Kaisa Sali of Finland outran a strong women’s field to take her second career Ironman victory and Lionel Sanders of Canada won his third straight Ironman Arizona in sub-8 hours time.
Sali, coming off a second straight 5th place finish at Kona, ran into the lead in the 11th mile of the marathon and finished in 8:51:54 with a 3:41 margin of victory over Helle Frederiksen of Denmark and 7:33 over 3rd-place finisher Jen Annett of Canada.
Sali’s win was her second Ironman victory, coming after her 2016 Ironman Africa win. Frederiksen’s 8:55:35 runner-up performance was also remarkable, a sub-9 hour effort coming in her Ironman debut. Annett’s performance was notable not only for her sub-9 hour finish but also for her outstanding 4:38:18 Ironman bike split, topped by only a few star female competitors, notably Caroline Steffen’s 4:35:29 at 2012 Ironman Melbourne.
Sanders, coming off a strong second place at the Ironman World Championship, dominated the men’s field with a 7:54:10 clocking which gave him a 13:30 margin of victory over fellow Canadian Brent McMahon and 21:12 over 3rd place finisher Jeremy Jurkiewicz of France.
Sanders’ performance was the second fastest of his three straight sub-8 hour performances at Tempe. He finished in 7:58:22 in 2015 and in 7:44:29 in 2016.
Frederiksen led the swim in 52:06 which gave her a 1 second lead on Michelle Vesterby of Denmark, 1:32 on Kelly Williamson of the U.S., 2:23 on Katy Evans of the U.S., 4:24 on Darbi Roberts of the U.S., 4:26 on Sali, 9:18 on Sarah Piampiano of the U.S., and 9:38 on Annett.
Halfway through the 112-mile bike split, Frederiksen led the field – by 2 seconds over Sali, 4 seconds over Vesterby, and 1:51 over the rocketing Annett who already chopped 8 minutes off her swim deficit. By 83 miles, Annett took the lead with Sali and Frederiksen close behind and Vesterby 17 seconds arrears while Piampiano was 9 minutes back.
After her Ironman Arizona record 4:38:18 bike split, Annett led the pro women into T2 by 2:18 over Frederiksen, 2:20 over Sali, and 3:49 over Vesterby.
By 8 miles into the run, Annett was clinging to a few seconds lead over Frederiksen and Sali, with Vesterby falling 5 minutes back and Piampiano unable to cut her deficit and trailing by 11:26. By 10 miles of the run, Frederiksen took the lead with Sali on her shoulder and Annett fading to 3rd, 33 seconds behind. At about the 11 miles mark, Sali took a 29 seconds lead on Frederiksen and 1:17 on Annett.
After a women’s-best 3:04:39 marathon, Sali finished in 8:51:54 with a 3:41 margin of victory over Frederiksen (3:09:09 run) and 7:33 on Annett (3:15:38 run).
Brent McMahon of Canada led the swim in 49:05 which gave him a 3 seconds lead on Jurkiewicz, 31 seconds over Philip Graves of Great Britain, 35 seconds over Jeff Symonds of Canada, and most notably, just 2:28 over Sanders, who before making a rapid improvement this year, used to come out of the water trailing by 5 to 8 minutes.
Halfway through the three-loop bike ride in gusting winds, Sanders opened a 5 and a half minutes lead on McMahon and Jurkiewicz, and close to 10 minutes on Karl-Johan Danielsson of Sweden and Michael Patrick Alonso McKernan of Spain.
By the finish of the bike leg, Sanders’ 4:12:03 cycling time, far off his 4:04:48 bike split last year but 7:35 better than this year’s next best effort, gave him a 10:07 lead on Alonso McKernan, 11:53 on McMahon, 11:57 on Jurkiewicz, and 20:26 on Symonds.
Halfway through the marathon, Sanders had a 15:54 lead on McMahon, 17:43 on Jurkiewicz, and 18:18 on Alonso McKernan. After race-best 2:47:16 run, Sanders finished in 7:54:10 with a 13:30 margin of victory on McMahon (2:48:54 run), 21:12 on Jurkiewicz (2:56:21 run), and 25:32 on Alonso McKernan (3:01:30 run).
November 19, 2017
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Kaisa Sali (FIN) 8:51:54 S 56:32 B 4:46:07 R 3:04:39
2. Helle Frederiksen (DNK) 8:55:35 S 52:06 B 4:50:19 R 3:09:09
3. Jen Annett (CAN) 8:59:27 S 1:01:44 B 4:38:18 R 3:15:38
4. Michelle Vesterby (DNK) 9:04:42 S 52:07 B 4:51:48 R 3:16:41
5. Sarah Piampiano (USA) 9:09:10 S 1:01:24 B 4:50:32 R 3:11:28
1. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 7:54:10 S 51:33 B 4:12:03 R 2:47:16
2. Brent McMahon (CAN) 8:07:40 S 49:05 B 4:26:27 R 2:48:54
3. Jeremy Jurkiewicz (FRA) 8:15:22 S 49:08 B 4:26:26 R 2:56:21
4. Michael Patrick Alonso McKernan (ESP) 8:19:41 S 53:36 B 4:19:38 R 3:01:30
5. Jeff Symonds (CAN) 8:20:38 S 49:39 B 4:34:12 R 2:52:55