American Sam Long and Canadian Paula Findlay capped their 2022 seasons with nail-biting finishes at IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells on December 4.
Long outdueled Canadian Jackson Laundry by 48 seconds thanks to a grinding run. Laundry finished an impressive second after racing Clash Daytona on Friday. Belgian Bart Aernouts finished third, just ahead of Canadian Lionel Sanders. The top four were separated by just 1:42 in a stacked end-of-the-year field.
Findlay blitzed the bike and held on during the run over countrywoman Tamara Jewett, who ran a screaming half-marathon to nearly take the victory. American Danielle Lewis was third, 5:18 back.
Olympic distance specialist Leon Pauger of Austria stepped up to the middle-distance and led the men out of the water in a pack of three. Long came out of the water 1:46 down and was closely followed by Laundry. Aernouts was 2:24 back and Sanders came out of the water 3:35 behind the leaders, the fifth slowest swimmer of the day.
Halfway through the bike it was Long and Laundry who broke away and formed a pack of two. They finished the 56 mile bike leg together, but it was Long who built a small lead during the run. The American’s gap was helped by Laundry’s tough effort on Friday when he came in eighth at Clash Daytona and flew across the country to compete in California on Sunday.
Long finished in 3:43:34, and Laundry finished in 3:44:22. Beligan Bart Aernouts had the second fastest run of the day to finish a close third in 3:45:08. Sanders couldn’t make up the deficit from his swim and in his first race since becoming a father finished in 3:45:16.
American Jeanni Metzler was closely followed by Findlay out of the water, who gapped the rest of the women’s field during the swim. Lisa Perterer was 1:07 back, and Jewett was 1:19 back.
Findlay quickly took charge of the race by pushing the pace on the bike. She built a commanding six minute lead at the end of the bike leg and appeared to be cruising to victory. Second off the bike was Lewis, followed by Jewett.
But Jewett pushed the pace on the run, and the gap to Findlay slowly dwindled. However Findlay held on for victory with a time of 4:06:10. Jewett was 46 seconds back, finishing in 4:06:57. Lewis finished in 4:11:29.
1) Sam Long (USA) 3:43:34
2) Jackson Laundry (CAN) 3:44:22
3) Bart Aernouts (BEL) 3:45:08
4) Lionel Sanders (CAN) 3:45:16
5) Matt McElroy (USA) 3:51:48
6) Justin Riele (USA) 3:52:49
7) Leon Pauget (AUT) 3:53:35
8) Marty Andrie (USA) 3:56:35
1) Paula Findlay (CAN) 4:06:10
2) Tamara Jewett (CAN) 4:06:57
3) Danielle Lewis (USA) 4:11:29
4) Jeanni Metzler (USA) 4:15:46
5) Lisa Perterer (AUT) 4:19:36
6) Jeanne Collonge (FRA) 4:27:38
7) Elizabeth Heinbach (USA) 4:35:46
8) Danielle Treise (USA) 4:40:11
Photo Credit: (Patrick McDermott / Getty Images for IRONMAN)