U.S. long course stars Timothy O’Donnell and Amanda Stevens won their first Ironman victories with impressive performances at Ironman Brazil in Florianopolis.
O’Donnell posted a tied-for-2nd-fastest 44:24 swim, a race-best 4:22:23 bike split and what may prove to be the race-best 2:50:44 run to finish in a course record 8:01:31 which gave him an 18:08 margin of victory over runner-up Igor Amorelli of Brazil and 23:30 over 3rd-place finisher Stefan Schmid of Germany. O’Donnell, the 2009 ITU long course world champion and 3rd place finisher at the 2010 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, broke through in the Ironman game after a 2011 runner-up finish at Texas and a 2012 second place finish at Coeur d’Alene.
O’Donnell’s swim was 5 seconds behind Brazilian Luiz Francisco and tied with 4-time Ironman Brazil winner Eduardo Sturla. The Naval Academy grad essentially won it on the bike as his 4:22:23 split was 10 minutes 21 seconds than the second fastest effort by Germany’s Stefan Schmid. And O’Donnell’s 2:50:44 run was at least 3:32 better than the marathon posted by his closest pursuer Schmid.
O’Donnell’s victory in course record time – just 91 seconds away from breaking the 8 hour mark – validates his early promise as an American contender at Kona where his best effort so far has been an 8th place finish last year just behind fellow American Andy Potts.
The win makes up for a disappointing start to 2013 in which O'Donnell crashed on the bike at San Juan 70.3 (althought he recovered to finish 3rd) and took a disappointing 10th at Ironman 70.3 California in Oceanside.
Super swimmer Stevens’ 48:44 split was in unaccustomed territory – the 2011 and 2012 Ironman Hawaii fastest woman’s swimmer and holder of the world best swim at the Ironman distance was second by 2 minutes 23 seconds to Haley Chura. On the bike, her 4:51:29 was 3rd-best to Silvia Felt’s 4:48:10 and three-time Ironman winner Jessie Donavan’s 4:50:29. And Stevens’ 3:25:39 run surrendered 11 minutes to runner-up Sara Gross’s race-best 3:14 run. But just as the essence of triathlon is a balanced three-sport effort, Stevens’ all-around game brought her to the line in a swift 9:05:52 with a 2:45 margin of victory over Gross and 4:36 over Gross.
Stevens’ win improves upon her previous best efforts at the distance, a 2nd place at Ironman UK last year, a 3rd place at Ironman Cozumel in 2010, and a 4th place at Ironman Arizona in 2011..
May 26, 2013
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Timothy O’Donnell (USA) 8:01:31
2. Igor Amorelli (BRA) 8:19:39
3. Stefan Schmid (GER) 8:25:01
4. Mario De Elias (ARG) 8:31:58
5. Santiago Alves Ascenco (BRA) 8:32:19
6. Petr Vabrousek (CZE) 8:32:21
7. Thiago Dario Vinhal (BRA) 8:37:53
8. Blake Becker (USA) 8:38: 46
T9 Emerson Silva Cruz (CAN) 8:41:33
T9 Ciro Violin (BRA) 8:41:33
1. Amanda Stevens (USA) 9:05:52
2. Sara Gross (CAN) 9:08:37
3. Jessie Donavan (USA) 9:10:28
4. Mirjam Weerd (NED) 9:21:03
5. Haley Chura (USA) 9:24:42