U.S. stars Heather Jackson and Andrew Starykowicz stood atop the podiums at Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga.
Jackson overcame a 1:50 deficit after the swim (her 22:44 split aided by a positive current) with women’s fastest bike and run splits to finish in 4:11:08 with a 1:12 margin of victory over Meredith Kessler and 5:35 over 3rd place finisher Linsey Corbin.
While the two main rivals entered T2 just two seconds apart and their run splits differed by just 19 seconds, Jackson’s margin of victory was largely due to a 52 seconds advantage on Kessler in the bike-to-run transition.
Linsey Corbin rounded out the podium with a 4:16:43 finish in 3rd place. Skye Moench took 4th, 1:35 back of Corbin and Holly Benner took 5th, 44 seconds behind Moench.
Jackson’s win comes two weeks after her 4th straight victory at Wildflower long course and adds luster to her other 2018 results - 5th at the Surf City Escape Olympic distance and 4th at Oceanside 70.3.
Starykowicz emerged from the swim in 4th place with a 10 seconds deficit before he unleashed a dominating 2:00:45 bike split that was 5:32 faster than the next-best effort by Matt Russell and which gave Starky a 6:53 lead on Canadian Jackson Laundry at T2.
A penalty during the bike leg took Andy Potts out of contention; he entered T2 in 18th place, 16:04 down on the leader.
Following the usual pattern with the American überbiker, Starky and his powerful frame proceeded to hang on for dear life on the run against a raft of slenderer, swift-footed challengers. On this day, Starykowicz’s determined 1:22:11 run split was enough to hold off the onslaught as the best of them made up just six minutes.
After a 3:46:28 finish, Starykowicz held on for a 48 seconds margin of victory over Laundry (1:16:28 run) and 1:45 over 3rd place finisher Adam Otstot of the U.S.
After his victory at Ironman North America, Matt Hanson of the U.S. finished 4th in 3:49:24 and Joe Gambles of Australia took 5th in 3:50:27.
After a race-best 1:14:43 run, Potts advanced from 18th to 9th place, finishing in 3:55:09.
Now back on form after his 2016 crash injuries, Starykowicz’s victory adds another good result to a busy 2018 schedule which includes a 2nd at Monterrey 70.3, 8th at the Ironman North American Championship, and 3rd at Texas 70.3.
Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga
May 20, 2018
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:11:08 S 22:44 T1 2:31 B 2:19:42 T2 00:57 R 1:25:15
2. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:12:20 S 20:54 T1 3:07 B 2:20:59 T2 1:49 R 1:25:33
3. Linsey Corbin (USA) 4:16:43 S 22:47 T1 2:36 B 2:23:33 T2 1:06 R 1:26:43
4. Skye Moench (USA) 4:18:18 S 22:42 T1 2:36 B 2:23:44 T2 1:14 R 1:28:04
5. Holly Benner (USA) 4:19:02 S 22:21 T2 2:46 B 2:23:56 T2 1:36 R 1:28:25
1. Andrew Starykowicz (USA) 3:46:28 S 19:23 T1 2:26 B 2:00:45 T2 1:45 R 1:22:11
2. Jackson Laundry (CAN) 3:47:16 S 19:55 T1 2:09 B 2:07:22 T2 1:53 R 1:16:59
3. Adam Otstot (USA) 3:48:13 S 21:15 T1 2:22 B 2:07:13 T2 1:36 R 1:15:49
4. Matt Hanson (USA) 3:49:24 S 21:03 T1 2:28 B 2:06:32 T2 1:46 R 1:17:36
5. Joe Gambles (AUS) 3:50:27 S 20:17 T1 2:31 B 2:08:59 T2 1:08 R 1:17:34