Germans Patrick Lange and Julia Gajer prevailed at the Ironman North America Championship at The Woodlands, Texas on a day during which the pros finished just before a severe rainstorm soaked the age group field and forced organizers to red flag the contest until the rains subsided.
Lange combined an 8th-best 48:55 swim with a 13th-fastest 3:39:28 split for the shorter than standard 94-mile bike course with a by-far race-best 2:40:01 full marathon. Lange and a pack of 15 men trailed early leader Andrew Starykowicz through the bike leg by 14 and a half minutes before Starykowicz had to retire with a pinched nerve in his foot a third of the way through the run.
Lange finished in 7:13:13 with an 8:43 margin of victory over Matt Russell of the U.S. and 12:42 over 3rd-place Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand.
Gajer emerged from the swim in 7th, trailing swim leader Lauren Brandon of the U.S. by 6:20, Alicia Kaye of the U.S. by 2:27, and Ironman veteran Rebekah Keat by 1:11. After a women's-best 4:01:44 bike split, Gajer whittled Brandon's lead to 5:47 and led Rebekah Keat, Alicia Kaye and Jocelyn McCauley by 3 minutes. After sub-par 1:06 and 1:07 swims and competitive bike legs, Jodie Robertson of the U.S. trailed Gajer by 13 minutes and Lisa Roberts trailed Gajer by 17 minutes. Super runner Kelley Williamson combined a 54:49 swim with a 4:17:11 bike split to trail Gajer by 16 minutes.
After 7.7 miles of the run, Gajer seized a 3:46 lead on Brandon, 4:57 on Keat, 6:17 on Kaye, 7:48 on Jocelyn McCauley, 9:50 on Kirsty Jahn, 12:53 on Robertson 13:09 on Lisa Roberts, and 13:43 on Williamson.
By Mile 13.4 Gajer led Kaye by 7:59, Kirsty Jahn by 8:58, Robertson by 10:40, Lisa Roberts by 11:16, and Jocelyn McCauley by 11:54.
At 19.3 miles, Robertson ran into 2nd place, 8:12 behind Gajer, on her way to a 2nd-best 2:59:26 marathon. Roberts, on her way to a women's-best 2:59:03 marathon, surged into 4th place, 7 seconds behind Kirsty Jahn. By 22 miles, Robertson trimmed Gajer's lead to 7:19, while Roberts passed Jahn into 3rd, 1:14 back of Robertson.
At the finish, Gajer's 3:08:49 was good enough to finish in 8:11:01 with a 5:29 margin of victory over Robertson and 6:57 on 3rd-place Roberts. Kelly Williamson took 4th, 4:08 behind Roberts and 7:23 ahead of 5th-place Alicia Kaye.
Ironman North America Championship
The Woodlands, Texas
May 14, 2016
S 2.4 mi. / B 94 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Patrick Lange (GER) 7:13:13
2. Matt Russell (USA) 7:21:56
3. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 7:25:55
4. Jeremy Jurkiewicz (FRA) 7:28:30
5. Clemente Alonzo-McKernan (ESP) 7:30:59
6. Justin Daerr (USA) 7:31:39
7. Chris McDonald (USA) 7:33:08
8. Stephen Kilshaw (CAN) 7:341
9. Matic Modic (SVN) 7:35:08
10. Callum Millward (NZL) 7:36:23
13. Eneko Llanos (ESP) 7:42:41
21. Jordan Rapp (USA) 7:55:18
26. Matt Hanson (USA) 8:07:07
DNF Andrew Starykowicz (USA)
1. Julia Gajer (GER) 8:11:01
2. Jodie Robertson (USA) 8:16:30
3. Lisa Roberts (USA) 8:17:58
4. Kelly Williamson (USA) 8:22:06
5. Alicia Kaye (USA) 8:29:29
6. Christine Hammond (USA) 8:32:37
7. Jessica Jones Meyers (USA) 8:39:11
8. Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) 8:45:13
9. Katy Blakemore (USA) 8:46:22
10. Jocelyn McCauley (USA) 8:47:09