Tim Reed of Australia and Holly Lawrence of Great Britain won Ironman 70.3 Worlds in Mooloolaba.
Reed fought 2-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion Sebastian Kienle in a duel to the end, prevailing by 2 seconds in a finish line dash. Reed finished in 3:44:13 with a 2 seconds margin on Kienle and 25 seconds on Ruedi Wild of Switzerland.
Lawrence took a 3:46 lead after a women’s-best 2:19:28 bike split and then held off a charging 1:18:43 run by Melissa Hauschildt. Lawrence took the win in 4:09:12 with a 1:57 margin of victory over Hauschildt and 4:24 over 3rd-place Wurtele.
Former ITU short course racer Josh Amberger set an Ironman 70.3 men’s swim record of 21:56, giving him a 29 seconds lead on two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion Craig Alexander, 30 seconds on 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Champion Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand, 32 seconds on Sam Appleton of Australia, 33 seconds on Brent McMahon of Canada, 37 seconds on 2006 ITU Olympic distance World Champion Tim Don of Great Britain, 39 seconds on Maurice Clavel of Germany, and 42 seconds on Tim Reed of Australia.
Further back were Tyler Butterfield of Bermuda (+1:01), Taylor Reid of Canada (+2:14), Sebastian Kienle of Germany (+2:18), Trevor Wurtele of Canada (+2:42), and the ever-dangerous biker-runner Lionel Sanders of Canada (+3:45).
Amberger led the men‘s field through 23k, 10 seconds ahead of a group that included uberbikers Andreas Dreitz and Sebastian Kienle of Germany, Bozzone, Appleton, Mark Bowstead, Reed, Butterfield, Joe Gambles, and Alexander.
Approaching the steep, challenging section on Upper Rosemount Road, Maurice Clavel of Germany, who placed 2nd at Ironman 70.3 Barcelona this May, broke away from the chase pack on his way to joining Dreitz and Kienle in the lead, while Tim Reed led the chase pack that included Appleton, Amberger, Ruedi Wild of Switzerland, Alexander and Don.
At 51km, 23 men were within a minute while Sanders was 24th, 2:35 behind.
By 63km of the bike, Kienle led Clavel by 1 second while Bozzone, Reed, Gambles, McMahon, Dreitz, Alexander, Appleton and Amberger followed in a line from 14 to 22 seconds arrears. Tyler Butterfield, charging hard, was advancing fast on the leaders.
When the men entered T2, all the breakaways had failed. Butterfield led a tightly packed bunch of 15 by 1 second ahead of Kienle, 4 seconds over Dreitz, 6 seconds over Bozzone, 9 seconds over Amberger, 10 seconds over Reed, 11 over Appleton, 13 over Clavel, 15 seconds over Mark Bowstead, 19 seconds over Gambles, 25 seconds over 43-year-old Alexander, 28 seconds over McMahon, and 29 seconds over Don. Initial reports did not mention Sanders.
Bike split leaders were Kienle (2:04:45), Dreitz (2:05:36), Butterfield (2:05:55), Tim Reed (2:06:12), and Terenzo Bozzone (2:06:20).
And so this 70.3 championship race evolved into what experts call "a wet half marathon" - a pure and simple run.
By 10.4km into the half marathon, the men‘s race was becoming clear. Reed and Kienle were running elbow to elbow, with Appleton and Clavel 24 and 25 seconds back. Wild and Bozzone were battling at 30 seconds behind. Dreitz was 8th (+1:00), Alexander 9th (+1:44), and Butterfield 10th (+1:46), with Don and Amberger falling further back.
Running on the bridge over the Maroochydore River, Reed and Kienle were in a league of their own, exchanging the lead five or six times. Nearing the end, Kienle surged to a 15 seconds lead on Reed while Ruedi Wild of Switzerland attacked, threatening to take over 2nd.
Just when things were looking grim for Reed, Tim re-surged away from Wild and passed Kienle to take the win as both men collapsed with exhaustion at the finish. Reed closed with a race-best 1:11:03 run to finish in 3:44:14 with a 2 seconds margin on Kienle (1:11:18 run) and 25 seconds on 3rd-place Ruedi Wild , who ran to the final spot on the podium with a 2nd-best 1:11:07 run.
“Sebi broke me about four times out there,” said Reed at the finish. But the German needed to do it one more time and had no more energy left.
As usual, Lauren Brandon of the U.S. topped the women’s swim. Her 22:53 split led Holly Lawrence of Great Britain by 29 seconds, Radka Vodickova of the Czech Republic by 1:16, Annabel Luxford of Australia by 1:16, 2012 Ironman 70.3 World champion Leanda Cave of Great Britain by 1:17, defending 70.3 World champion Daniela Ryf and fellow Swiss Caroline Steffen by 1:18, Magali Tisseyre of Canada by 1:21, and Alicia Kaye of the U.S. by 1:23.
Dangerous biker-runner Heather Wurtele of Canada and Ellie Salthouse of Australia joined the chase pack further down.
Soon into the ride, Lawrence, who won 70.3s at Vineman and Mt. Tremblant earlier this year, took the lead from Brandon. By 40km, Lawrence and Brandon had a 2:43 to 2:54 lead on a group that included Ryf, Steffen, Cave, Wurtele, Kaye, Luxford, Salthouse, and Vodickova.
By 63km, Lawrence broke away from Brandon, who lagged 58 seconds behind. From 3:41 to 3:49 arrears came Steffen, Cave, Kaye, Wurtele, Tisseyre, Luxford, Ryf and Salthouse.
Notably, Ryf seemed to lack her dominant bike legs. As Lawrence left Brandon 1:35 behind on the hills, Cave, Steffen, Kaye and Luxford pulled away from the rest of the chasers - still nearly 4 minutes back of the leader.
Arriving in T2, Lawrence led Brandon by 3:46, Wurtele by 4:51, Steffen by 4:53, Kaye by 5:00, and Melissa Hauschildt, a pre race co-favorite pushing hard after a sub-par swim in 6th place, trailing by 5:15. Ryf, showing fatigue, stood 8th, (+5:23), Tisseyre 9th (+5:25), and Cave 10th (+5:34).
Pushing hard, Hauschildt advanced to 2nd place and reduced Lawrence’s lead to 3:30 at 7km, with Steffen in 3rd, 30 seconds further back. By 10km, Hauschildt whittled her deficit to 3:22 with Steffen 40 seconds further back.
After 15km, Hauschildt cut Lawrence’s lead to 2:51 and hopes for the 2-time Ironman 70.3 champion were fading. At the same time, Wurtele passed Steffen for 3rd.
After an 11th place finish at this championship last year, the 26-year-old Lawrence dominated with a women’s-best 2:19:28 bike and decent run that brought her to the finish in 4:09:11 with a 1:57 margin on Hauschildt and 4:24 on 3rd-place Heather Wurtele of Canada.
To be updated
Ironman 70.3 World Championship
September 4, 2016
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Tim Reed (AUS) 3:44:13
2. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 3:44:15
3. Ruedi Wild (SUI) 3:44:39
4. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:45:51
5. Sam Appleton (AUS) 3:46:01
6. Nicholas Kastelein (AUS) 3:46:20
7. Tim Don (GBR) 3:46:31
8. Maurice Clavel (GER) 3:46:46
9. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 3:47:13
10. Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:47:27
1. Holly Lawrence (GBR) 4:09:11
2. Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) 4:11:08
3. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:13:35
4. Daniela Ryf (SUI) 4:14:08
5. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 4:17:15
6. Annabel Laxford (AUS) 4:17:25
7. Laura Philipp (GER) 4:17:39
8. Alicia Kaye (USA) 4:17:52
9. Radka Vodickova (CZE) 4:18:16
10. Magali Tisseyre (CAN) 4:18:18