Kirill Kotshegarov, 23, following in the footsteps of fellow Estonian Ironman winner Ain Alar Juhanson, broke the race open on the bike, while 29-year-old Belgian Sofie Goos combined a second-best swim, second-best bike and fourth-best run to take the win at Ford Ironman Florida Saturday.
Kotshegarov started off four minutes behind Australian Luke McKenzie on the swim, made up two minutes with a race-best 4:28:03 bike, and took over from a fading McKenzie at Mile 9 of the run. From then on, Kotshegarov held on with a 2:57:11 marathon, which held off fast-closing runner-up Maxim Kriat of the Ukraine (2:53:56 marathon) and third place Italian Massimo Cigana (race-best 2:52:01 marathon) by margins of 2:22 and 3:35 respectively. Kotshegarov finished in 8:24:29.
McKenzie, coming off a 15th place finish four weeks ago at Ironman Hawaii, started fast on the swim and bike, but ran out of steam halfway through the run and finished with a 3:13:48 survival marathon that left him in 7th place.
Goos, who won the Iron-distance Challenge Costa Barcelona Maresme just a month ago in 9:08:01, took just 37 seconds more to win the Ford Ironman Florida by a margin of 4:09 over Tamara Kozulina of the Ukraine, with five-time Ironman Florida winner Bella Bayliss another 65 seconds back in third place.
Nina Kraft led out the swim in 56:01, with Denmark’s Charlotte Kolters next in 56:26 and Heather Gollnick third in 57:30. Gollnick was two minutes ahead of Goos, another second ahead of Bayliss of Scotland, and a few more seconds ahead of Sweden’s Tove Wiklund, with always dangerous Tamara Kozulina of the Ukraine six minutes back of Gollnick. In mild mid-70 temperatures and only occasional gusts, Kolters quickly went to the lead, and at Mile 20 had a 2:26 margin on former Ironman Florida winner Kraft, 2:53 on Wiklund, 3:05 on Goos, 3:26 on Gollnick and 4:04 on Bayliss with Kozulina 8:58 arrears. Halfway through the bike, Wiklund took over from Kolters, who stuck with the Swede while Goos hung third 4:37 back, with Bayliss and Gollnick about 30 seconds back. Nina Kraft pulled out midway through the bike with an inner ear infection which left her too dizzy to continue.
By 90 miles, Kolters retook the lead as Wiklund tucked in three seconds back, with Goos 3:33 back and Gollnick and Bayliss 7 minutes down.
Starting the run, Kolters had a 2:37 lead on Kolters, with Goos 3:24 down and Bayliss, who DNF’d at Ironman Hawaii, 9:01 back. Kolters, who was fighting a losing battle with a severe pre race cold, hung on grimly until Mile 9, when Goos took over. By Mile 13, Kolters was 3:06 back and pulled out a short while later. By Mile 18, Bayliss in second, 3:56 back, Wiklund 6:07 back in third, and Kozulina charging hard. By Mile 22, Bayliss faded to 5:15 back of the leader, with Kozulina right on her heels.
At the end, Goos’ 3:11:29 marathon put her across the line first with a 4:09 margin over Kozulina, who closed in second place with a second-best 3:06:52 marathon. Bayliss, not running her best, took third with a 3:11:07 marathon, while Danish pro Joan Blafoss of Denmark raged into fourth with a race-best 3:01:46 marathon.
Ford Ironman Florida
Panama City Beach, Florida
November 7, 2009
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Kirill Kotshegarov (EST) 8:24:29
2. Maxim Kriat (UKR) 8:26:51
3. Massimo Cigana (ITA) 8:28:04
4. Nick Saunders (GBR) 8:31:44
5. Christoph Bastie (FRA) 8:35:29
6. Peter Schoissengeier (AUT) 8:37:03
7. Luke McKenzie (AUS) 8:37:59
8. Raynard Tissink (RSA) 8:40:21
9. Brandon Marsh (USA) 8:42:41
10. Tim Hola (USA) 8:47:23 * M35-39
11. Romain Guillaume (FRA) 8:47:52
12. Justin Daerr (USA) 8:48:18
1. Sofie Goos (BEL) 9:08:38
2. Tamara Kozulina (UKR) 9:12:47
3. Bella Bayliss (GBR) 9:13:52
4. Joan Blafoss (DEN) 9:21:11
5. Heather Gollnick (USA) 9:22:13
6. Jessica Jacobs (USA) 9:27:40
7. Tove Wiklund (SWE) 9:30:48
8. Katja Meyers (USA) 9:35:53
9. Gabriela Loskotova (CZE) 9:43:15
10. Jocelyn Wong (USA) 9:54:27