David McNamee of Great Britain and Emma Bilham of Switzerland won the Challenge Galway half on a cold and rainy day on Ireland's Connemara coast.
Dylan McNeice of New Zealand led the swim in 20:30, earning a 30 seconds lead on Kevin Thornton of Ireland, 31 seconds on McNamee, 3:03 on Joe Skipper of Great Britain, and 4:44 on Jens Frommhold of Germany.
Thanks to a swift transition, McNamee led the field on to the bike and he and Skipper, McNeice and Thornton rode most of the way together. Skipper led into T2 thanks to a race-best 2:10:16 bike split that gave him a 3 seconds lead on McNeice, 35 seconds on Thornton, 39 seconds on McNamee, and 7 minutes on Frommhold.
McNamee quickly opened a 1:40 lead in the first 5 kilometers and settled matters with a race-best 1:12:23 half marathon. This brought him to the finish in 3:51:47, with a 3:24 margin of victory over Skipper (3rd-best 1:15:30 run), 5:03 over 3rd place McNeice (4th-best 1:17:11 run), and 7 minutes over 4th place Thornton (1:19:03 run). Jens Frommhold of Germany advanced to 5th with a 2nd-best 1:14:32 run that was 10:09 back of the winner.
Afterwards, McNamee revealed the tactics that prevailed on a back and forth battle with Skipper, McNeice and Thornton: “I swam well and felt comfortable,” said McNamee. “During the first 40 kilometers on the bike I tried to push hard, but I couldn't break away. Because we were with 4 or 5 together in the leading group, the race became more tactical. I knew it was going to be decided in the run. Coming out of transition, I immediately found my running legs. I opened up a gap early on and held it to the finish. I'm really glad with my first win for BMC Etixx team, powered by Uplace.”
Bilham led start to finish with a women’s-best swim (23:42), women’s 2nd-best bike (2:25:15), and women's-best run (1:21:29) to finish in 4:16:35, with a 5:34 margin of victory over Lucy Gossage of Great Britain and 11:06 over 3rd-place Laura Siddall, also of Great Britain.
Gossage posted the women’s-best 2:24:31 bike split and Siddall had the women’s 2nd-best 1:22:57 run.
June 26, 2016
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. David McNamee (GBR) 3:51:47
2. Joe Skipper (GBR) 3:55:11
3. Dylan McNeice (NZL) 3:56:50
4. Kevin Thornton (IRL) 3:58:47
5. Jens Frommhold (GER) 4:01:56
1. Emma Bilham (SUI) 4:16:35
2. Lucy Gossage (GBR) 4:22:09
3. Laura Siddall (GBR) 4:27:41
4. Aine Donegan (IRL) 4:46:36
5. Anne Jensen (DEN) 4:48:35