Andy Potts won his 5th Ironman 70.3 California title with a come-from-behind sprint to the finish by 10 seconds over Jesse Thomas while Heather Jackson of Bend, Oregon dominated the women’s field for her first Oceanside victory.
Potts took a narrow lead with a 20:47 swim but fell to 2nd, 3:31 behind the dominating 2:11:11 bike split of German Andi Bocherer.
Three miles into the run, Potts, defending Wildflower champ Jesse Thomas and Ronnie Schildknecht of Switzerland cut 30 seconds into Bocherer’s lead. By Mile 4.5, Potts, Thomas and the U.S.’s Jordan Jones cut the gap to 2 minutes while Schildknecht dropped 30 seconds off the top chase pace. Halfway through the run, Bocherer’s lead was down to 1:10 and it seemed that the German’s kamikaze bike was dooming his chance to win.
At mile 9, Thomas made his move, passed Bocherer and opened up a 20 seconds gap on Potts with Bocherer falling 45 seconds back. At Mile 11.3, Potts cut Thomas’ lead to 16 seconds and began a gradual surge back toward the leader while Bocherer hung grimly to 3rd, 58 seconds back.
With 300 meters to go along the Oceanside concrete seaside path, Potts put on the afterburners and left former NCAA steeplechase star Thomas in his wake.
Potts crossed the finish for his 5th Oceanside 70.3 victory in a swift 3:49:45 with a 10 seconds margin over runner-up Thomas after a 2nd-fastest 1:10:31 run. Bocherer, after fading with a 9th-best 1:16:25 run, finished 2:11 behind to finish 3rd in 3:51:56.
Schildknecht, making up some ground with a 4th-fastest 1:12:47 run, finished 4th , 13 seconds back of Bocherer, while Austin, Texas-based Brandon March finished 5th in 3:52:32. Canada’s Brent McMahon used a race-best 1:10:28 run to claw back from out of the top 10 on the bike to 6th place, 22 seconds back of Marsh.
Potts previously won this talent-packed, early season 70.3 event in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. The only time he has been beaten at this event was by Matt Reed, who edged Potts by 1:46 in 2009.
Heather Jackson, who finished 2nd at this race in 2011 and 2012, fell 2:30 back of Radka Vodickova after the swim, then worked her way back to 4th place, 1:30 back of leader Amy Marsh, after a race-best 2:27:53 bike split. Jackson took absolute charge of the race at Mile 2 of the run, passing Marsh into the lead on her way to a 2nd-best 1:17:32 split that brought her to the finish in 4:13:48.
The win comes just weeks after Jackson prevailed in a duel with ITU star Sarah Groff to win Escape From Alcatraz.
Canadian Heather Wurtele seems to have found a first-rate run to go with her swim and biking skills. Wurtele ran a 5th-best 1:19:50 to finish 2nd, 2:23 back of Jackson. Reigning 2-time XTERRA World Champion Lesley Paterson of Scotland and San Diego advanced from 6th after the bike leg to 3rd at the finish with a sizzling-fast, race-best 1:16:21 half marathon run to finish 3rd, 1:35 back of Wurtele and 55 seconds ahead of 4th place Linsey Corbin. Marsh, who closed with a 1:24:38 run, finished 5th in 4:19:44.
Three-time Oceanside champion [2009-2010-2011] Mirinda Carfrae of Australia suffered a bike penalty when stuck behind a male pro, which cost her several minutes and a lot of momentum and left her off the chase with a 2:38:28 bike split. Carfrae closed her race with a 1:19:16 run which brought her to the finish in 8th place, 4:31 back of 7th place Rachel Joyce of Great Britain and 2 seconds ahead of 9th place Radka Vodickova of the Czech Republic.
Accenture Ironman 70.3 California
March 30, 2013
S 1.2 mi/ / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Andy Potts (USA) 3:49:45
2. Jesse Thomas (USA) 3:49:55
3. Andi Bocherer (GER) 3:51:56
4. Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) 3:52:09
5. Brandon Marsh (USA) 3:52:32
6. Brent McMahon (CAN) 3:53:54
7. Jordan Jones (USA) 3:54:04
8. Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) 3:55:30
9. Luke McKenzie (AUS) 3:55:39
10. Timothy O’Donnell (USA) 3:55:43
1. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:13:48
2. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:16:11
3. Lesley Paterson (GBR) 4:17:46
4. Linsey Corbin (USA) 4:18:41
5. Amy Marsh (USA) 4:19:44
6. Camilla Pedersen (DNK) 4:20:04
7. Rachel Joyce (GBR) 4:21:12
8. Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 4:25L43
9. Radka Vodickova (CZE) 4:25:45
10. Amber Ferreira (USA) 4:30:37