raymond Botelho, 2:25 ahead of Thomas Gerlach and 2:27 in front of Jordan Rapp.
Whereupon Beals turned on the afterburners and rocketed through the pool table-flat bike leg in 2:01:58 which was 3:56 faster than Tollakson, 5:46 better than Rapp, 9 minutes quicker than Brandon and 9:09 better than Gerlach.
Starting the run with a 2:45 cushion on Tollakson, 6:42 on Rapp, 6:57 on Brandon and 9 and a half minutes on Botelho and Gerlach, Beals unleashed another race-best split – a 1:19:11 run – which brought him to the finish in 3:51:05 with a whopping 10:35 margin on runner-up Rapp (1:23:04 run) and 11:45 on 3rd-place finisher Brandon, who ran 1:23:37.
Ironman 70.3 Eagleman
June 14, 2015
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Sarah Haskins (USA) 4:16:43
2. Heather Leiggi (USA) 4:28:04
3. Sarah Piampiano (USA) 4:29:45
4. Lauren Brandon (USA) 4:34:00
5. Nicole Valentine (USA) 4:38:44 * F30-34
1. Cody Beals (CAN) 3:52:05
2. Jordan Rapp (USA) 4:01:40
3. Barrett Brandon (USA) 4:02:50
4. Thomas Gerlach (USA) 4:06:57
5. TJ Tollakson (USA) 4:08:52