Radka Kahlefeldt of the Czech Republic dominated the women's field and Mauricio Mendez of Mexico eked out a 54 seconds margin of victory over Tyler Butterfield of Bermuda at the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in Cebu, Philippines today.
Kahlefeldt, formerly Vodickova before she married Australian Olympian Brad Kahlefeldt in 2016, could be saluted for taking a major 70.3 victory just six months after the birth of their first child Ruby in January. However, this was the fourth victory this year for the 33-year-old new mom. Kahlefeldt and Mendez combined to win the Davao 70.3 event in March, she won Vietnam70.3 in May and the Keszthely Triathlon in June before taking her first 70.3 continental championship against a formidable field Sunday.
Kahlefeldt emerged from a 27:56 swim in 4th place, 3:17 behind super swimmer Lauren Brandon of the U.S., 48 seconds behind Lauren Goss of the U.S. and six seconds ahead of Caroline Steffen, who also gave birth six months ago, to her first child Xander.
After a women’s second-best 2:18:00 bike split, Kahlefeldt sliced her deficit to Brandon to 13 seconds while two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion Melissa Hauschildt of Australia cut her 5:41 deficit after the swim to 1:10 after a women’s-best 2:16:20 bike split. Goss stood 4th at 1:28 arrears and Steffen, after losing minutes due to a mechanical issue, was 5th, 3:47 back of the leader.
Immediately on the run, Kahlefeldt passed Brandon and within 5 kilometers assumed a 45 seconds lead on Hauschildt. By 6.5 km, Kahlefeldt stretched her lead to 1:33 on Hauschildt, 3:10 on Goss, 5:30 on Steffen and 6:05 on Brandon.
After a women’s-fastest 1:21:57 half marathon, Kahlefeldt finished the race in 4:12:13 with a 7:59 margin on Lauren Goss and 9:33 on Caroline Steffen. As of this moment, there is a discrepancy in the final order as Goss was recorded in Ironman Live as finishing second but was not listed in the final Ironman results.
Fading, Melissa Hauschildt soldiered through an uncharacteristically slow 1:31:34 run to finish in 4:22:50, 10:37 behind Kahlefeldt. Beth McKenzie finished in 4:31:03 and Lauren Brandon came next in 4:32:20.
Kevin Collington of the U.S. led the swim in 25:12, which gave him a 5 seconds lead on Mendez and Braden Currie of New Zealand, 7 seconds on Brent McMahon of Canada, and 11 seconds on Casey Munro of Australia. In a pack 17 to 20 seconds back were three Aussies, defending three-time Cebu champion Tim Reed, Craig Alexander and Sam Betten as well as Tyler Butterfield of Bermuda and Luke McKenzie of Australia.
After 14 km of the bike leg, McKenzie took the lead followed closely by Reed, Collington, Munro and Tim Van Berkel. Halfway through the 90 kilometer bike leg, the leading riders were clumped in a pack of 13 led by Reed, Mendez, Alexander, Currie and McKenzie.
Beginning the third and final lap of the bike course, McKenzie and Currie – coming off a remarkable winning duel against Javier Gomez at Ironman Cairns – managed a small breakaway. But soon thereafter, Bermuda’s Tyler Butterfield broke up the party and took to the front.
At 60 km, Butterfield led the pack of 13 including Currie, McKenzie, Reed, Munro, Brent McMahon of Canada a week after his win at Ironman Canada, Collington, Mendez, David Mainwaring, Alexander, Mike Phillips of New Zealand, Betten and Jakub Langhammer of the Czech Republic.
At the 73km mark, the gang of 13 was whittled to 7 men – including McKenzie, Butterfield, Currie, Reed, Munro, Mendez and Phillips - who made a 20 seconds gap on McMahon, Betten, Langhammer, Alexander, Mainwaring and Collington.
After a 4th-best 2:03:44 bike split on tabletop flat Cebu roads, Currie led the pack of seven into T2 about to battle with super runners including 2016 70.3 World Champion Tim Reed, swift footed Mendez and Butterfield. The six chasers arrived 2 minutes later.
After a swift transition and to the first kilometer of the run, Butterfield surged into a 5 seconds gap on Currie and 15 seconds on Mendez and Reed. Butterfield, who ran 1:12:43 to win Santa Rosa 70.3 last month, held a 50 meter lead on Currie and Mendez at 2 kilometers. At 6.5 km, Butterfield and Currie ran together at the front with a 30 seconds lead on Mendez, 1:04 to Reed, 1:47 to McKenzie and 2:32 to Phillips.
Halfway through the run, Butterfield increased his lead to 15 seconds on Currie and 23 seconds on Mendez. Eight minutes later, Mendez accelerated to pass Currie for 2nd place. Seven minutes later, Mendez unleashed his afterburner and passed Butterfield. At 16.5 km, Mendez opened a 22 seconds lead on Butterfield and 42 seconds on Currie.
After a race-best 1:13:38 half marathon, Mendez crossed the finish line in 3:46:45 with a 54 seconds margin of victory on Butterfield and 1:27 on 3rd place finisher Currie.
This was Mendez’s second big win in the Philippines this year after his victory at Davao 70.3, and, at the age of 23, his sixth career 70.3 win.
Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific
August 5, 2018
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
To be updated
Preliminary results (subject to clarification of Lauren Goss official result)
1. Radka Kahlefeldt (CZE) 4:12:13 S 27:56 T1 2:23 B 2:18:00 T2 1:59 R 1:21:57
2. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 4:21:46 S 28:02 T1 2:26 B 2:21:26 T2 2:10 R 1:27:44
3. Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) 4:22:50 S 30:20 T1 2:37 B 2:16:20 T2 2:01 R 1:31:34
4. Beth McKenzie (USA) 4:31:03 S 32:47 T1 3:12 B 2:29:21 T2 2:31 R 1:23:14
5. Lauren Brandon (USA) 4:32:20 S 24:39 T1 2:45 B 2:20:43 T2 2:15 R 1:42:00
1. Mauricio Mendez (MEX) 3:46:45 S 25:16 T1 2:10 B 2:03:55 T2 1:48 R 1:13:38
2. Tyler Butterfield (BER) 3:47:39 S 25:29 T1 2:10 B 2:03:41 T2 1:38 R 1:14:42
3. Braden Currie (NZL) 3:48:12 S 25:17 T1 2:13 B 2:03:44 T2 1:45 R 1:15:15
4. Tim Reed (AUS) 3:52:51 S 25:33 T1 2:12 B 2:03:33 T2 1:50 R 1:19:45
5. Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:54:09 S 25:33 T1 2:12 B 2:03:33 T2 1:50 R 1:18:53