McKenzie and Imaizumi win 2008 Ironman Japan

Luke McKenzie (AUS) was victorious at the 2008 Ironman Japan in a course record time of 8:29:11 and can now add an Ironman title to his rapidly growing resume. Naomi Imaizumi (JAP) repeated in her home country as the winner in the women's race.

Luke McKenzie and Mathieu O'Halloran (CAN) emerged from the waters first with a 1 minute lead over the closest pursuer. Once on the bike though McKenzie quickly got rid of the Canadian and any other potential challengers and built up an almost 7 minute lead by the 75k mark. Mitchell Anderson though started to come back from a slower swim and by the time they hit 115k, he was just about 6 minutes behind his fellow country man McKenzie. He eventually managed to close the gap down to 3 minutes by the time they hit T2. McKenzie though was not going to be denied on his quest for his first Ironman title and he steadily increased his lead on the run. He eventually crossed the line victorious in a record time of 8:29:11. Anderson held on to second place and Hans Muehlbauer rounded out the podium.

In the women's race it was Sarah Pollett (AUS) who took a substantial early lead after a very strong swim. That lead though quickly diminshed on the bike as Bree Wee (USA) and defending champion Naomi Imaizumi rapidly made up time. By the 25k mark, Wee had taken the lead and Imaizumi looked even stronger a few minutes further back. Imaizumi continued to gain on the new leader and took the lead shortly before the halfway point of the bike. For quite some time these 2 competitors then rode together but towards the end of the bike Imaizumi managed to get away from Wee. Once on the run, Imaizumi still looked strong and managed to defend her title from 2007. Wee crossed the line in second place and Pollett held on to third.

Top 10 men

1. Luke McKenzie (AUS) 8:29:11
2. Mitchell Anderson (AUS) 8:38:34
3. Hans Muehlbauer (GER) 8:39:48
4. Hayato Kawahara (JAP) 8:48:00
5. Han SeokJoo (KOR) 8:50:49
6. Daiki Masuda (JAP) 8:51:26
7. Masayuki Matsumaru (JAP) 8:52:53
8. Shingo Tani (JAP) 8:57:11
9. Takuya Shibata (JAP) 8:58:32
10. Hiroyuki Nishiuchi (JAP) 8:59:32

Top 10 women

1. Naomi Imaizumi (JAP) 9:33:59
2. Bree Wee (USA) 9:37:12
3. Sarah Pollett (AUS) 9:54:30
4. Saki Kubota (JAP) 10:10:47
5. Simone Hakenberg (NED) 10:30:45 *
6. Anne Martin (AUS) 10:37:05 *
7. Megumi Kobayashi (JAP) 10:37:28 *
8. Sachi Kojima (JAP) 10:38:18 *
9. Elizabeth Gordon (AUS) 10:38:43 *
10. Margit Messinger-Walek (AUT) 10:41:36 *

* = AG athlete