The Weekend Box Aug 30 2015

This weekend we bring you a fine farewell battle by a legendary XTERRA star, a vintage Ironman-leading performance almost to the finish by a 48-year-old who sees no reason to retire, and a dramatic pro clash at Penticton.

Brent McMahon, Jennifer Spieldenner top Challenge Penticton

Brent McMahon and Jennifer Spieldenner won the Challenge Penticton half distance against strong pro fields on Sunday in British Columbia.


Italian-born U.S. resident Davide Giardini led the swim in 22:04, followed closely by Chris Braden of the U.S. and Canadian star Brent McMahon.

Giardini led the field into T2, followed closely by Canadian Trevor Wurtele and McMahon. McMahon took charge quickly on the run and held it to the finish with a 3rd-best 1:14:28 half marathon, which gave him a 3:50:38 finish and a 3:14 margin of victory over Wurtele and 6:45 over 3rd-place Giardini.

“I wanted to go out and I wanted to win this event,” said McMahon. “It takes lot of hard work to do that. There were great Canadians and great international athletes here. They didn’t make it easy on me.”

The win added to McMahon’s sparkling résumé which includes two Olympic appearances, a course record 7:55:48 winning time at his Ironman debut in Arizona, a 2nd place at Ironman 70.3 St. George this spring, and signing with the internationally renowned Bahrain Endurance 13 Triathlon team this year.

August 30 was a nice day for the Wurtele family. Husband Trevor’s runner-up finish at Penticton matched wife Heather’s 2nd place finish at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship at Zell am See Austria.


Jennifer Spieldenner combined a women's-best 23:38 swim, 4th-fastest 2:34:53 bike leg and 3rd-best 1:26:38 half marathon to finish in 4:25:09, with a 1:35 margin of victory over Australian Carrie Lester and 2:35 over 3rd-place finisher Lesley Smith of the U.S.

The win was Spieldenner’s second big 2015 result in Canada, coming after her win at Ironman 70.3 Muskoka on July 5.

“It felt amazing to win this race!” said Spieldenner. “I really had to dig deep with the challenging course, elements and competition.”

Valley First Challenge Penticton
Penticton, B.C. Canada
August 30, 2015
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.



1. Brent McMahon (CAN) 3:50:38
2. Trevor Wurtele (CAN) 3:53:52
3. Davide Giardini (ITA) 3:57:23
4. Jeffrey Symonds (CAN) 3:58:50
5. Maik Twelsiek (GER) 4:01:20


1. Jennifer Spieldenner (USA) 4:25:09
2. Carrie Lester (AUS) 4:26:44
3. Lesley Smith (USA) 4:27:44
4. Heather Lendway (USA) 4:30:02
5. Malindi Elmore (CAN) 4:30:36

Frades, Baertsch win Ironman Vichy; Badmann takes 3rd at age 48

Mauro Baertsch of Switzerland and Gurutze Frades of Spain won the inaugural Ironman Vichy. But the age-graded performance of the day was Natascha Badmann of Switzerland, who placed 3rd overall woman at the age of 48.


Age grouper Zeljka Saban Milicic of Croatia led the swim in 59:15, followed by pros Nicole Woysch of Germany (1:00:27), Gurutze Frades of Spain (1:03:10), Alyssa Godesky of the U.S. (1:03:12), Badmann (1:03:29) and Michelle Vella Wood of Malta.

By 40 kilometers into the bike leg, Badmann took a 10 seconds lead over Woysch, with Frades (+2:44), Tine Holst of Denmark (+3:10), and Godesky (+3:25) trailing. At that point, Badmann turned on the jets much like she did winning 6 Ironman World Championships from 1998 through 2005 with her superior two wheel power. Badmann posted a by-far women's-best 4:56:20 split that was 8:26 better than her closest pursuer and gave triathlon’s original Swiss Miss a 7:51 lead on Holst and a 12:23 margin on Frades starting the run.

Badmann held on to that lead until halfway through the third of the four-lap marathon. At 31km, Frades held a 1:13 lead on Badmann and 3:31 on Holst. At the finish, Frades’ women's best 3:05:46 run gave her a 5:32 winning margin over Holst (3:15:51 run) and 7:06 on Badmann (3:25:16 run).

Had Badmann held on for the win, she would have taken back the honor of the oldest to win a women's overall title at an official Ironman. Old rival Nina Kraft broke Badmann’s previous mark with a win at age 46 at Ironman Louisville a year ago in a time of 9:31:19.


Baertsch overcame a 3:18 deficit to Bertrand Billard of France after the swim, matched the Frenchman’s race-best 4:31 bike split, and then took the lead in the final 10km of the run. At the finish, Baertsch’s 2nd-fastest 2:52:34 marathon brought him to the line in 8:23:49 with a 3:50 margin of victory over Billard, who ran 2:59:56. Christian Brader of Germany closed fast with a race-best 2:52:07 run to overcome a 11:33 deficit at T2 to finish 3rd, 7:23 behind the winner and 3:33 behind Billard.

Ironman Vichy
Auvergne, France
August 30, 2015
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.



1. Gurutze Frades (ESP) 9:25:27
2. Tine Holst (DEN) 9:30:59
3. Natascha Badmann (SUI) 9:32:33
4. Alyssa Godesky (USA) 9:52:15
5. Helle Wehle (DEN) 10:22:46 * F30-34


1. Mauro Baertsch (SUI) 8:23:49
2. Bertrand Billard (FRA) 8:27:39
3. Christian Brader (GER) 8:31:12
4. Patrick Jaberg (SUI) 8:34:02
5. Mike Schifferle (SUI) 8:40:16

Ruzafa, Paterson win XTERRA European Champs as Caveman bids adieu to XTERRA

Ruben Ruzafa edged Conrad “Caveman” Stoltz after a furious battle, and Lesley Paterson chased down Jacqui Slack and Renata Bucher on the run to win the XERRA European Tour Championship elite races Sunday afternoon at the Vachery Estate in Cranleigh, England.


An overnight, driving rain left the trails muddy and slick, making the day a fitting setting for the farewell race of XTERRA’s greatest racer - against a virtually unbeatable newcomer - with a winning streak of 15 that extended to 2013.

Stoltz, the four-time XTERRA World Champion and all-time win leader with 51 XTERRA victories, was hanging up his kit at the age of 41 after nearly two decades in triathlon’s most rugged version of swim, bike and run. Befitting his gladiator’s spirit, this was to be no ceremonial parade.

British veteran Richard Stannard led the swim a few seconds ahead of Ben Allen’s 17:41 split, with Stoltz a minute back in 18:54 and Ruzafa another minute arrears in 19:35. Allen passed Stannard early on the bike and Stoltz said it took him ages to catch Allen and take the lead. Whereupon former mountain bike pro Ruzafa moved to the front on lap two.

“I couldn’t pull away,” said Ruzafa. “I tried to speed up but he stayed on my wheel.” The two champions – Ruzafa is a three-time XTERRA World titlist – battled it out on the slithery, steep trails of the Vachery Estate and arrived at T2 simultaneously and began an equally give-no-quarter foot race.

“I thought back after my first XTERRA in Richmond where it was all about the experience and not the result and I just wanted to enjoy the race and I did,” said Stoltz. “The bike course was so much fun. It was slippery and challenging and it was pretty crazy. I had the best run form I’ve had in a while and Ruben and I went out and were together through about 7k and I thought I’d test him a little bit. I went to the front and he hung in and then my shoe got stuck in some the mud and came undone for two seconds. He took advantage and really pushed the screws down and I went from being comfortable to pretty uncomfortable in quick time. Then I jumped across the river and my legs started cramping so I was on the ropes. Even though I came to enjoy the race as much as possible, I do get carried away in the racing and of course I wanted to win my last XTERRA.”

After the race, Ruzafa said this was his hardest battle. “I thought it might come down to a sprint, but when Conrad had a problem with his shoe I knew this was my chance,” said Ruzafa. “When he stopped I said, ‘OK, I’ll take it,’ I just pushed ahead and kept it to the finish.” It was, added Ruzafa, “a really big challenge for me. It was exhausting. So slippery out there and all the time concentrating. I think Conrad should be proud. He is a great person and a great racer.”

At the end, Ruzafa hit the finish in 2:29:05, 25 seconds ahead of Stoltz and 1:10 ahead of fast closing Ben Allen, who notched the fastest run of the day.


Christine Jeffrey led the swim, but Briton Jacqui Slack was on fire and took over on the trails, and created a big lead through the bike, until Renata Bucher made a pass 4k before T2. Bucher, a 33-time XTERRA race winner, led out on the run when Lesley Paterson, back on form after battling illness for much of the season, came flying by to earn her fourth XTERRA win in four tries this year. “Ironically, I’m Scottish and it was like I’d never been in the mud before. I live out in San Diego where it’s sandy and rocky and the mud out there today was something else.”

XTERRA European Championship
Cranleigh, United Kingdom
August 30, 2015
S 1.5k / MTB 30k / TR 10k



1. Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) 2:29:05
2. Conrad Stoltz (RSA) 2:29:30
3. Ben Allen (AUS) 2:30:15
4. Nicolas Fernandez (FRA) 2:34:45
5. Albert Soley (ESP) 2:36:15


1. Lesley Paterson (GBR) 2:54:26
2. Renata Bucher (SUI) 2:55:35
3. Jacqui Slack (GBR) 2:56:14
4. Brigitta Poor (HUN) 3:04:52
5. Jessie Roberts (GBR) 3:05:40