Andrew Starykowicz smashed the bike segment of the Ironman 70.3 San Juan in 2:00:45 and then held on during the run to grab the win. A trio of short course athletes led by Helle Frederiksen took the podium in the women's race.
The 2013 edition of the Ironman 70.3 San Juan brought quite an impressive field to the starting line, lured possibly by the stunning weather and scenery there, and of course a few points and a pay check. David Kahn led the men out of the water in 23:32, followed closely by Jarrod Shoemaker, defending champion Timothy O'Donnell and Ben Collins.
Once on the bikes, Ben Collins took charge and flew away with a race best 1:58:06 bike split, but he eventually had to pay for these amazing heroics. He however caught the attention of the other competitors including the one of bike speedster Andrew Starykowicz, whose 2:00:45 bike effort would in the end stand as the race best. French Pros Bertrand Billard and Romain Guillaume were in fact the only other Pros to stay sub 2:05, and most others barely cracked 2:10. German bike monster Faris Al Sultan rode a 2:11:20 and he surely must have been stunned to find out that someone had gone more than 13 minutes faster.
Collins and Starykowicz were well into the run when O'Donnell and Billard started the final segment running in third and fourth position, and at about 10k into the run Collins had a lead of over 4 minutes on Starykowicz, but a couple miles later the wheels came off and soon after Collins dropped out and had to visit the medical tent. The race best run belonged to Chris Baird in 1:15:50, but he did not factor in the podium fight after a 30:28 swim and a 2:11:56 bike. Among those running in the top 5 it was Billard who bested the others with his 1:17:49 run split, and that allowed him to charge past O'Donnell into second place. 50 seconds earlier though Starykowicz had already claimed the win with a closing 1:21:41 run and a total race time of 3:50:12.
"I am speechless and stunned to race this well this early. I thought at the first turnaround (3.5 mi) that I was going to finish outside the top 5 from how my legs were feeling and how fast the hounds appeared to be coming, but I just pulled my hat down and dug deep for a long long time. Again I am speechless, just thankful for all the support of my coaches and family along with the incredible support from the people of Puerto Rico," said Starykowicz to slowtwitch.
Helle Federiksen bested the female field during the 1.2 mile swim with a 25:20 effort and Leanda Cave led a small chasing group that contained Svenja Bazlen and Camilla Pedersen in 26:04. Defending champion Kelly Williamson was next in 26:10, and Mirinda Carfrae and Linsey Corbin reached the first transition in 28:48 and 28:58 respectively.
German Olympian Bazlen then stormed into the lead on the bike with a race best 2:15:43 effort, but Federiksen was not far behind after her 2:16:29 bike split. The rest of the field needed 2:20 or more for the 56 mile bike segment and some of them including Caitlin Snow, Linsey Corbin and Mirinda Carfrae needed over 2:30. Carfrae though apparently had crashed early on during the bike segment and that may also explain her somewhat slow run.
Fastest on the run was Williamson with her 1:23:04 half marathon time, but the race for the podium was well up the road. Frederiksen charged past Bazlen with a 1:25:38 run to take the win, and Bazlen held on to second place with her 1:27:34 run. The final podium spot went to fellow ITU Pro Camilla Pedersen who had a balanced day with a 26:05 swim, 2:20:02 bike and 1:28:37 run.
"I never really expected I would be the dictator in the race more the observer, until the run anyway. After a solid swim, I got my head down and aimed to stay out in front, I didn't want to wait around. I actually extended my lead to around 2 minutes within the first 20 - 30 km and it was not until km 60 that I got caught by a fast moving Svenja Bazlen," said Frederiksen to slowtwitch. "The run, that was a struggle. I never really felt great out there and I think the lack of run mileage showed, or at least I definitely felt it. Very happy all round, looking forward to getting back on camp with Joel Filliol and chipping away at more success in 2013"
Ironman 70.3 San Juan
San Juan, PR / March 17, 2013
1.2m swim / 56m bike / 13.1m run
1. Andrew Starykowicz (USA) 3:50:12
2. Bertrand Billard (FRA) 3:51:02
3. Timothy O'Donnell (USA) 3:51:19
4. Romain Guillaume (FRA) 3:52:52
5. Dirk Bockel (LUX) 3:53:53
6. Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) 3:55:44
7. Paul Matthews (AUS) 3:55:56
8. Maxim Kriat (UKR) 3:56:45
9. Fabio Carvalho (BRA) 3:57:18
10. Richie Cunningham (AUS) 3:58:23
1. Helle Frederiksen (DEN) 4:11:35
2. Svenja Bazlen (GER) 4:13:24
3. Camilla Pedersen (DEN) 4:19:00
4. Kelly Williamson (USA) 4:21:52
5. Margaret Shapiro (USA) 4:24:18
6. Leanda Cave (GBR) 4:26:42
7. Caitlin Snow (USA) 4:30:27
8. Jessica Jacobs (USA) 4:30:52
9. Jennie Hansen (USA) 4:31:52
10. Kim Schwabenbauer (USA) 4:33:00