Heather Jackson of the U.S. and Josh Amberger of Australia dominated the pro fields to win Ironman 70.3 Calgary.
Jackson overcame a 3:02 deficit after the swim with a by-far women's-best bike split and women’s second-fastest run to finish in 3:57:20 with a 6:37 margin of victory over Jennifer Spieldenner of the U.S. and 7:42 over 3rd place Svenja Thoes of Germany.
Jackson’s win continues a strong 2017 season which includes victories at Peru and Chattanooga 70.3s and a 4th at Oceanside 70.3.
Amberger opened a big lead with the fastest swim and bike splits, and then closed the deal with a 2nd-best run to finish in 3:35:07 with a 9:49 margin of victory over fellow Aussie Kieran Roche and 10:53 over 3rd-place finisher Jonathan Shearon of the U.S.
Amberger continues to ride high after a 2nd places at Dubai and Geelong 70.3s, a win at Jönköping 70.3 and a breakout win at the Asia-Pacific Ironman Championship at Cairns preceded his victory at Calgary.
While Amberger’s 3:35:07 and Jackson’s 3:57:20 finishing times appear to be record-threatening times for the distance, their 1:55:06 and 2:05:17 bike splits strongly suggest a short bike leg.
Jennifer Spieldenner of the U.S. led the women’s swim wave in 22:45 which gave her a 1:54 lead on Christen Brown of the U.S., 1:59 on Jenny Fletcher of the U.S., 2:01 on Svenja Thoes of Germany and 3:02 over Jackson.
Jackson took care of all threats with a 2:05:17 bike split which was 6:17 faster than Sue Huse of the U.S., 6:44 better than Thoes and 7:15 better than Spieldenner. Starting the run with a 4:16 lead on Spieldenner, 6:15 on Thoes, 7:56 on Brown and 9:58 on Huse. Jackson finished with a women’s second-best 1:24:12 run which Huse bested by 14 seconds.
Thoes finished with a women’s 3rd-best 1:25:36 run to take 3rd place, 33 seconds ahead of Huse and 5:35 ahead of 5th-place Christen Brown.
Amberger led the swim in 21:27 which gave him a 1:13 lead on Christian Kemp of the U.S., 1:16 on Kieran Roche of Australia 3:40 on Jonathan Shearon of the U.S. and 4:35 on Christopher Baird of the U.S.
Amberger turned on the afterburners with a race-best 1:55:06 bike split that gave him a 4:33 lead on Roche and Shearon (2nd-best 1:55:46 bike split) 5:07 on Tim Rea of Australia and 13:38 on Baird.
Baird closed hardest with a race-best 1:14:29 half marathon split, but that was just 2:09 better than Amberger and only brought him to 4th place, 11:40 behind the winner.
Amberger’s 1:16:48 run brought him to the finish in 3:35:07 with a 9:49 margin of victory over Roche (1:21:55 run) and 10:53 over 3rd place Shearon (1:22:53 run).
Ironman 70.3 Calgary
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
July 23, 2017
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Heather Jackson (USA) 3:57:20
2. Jennifer Spieldenner (USA) 4:03:57
3. Svenja Thoes (GER) 4:05:02
4. Sue Huse (USA) 4:07:35
5. Christen Brown (USA) 4:10:37
1. Josh Amberger (AUS) 3:35:07
2. Kieran Roche (AUS) 3:44:56
3. Jonathan Shearon (USA) 3:45:59
4. Christopher Baird (USA) 3:46:46
5. David Lacombe (CAN) 3:52:02