Brent McMahon stormed to the win at Ironman 70.3 St.George and American Kevin Collington grabbed the US Pro title with his second place finish. Meredith Kessler grabbed the US Pro women's title and the top of the podium.
Andy Potts was first out of the water in 22:40 with Ivan and Denis Vasiliev right on his heels. Brian Fleischmann was next 26 seconds later and Brent McMahon led a larger group into T1 38 seconds adrift of Potts.
Out on the bike Potts and the Vasiliev brothers started to open up a gap to the chasers and at one point their advantage reached almost 2 minutes over a large bunch that contained most of the favorites. Not content to let the trio up front get too much of an advantage TJ Tollakson attacked the group and Greg Bennett went with him. Tollakson's pace eventually forced Bennett to fall back, but with the big chasing bunch hovering reasonably close, he did not fall back too far. Tollakson managed to close the gap and led the now 4 strong leading bunch into the bike-run transition. Matty Reed headed the chasing bunch into T2 just under a minute behind the leaders.
The Vasiliev brothers were out on the run first, but it was the hard charging Brent McMahon who soon ran in the lead. His closing 1:13:20 run allowed him to take the win at Ironman 70.3 St. George in 3:51:10. Kevin Collington who had run a smart race all day finished second in 3:53:37 and grabbed the US title. Andy Potts held on to the final podium spot.
"I was as prepared for the course as best as I could be from training on it for two weeks, but you can never practice the full intensity and demands of a race. I felt solid on the bike but when through many tough patches and once on the run I found my rhythm and let it roll," said McMahon to slowtwitch. "The hills were challenging but they were my strength and opportunity to create gaps. I was so focused and determined, I never looked back once I took over the lead. I had the confidence I could hold off any challenger."
In the women's race it was the Svenja Bazlen show most of the day, but as we all know, it only matters what happens at the end. The German Olympian who finished second at 70.3 San Juan emerged from the water on the heals of Meredith Kessler and just ahead of Laura Bennett and quickly pulled into the lead.
On the bike it was all Bazlen and she eventually established a 4:30 lead, but behind her the battle was a bit tighter. Bazlen looked confident and calm and it was not apparent if she was burning too many matches. Behind her Annabel Luxford had moved up to Kessler with Heather Wurtele riding in fourth position on the road. When Bazlen reached the transition she was 4:22 up on Kessler and Luxford and about 6 minutes ahead of Wurtele.
On the run Kessler pulled away from Luxford and it was apparent that she was moving faster than Bazlen but not certain if she would have enough time left to make the catch. Kessler though looked faster and faster and with about 4 miles to go in the run Bazlen had Kessler breathing down her neck. Not much later the pass was made and Kessler pulled away and grabbed the win and the US Pro title in 4:17:11. Bazlen held on to second place in 4:18:46 and Heather Wurtele finished third in 4:20:26.
"Race week had already been a winning week with the birth of my nephew and our 5th year wedding anniversary. My heart was full of love and happiness so no matter what happened race day - life was good," said Kessler to slowtwitch. "Chasing Svenja absolutely became the theme of our day in the ladies' field. Svenja blew by Annabel and I early in the bike leg. We tried to match her pace for a bit but in doing so, I think we both realized that it was simply too strong. After 'Chasing Svenja' the majority of the day I was so thankful to run into the finish line a little ahead. As an American, snagging this US Pro Championship title means so much not only to me - but to the team of people that are such an integral part of getting me to the start line."
Ironman 70.3 St. George
St. George, Utah / May 4, 2013
1.2m swim / 56m bike / 13.1m run
1. Brent Mc Mahon (CAN) 3:51:10
2. Kevin Collington (USA) 3:53:37 *
3. Andy Potts (USA) 3:54:21
4. Ivan Vasiliev (RUS) 3:55:08
5. Denis Vasiliev (RUS) 3:55:59
6. Matt Reed (USA) 3:56:58
7. TJ Tollakson (USA) 3:57:00
8. Luke McKenzie (AUS) 3:57:03
9. Ivan Rana (ESP) 3:57:32
10. Trevor Wurtele (CAN) 3:57:55
1. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:17:11 *
2. Svenja Bazlen (GER) 4:18:46
3. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:20:26
4. Annabel Luxford (AUS) 4:23:09
5. Kelly Williamson (USA) 4:23:13
6. Lesley Paterson (GBR) 4:24:39
7. Julia Gajer (GER) 4:26:52
8. Sarah Piampiano (USA) 4:27:41
9. Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) 4:28:41
10. Leanda Cave (GBR) 4:29:04
* US Pro Champion