Mirinda Carfrae of Australia broke Linsey Corbin’s women’s race record and Marino Vanhoenacker of Belgium won his record 8th title at Ironman Austria-Kärnten.
Carfrae combined a 59:15 swim, a sizzling 4:47:39 bike split and a 2:49:06 marathon to finish in 8:41:17, which was 1:25 better than Corbin’s 2014 mark and is the 11th-fastest women’s Ironman-distance time in history. Carfrae finished 16:06 in front of runner-up Michaela Herlbauer of Austria and 30:30 ahead of 3rd-place finisher Elisabeth Gruber of Austria.
Carfrae’s performance today indicates that she will be a formidable rival for defending Ironman World Champion Daniela Ryf, who dominated Kona last year when Carfrae dropped out on the bike leg with physical ailments.
Carfrae’s 2:49:06 marathon appears to be the 3rd-best women's Ironman-distance marathon split in history, falling behind only Chrissie Wellington’s 2:44:35 at 2011 Roth and 2:48:54 at 2010 Roth. Carfrae’s Ironman Austria marathon today tops her previous PR – 2:50:38 at the 2013 Ironman World championship in Kona. While Ironman.com coverage today cites a 2:41 marathon by Kristin Moeller at Ironman UK in 2011, the 2011 Ironman UK results do not include Moeller.
Vanhoenacker swam a 3rd-best 52:38 split, a race-best 4:19:57 bike leg and a 2nd-best 2:47:13 run to finish in 8:04:18 with a 5:36 margin of victory over Viktor Zyemtsev of Ukraine. Zyemtsev, a 3-time Ironman Austria champion, finished with a blazing fast 2:39:54 run – a remarkable performance at age 43.
Vanhoenacker’s 8 victory streak at Ironman Austria falls four wins shy of Cameron Brown’s 12 victories at Ironman New Zealand, 2 wins shy of Mark Allen’s 10 victories at the Nice International Triathlon, and ties Ronnie Schildknecht’s 8 wins at Ironman Switzerland.
Karen Thibodeau of Canada led the women’s swim in 57:32, 1:42 ahead of Michaela Herlbauer of Austria, 1:43 ahead of 3-time Ironman World Champion Carfrae, and 4:07 ahead of Amber Ferreira of the U.S.
Carfrae took charge halfway through the bike leg, leading Herlbauer by 4:04, Thibodeau by 7:23, Amber Ferreira of the U.S. by 8:59, and Elisabeth Gruber of Austria by 13:06. After her women’s-best 4:47:39 bike split, Carfrae led Herlbauer by 5:53 with everyone else off in a different time zone – led by Ferreira with a 15:43 deficit.
Not content to cruise to the win, Carfrae opened up with a 5:53 first mile – 5 second faster than Vanhoenacker. Carfrae charged through the first half marathon in 1:23:16, 11:10 in front of Herlbauer, 23 minutes ahead of Ferreira, and 28 minutes ahead of Gruber.
Carfrae slowed only fractionally, clocking 1:25:50 for the final half marathon to add up to a 2:49:06 run and 8:41:17 finish time.
Herlbauer also broke the 9-hour barrier, posting a 2nd-best 4:53:47 bike split and 2nd-fastest 2:59:22 marathon to finish in 8:57:23.
Thiago Vinhal of Brazil led a slower-than-usual swim in Lake Wörthersee with a 52:34 split. This gave him a 2:46 lead on Antony Costes of France, who led a closely placed pack of seven which included 7-time Kärnten winner Vanhoenacker, Alessandro Degasperi of Italy, Ironman rookie Paul Reitmayr of Austria, Xavier Torrades of Spain, Gergo Molnar of Hungary, and 3-time Ironman Austria winner Viktor Zyemtsev of Ukraine. Potential challengers further off the pace included Davide Plese of Slovenia (+5:56), Christian Birngruber of Austria (+6:23), Michael Weiss of Austria (+6:26), and Bart Aernouts of Belgium (+6:58).
Vanhoenacker made quick work of Vinhal, taking a 4 and 6 seconds lead on Costes and Reitmayr by 23 km with Zyemtsev first chaser at +1.29, followed by Degasperi, Molnar and Torrades 2 and a half minutes arrears. Strong cyclists Weiss and Plese began a surge at 4-plus minutes. Halfway through the speedy bike leg, Costes, Reitmayr and Vanhoenacker worked together to open up a 3:53 lead on Plese and Weiss, 10:42 on Zyemtsev and 11:20 on the Aernouts, Degasperi and Birngruber trio.
With 30 kilometers to go, Vanhoenacker began to open a gap, leading Costes by 32 seconds, Reitmayr by 49 seconds and Weiss by 4:26. Falling behind, Plese was 5th at +7:56, Degasperi and Aernouts 6th and 7th at +11:33, and Zyemtsev 8th at +11:35. After a race-best 4:19:57 bike split, Vanhoenacker led Costes by 4:11, Reitmayr by 4:15 and Weiss (2nd-fastest 4:21:04 bike split) by 4:52. Dangerous runner and Kärnten master Zyemtsev was 8th, 12:51 down.
Halfway through the marathon, Vanhoenacker edged closer to a record 8th victory, leading Weiss by 6:20 and Reitmayr by 7:26, with Zyemtsev moving up to 4th and chipping away the deficit to 8:21. By 27km, Zyemtsev advanced to 2nd, 7:05 down, 30 seconds ahead of Weiss, 2:37 ahead of Reitmayr, and 2:49 ahead of Plese.
After a 2:47:13 run, Vanhoenacker won his 8th Ironman Austria title in 8:04:18 with a 5:36 margin of victory over Zyemtsev, who looked anything but worn out after a race-best 2:39:58 marathon at 43 years of age. Degasperi finished strong to take 3rd in 8:13:53, 52 seconds ahead of 4th place and top Austrian Michael Weiss, who was 34 seconds ahead of 5th place David Plese.
June 26, 2016
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 8:41:17
2. Michaela Herlbauer (AUT) 8:57:23
3. Elisabeth Gruber (AUT) 9:17:20
4. Amber Ferreira (USA) 9:34:51
5. Katrine Amtkjaer Nielsen (DEN) 9:40:01 * W35-39
6. Michaela Rudolf (AUT) 9:43:59
7. Karen Thibodeau (CAN) 9:44:43
8. Rike Westermann (GER) 9:53:00 * W30-34
9. Mathilde Magniez (FRA) 10:06:47 * W25-29
10. Marni Sumbal (USA) 10:06:54 * W30-34
1. Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 8:04:18
2. Viktor Zyemtsev (UKR) 8:09:54
3. Alessandro Degasperi (ITA) 8:13:53
4. Michael Weiss (AUT) 8:14:45
5. David Plese (SLO) 8:15:19
6. Bart Aernouts (BEL) 8:16:32
7. Paul Reitmayr (AUT) 8:19:52
8. Denis Sketako (SLO) 8:24:23
9. Matic Modic (SLO) 8:29:39
10. Carlos Aznar Gallego (ESP) 8:37:37