Australian Chris McDonald won his 4th Ironman distance title and Germany’s Nine Kraft her 9th at the classic distance and each of them won for the second time at Ford Ironman Louisville.
McDonald combined a 5th-best 51:47 swim, race-best 4:35:45 bike and 3rd-best 2:55:22 marathon to hit the finish in 8:27:36 with a 2:59 margin over runner-up Patrick Evoe of Austin Texas and 6:59 over Justin Daerr of Boulder Colorado.
McDonald came out of the Ohio River 5th in 51:47. But more important, he earned a 2:29 advantage on Evoe and a 1:52 on Daerr, who proved to be his most dangerous rivals.
McDonald won it on the bike, setting a 4:35:45 pace for the 112 miles, which put 3:25 on Evoe and 7:22 on Daerr. Through the bike, Paul Ambrose of Australia was right on McDonald’s tail, and arrived in T2 in a virtual tie after a 47:13 swim and 3rd-best 4:40:12 bike. However, Ambrose was overcome by the heat and humidity and fell off the back and perhaps dropped out on the run.
The win was McDonald’s 4th at the Iron distance and his second at Ironman Louisville after his breakthrough 2007 victory.
Nina Kraft won her 9th Ironman-distance victory and her second triumph at Ironman Louisville after her 2009 win at the city that hosts the famed Kentucky Derby.
Kraft led wire-to-wire with a women’s-best 50:14 swim that gave her a 3:53 advantage on top rival Jackie Arendt, a 5:22:47 bike that surrendered 44 seconds to the 27-year-old Madison, Wisconsin athlete, and a 3:19:17 run that gave back just 27 seconds to Arendt.
Leaning markedly to her left with exhaustion the last few miles in August heat and 83 percent humidity, the 42-year-old Kraft held her ground and crossed the line in 9:38:14, 2 minutes and 14 seconds ahead of Arendt.
A death in the swim
Ironman officials announced after the race that one of the 2,400 competitors died of a heart attack during the swim segment of the event. The name of the person who died was withheld until the family could be notified.
Ford Ironman Louisville
August 27, 2011
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Chris McDonald (AUS) 8:27:36
2. Patrick Evoe (USA) 8:30:35
3. Justin Daerr (USA) 8:34:35
4. Brian Scheall (USA) 9:07:25 * M25-29
5. Jason McMillian (USA) 9:10:29 * M35-39
6. Dave Harju (CAN)9:20:01
7. Ivan Albano (BRA) 9:21:39
8. Andrew Imrie (CAN) 9:21:43 * M30-34
9. Charles Massey (USA) 9:23:22 * M30-34
10. Frederic Boivin (CAN) 9:24:38
1. Nina Kraft (GER) 9:38:14
2. Jackie Arendt (USA) 9:40:28
3. Stephanie Jones (USA) 9:52:40
4. Donna Phelan (CAN) 10:01:34
5. Terra Castro (USA) 10:02:40
6. Cindy Lewis (CAN) 10:04:14
7. Marilyn McDonald (USA) 10:06:47
8. Hillary Biscay (USA) 10:09:32
9. K. Grogan (USA) 10:20:44
10. Marie Danais (CAN) 10:22:23