For your consideration, we bring you news of Olympic distance non-drafting contests in Minneapolis and Boulder, Ironman 70.3s in California wine country and heartland Indiana, a competitive off road excursion in Sweden, a frantic, action-packed mixed team relay world championship in Hamburg, and a tribute to a retiring legend.
Meredith Kessler three-peats and Reed beats Don in battle of the Tims at Vineman 70.3
Meredith Kessler won her third straight Ironman 70.3 Vineman, a victory given more weight by prevailing over the reigning and two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion Melissa Hauschildt once again.
Kessler did it with a tied-for-race best 24:46 swim in the Russian River, a race-best 2:21:16 bike split on the rolling hills of wine country, and a 2nd best 1:21:49 run which brought her to the finish in 4:11:43 with a 2 minutes 30 seconds margin of victory over Hauschildt and a 5:40 margin on 3rd-place finisher Rachel McBride of Canada.
While Hauschildt came within 21 seconds of matching Kessler’s bike split and outran her by just 18 seconds, the difference was the swim where the Kessler was 2:38 better than Hauschildt. While Hauschildt has at times seemed unbeatable at the 70.3 distance, this was the second time that Kessler has outperformed Hauschildt at Vineman 70.3. In 2012 she out dueled the Australian by 50 seconds.
Seeing Kessler top an internationally renowned field should come as no surprise. This year she set a course record at the renowned Ironman New Zealand and won against the strongest Ironman 70.3 field of the year at St. George.
Tim Reed of Australia won his second straight Ironman 70.3 race in three weeks as he finished in 3:47:43 with a comfortable margin over runner-up Tim Don of Great Britain and 3rd-place Callum Millward of New Zealand.
Reed exited the swim in a closely bunched front pack that included Don, Millward, Paul Matthews, Matt Reed and Luke Bell. Reed carved out a 2 minute lead on Tim Don and just under 3 minutes on Millward with a race-best 2:05:40 bike split. Don had to wonder what might have been had he not been socked with a 4-minute penalty for a position foul on the bike that he had to serve before unleashing his renowned run.
By the finish, Don’s race-best 1:11:43 run took back 2:34 from Reed but the 4-minutes the Englishman spent in the penalty bin left him 3:12 short of the win.
This win adds to Reed’s excellent 2014 record which includes a win at Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 and 2nd places at Ironman 70.3s in Geelong and Cairns.
Ironman 70.3 Vineman
July 13, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1, Tim Reed (AUS) 3:47:43
2. Tim Don (GBR) 3:50:55
3. Callum Millward (NZL) 3:51:44
4. Paul Matthews (AUS) 3:53:18
5. Matt Reed (USA) 3:54:58
6. Jesse Thomas (USA) 3:56:15
7. Jordan Rapp (USA) 3:58:55
1. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:11:43
2. Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) 4:14:13
3. Rachel McBride (CAN) 4:17:23
4. Melanie McQuaid (CAN) 4:21:02
5. Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) 4:21:49
Helle Frederiksen and Matt Chrabot win Boulder Peak 5i50
Helle Frederiksen of Denmark won the women’s pro title and Matt Chrabot stood atop the men’s field at the Boulder Peak 5i50 Triathlon.
Chrabot came third out of the swim, 14 seconds behind swim leader Clayton Fettell, 6 seconds back of Jimmy Seear and 11 seconds better than ITU veteran star Brad Kahlefeldt. With Boulder local Cameron Dye settling for one race this weekend – a second place finish at Life Time Fitness Minneapolis – Chrabot played Dye’s role as the killer biker as his race-best 56:14 split was 1:28 better than Mark Bowstead, 1:36 better than Seear, 2:05 better than Kevin Collington and Drew Scott and 5 minutes better than off-form performances by Fettell and Kahlefeldt.
Calling upon his old Olympic distance speed now that he has directed much of his attention to the 70.3 distance, Chrabot sealed the win with a race-best 32:49 run that brought him to the finish in 1:49:13 with a 2:19 margin of victory over Seear (33:46 run) and 3:42 over 3rd-place finisher Kevin Collington (33:47).
The win added some more luster to Chrabot’s 2014 season that includes a 2nd place at Panama 70.3 and a win at Raleigh 70.3.
Frederiksen started fast with a race-best 20:00 swim in Boulder Reservoir that gave her a 14 seconds lead on Lauren Goss, 17 seconds on Sinead O’Dwyer and 1:10 on Radka Vodickova – who finished 2nd the day before at Life Time Fitness Minneapolis.
Frederiksen basically shut the door on her rivals with a race-best 1:02:24 bike split that was 2:49 better than Vodickova, 2:51 better than Uli Bromme and 3:45 better than Goss.
Frederiksen carefully calculated just how fast she needed to go to insure the win and posted a 36:08 10k that gave back just 10 seconds to Vodickova. Thus Frederiksen finished in 2:00:35 with a 3:52 margin of victory over Vodickova and 6:08 on 3rd place finisher Goss.
Following in the footsteps of Life Time Fitness Minneapolis, Boulder Peak offered a $1,000 prize for the gender handicap winner. Race organizers decided the women deserved a 12 minute head start and with that advantage Frederiksen finished 38 seconds ahead of Chrabot.
Frederiksen came into this face with a strong record that included a win at Ironman 70.3 San Juan and second place finishes at Ironman 70.3 Monterrey, Life Time Fitness Miami and St. Anthony’s 5i50.
Boulder Peak 5i50 Triathlon
July 13, 2014
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Matt Chrabot (USA) 1:49:13
2. Jimmy Seear (AUS) 1:51:32
3. Kevin Collington (USA) 1:52:55
4. Mark Bowstead (NZL) 1:53:33
5. Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) 1:55:26
1. Helle Frederiksen (DNK) 2:00:35
2. Radka Vodickova (CZE) 2:04:27
3. Lauren Goss (USA) 2:06:43
4. Sinead O’Dwyer (USA) 2:09:52
5. Nell Rojas (USA) 2:11:00
Lionel Sanders and Ashley Clifford conquer Muncie 70.3
Fleet of foot Lionel Sanders of Canada unleashed another sizzling run to erase a 3:43 deficit and Ashley Clifford of Indiana dominated the women's field to take the pro titles at Ironman 70.3 Muncie.
Sanders, who won Muskoka 70.3 last year with a 1:10:58 run and took Ironman 70.3 runner-up finishes this year at Raleigh and Syracuse with eerily similar 1:09:56 and 1:09:55 run splits did it again at Muncie.
As usual, Sanders started with a slightly tardy 26:31 swim that placed him out of the top 10 and 3:02 behind swim leader Josh Amberger and 1:49 behind killer biker-with-an-improving-run Andrew Starykowicz.
On Muncie’s American Autobahn flat-and-fast bike course, Starykowicz indeed led the field with a 2:00:19 split that put him 9 seconds in front of Amberger (2:01:34 split) and 3:43 in front of Sanders (2:02:20 bike split) at T2.
Once Sanders got in stride, he led Amberger by 1 second halfway through the run and was 1:03 ahead of Starykowicz. Sanders’ race-fastest 1:10:54 run brought him to the finish in 3:42:48 with a 3:23 margin of victory over Amberger (1:17:55 run) and 4:37 over Starykowicz (1:19:18 run)
Second year pro Ashley Clifford started with a 3rd-best 26:41 swim that left her 16 seconds behind swim leader Missy Kuck and 3 seconds behind Malaika Homo.
Clifford, who had a breakthrough 3rd overall at 2012 Ironman Florida [just behind Mirinda Carfrae and just ahead of Meredith Kessler] capped off by a 2:57:31 marathon, got moving on the bike leg. Her race-best 2:21:04 bike split brought her to T2 with a 5:20 lead on Malaika Homo. Clifford then put away all resistance with a race-best 1:24:54 run that brought her to the finish in 4:16:21 with a 12:04 margin of victory over Hallie Blunck and 12:13 over 3rd-place Beth Shutt.
“Today was a great day!” Clifford wrote on Facebook. “I shocked myself with a win. Honestly the day went perfect with every discipline feeling great!”
Ironman 70.3 Muncie
July 12, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 3:42:48
2. Josh Amberger (AUS) 3:46:11
3. Andrew Starykowicz (USA) 3:47:25
4. Joe Umphenour (USA) 3:54:40
5. Mario de Elias (ARG) 3:56:08
1. Ashley Clifford (USA) 4:16:21
2. Hallie Blunck (USA) 4:28:25
3. Beth Shutt (USA) 4:28:44
4. Malaika Homo (USA) 4:34:46
5. Kyla Chapman (USA) 4:36:19
Ben Collins and Alicia Kaye prevail at Life Time Fitness Minneapolis
Ben Collins hung close enough to defending champion Cameron Dye on the bike leg to give him a chance, then used a strong run to break into the lead for the win at Life Time Fitness Minneapolis. Defending women’s champion Alicia Kaye matched challenger Radka Vodickova on the swim and the run but carved out a comfortable margin of victory with a dominating bike leg at this Midwestern non-drafting Olympic distance classic.
Collins, 2006 and 2012 Minneapolis LTF champion Hunter Kemper, Kevin Everett, 2007 LTF Minneapolis champ Greg Bennett and Brooks Cowan emerged from Lake Minnetonka within 10 seconds of Cameron Dye. Dye then worked his magic on the bike with a race-best 55:46 split that gave him a not-quite-sufficient 41 seconds advantage on Collins, 1:35 on Bennett and 2:05 on Kemper,
Collins charged past Dye to victory with a 3rd-best 32:20 run that brought him to the finish in 1:50:09 with a 1:01 margin on Dye (34:08 run). Kemper, who gave up too much ground with his 58:51 bike leg, charged to 3rd place with a race-best 31:12 run that left him 10 seconds behind Dye and 1:28 ahead of 4th-place Chris Foster.
Sara McLarty broke out front with an 18:52 swim, which gave her a 17 seconds advantage on Lauren Brandon and a minute and a half on Kaye and Vodickova. Kaye then took control with a race-fastest 1:00:39 bike split that was 3 minutes better than McLarty and 4:34 better than Vodickova and roughly 5 minutes better than Brandon and Jillian Petersen.
Vodickova posted a race-best 35:27 run split, but only took back 27 seconds from Kaye’s lead, leaving the defending woman’s champion with a 1:59:41 finish and a 4:16 margin of victory over Vodickova and 8:26 advantage over 3rd place Jillian Petersen.
The win added to Kaye’s solid 2014 season, following a 3rd at South Beach, 4th at St. Anthony’s, 2nd at Cap Tex and a win at Tri Rock Philadelphia.
Life Time Fitness Minneapolis
July 12, 2014
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Ben Collins (USA) 1:50:09 - $7,000
2. Cameron Dye (USA) 1:51:10 - $4,000
3. Hunter Kemper (USA) 1:51:20 - $2,000
4. Chris Foster (USA) 1:52:48 - $1,250
5. Greg Bennett (AUS) 1:53:37 - $750
1. Alicia Kaye (USA) 1:59:51 - $7,000
2. Radka Vodickova (CZE) 2:04:07
3. Jillian Petersen (USA) 2:08:17 - $2,000
4. Sara McLarty (USA) 2:09:39 - $1,250
5. Lauren Brandon (USA) 2:10:48 - $750
Brownlee brothers lead Great Britain to third Mixed Relay Triathlon world title
On the backs of superb performances by Olympic medal winning brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, Great Britain won their third Mixed Relay Triathlon World Championship Sunday in Hamburg, Germany.
This win gives Great Britain three victories in six editions of this new event which pits two women and two men per team each completing a sprint triathlon relay leg consisting of a 300 meter swim, a 6.6 kilometer bike leg, and a 1.6 kilometer run.
Great Britain’s four-person team of Lucy Hall, Jonathan Brownlee, Vicky Holland and Alistair Brownlee came from behind to defeat the French team by 4 seconds.
As is expected with this slam-bang sprint format, the win came after a furious, close battle with the youth-dominated French team. Audrey Merle and Cassagrande Beaugrand – the silver and bronze medalists at the 2014 Junior European Championships -- and 2013 ITU Junior World Champion Dorian Coninx set up veteran ITU star Vincent Luis perfectly for the final leg,
After swim-bike specialist Lucy Hall left Great Britain a few seconds behind after the first leg, Jonathan Brownlee unleashed a powerful 3:47 swim-9:33 bike leg-4:27 run to bring his team to a 10-seconds lead. Holland held that lead through the first lap of the bike. Behind Holland, a five woman chase pack including Emma Jackson of Australia, Annamaria Mazzetti of Italy, Margit Vanek of Hungary, Merle of France and Anja Knapp of Germany caught Holland. Just before a final sprint to the relay handover, Holland rejoined the group and Knapp fell back.
Starting the final leg, Dan Wilson of Australia hit the water first, followed immediately by Vincent Luis and Alistair Brownlee. Quickly, the race became a two-man battle for the 2014 title – a little reminiscent of the WTS men’s contest the day before in which Luis finished 2nd to Alistair’s win.
Luis started the run with a slight lead, but at the finish Alistair Brownlee’s race-best 4:25 run split outpaced Luis by precisely 4 seconds – the margin between gold and silver.
Hungary took the bronze in a time of 1:19:31, with Australia 4th in 1:19:52 and the U.S. team – which included Kaitlin Donner, Ben Kanute, Gwen Jorgensen and Alan Webb took 5th in 1:20:07.
Webb, new to the triathlon game after his recent retirement from his legendary running career, had the U.S. team’s 2nd best swim (19:27), 2nd-best bike split (9:57) and best run (4:39).
ITU 4x Mixed Relay Triathlon World Championship
July 13, 2014
4x / S 300m / B6.6k / R 1.6k
1. Team 1 Great Britain 1:19:07
2. Team 1 France 1:19:11
3. Team I Hungary 1:19:31
4. Team 1 Australia 1:19:52
5. Team 1 United States 1:20:07
Emma Snowsill, greatest women’s Olympic distance triathlete, announces retirement
After accumulating the greatest ITU women's Olympic distance record in history, the amazing Emma Snowsill announced her retirement Friday at the age of 33.
Australia’s lone Olympic champion, who won many more gold medals with clutch performances in the biggest races, said her decision to retire wasn't easy but the time was right.
“Truthfully, my health has really struggled over the last four years,” she wrote in a post on her website. “Ultimately my body helped make the decision for me – it didn’t have what it needed to compete at the highest levels on the world stage any more. I have been a competitor all my life and have loved nothing more than the pressure of a big race and representing my country. Triathlon has always been a huge part of my life and I will in some way always be connected to it. However now it feels right to explore life outside of only competing.”
In addition to her 2008 gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, triathlon’s mighty mite – 5-foot 2 inches tall and 108 pounds – won ITU World Championships in 2003, 2005 and 2006, the 2010 ITU Grand Final in Budapest, the 2006 Commonwealth Games Triathlon at home in Australia, three big money Life Time Fitness titles, two big money Hy-Vee wins, and 12 ITU World Cups.
Snowsill’s competitive signature was her swift-as-mercury run in the clutch, the best on the biggest days on the biggest stages. Her 36:07 at the 2003 ITU World Championship on a hilly course in New Zealand was 1:31 better than her closest pursuer. Her 34:57 winning run at the 2005 ITU World Championship in Japan was 1:43 better than the silver medalist. Her 33:35 to win the 2006 ITU World Championship in Lausanne was 49 seconds better than runner-up Vanessa Fernandes. Her 33:16 to win the 2008 Olympics in Beijing was 1:05 better than silver medalist Vanessa Fernandes. And Snowy’s 33:08 split to win the 2010 ITU Grand Final in Budapest was 2 minutes better than any other woman.
While health issues left her career in limbo since her final attempts to make the Australian 2012 Olympic team fell short, her personal life has had many joys. In a fairy tale match of the 2008 Olympic Triathlon gold medalists, she recently married Jan Frodeno of Germany. She has also had the freedom to pursue her academic interest in nutrition as well as gourmet cooking. She has also become an in-demand triathlon commentator and will join Network Ten to report and analyze the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Braden Currie, Helena Erbenova take XTERRA Sweden
Braden Currie of New Zealand and Helena Erbenova of the Czech Republic won the inaugural XTERRA Sweden in the Stockholm suburb of Hellasgarden. The wins were the second majors this season for both as previously Currie won XTERRA Motatapu and Erbenova won XTERRA Spain.
After emerging from the swim in close proximity, Currie and Dan Hugo of South Africa had a ding-doing, back-and-forth battle on the technical but fast bike course which featured short steep technical climbs and white knuckle downhills. While Currie and Hugo posted near identical swim and bike splits, they were shadowed the whole way by Australian Ben Allen, who finished the bike leg a two and a half minutes back starting the run.
Once on the run, Currie snapped the invisible band that held him together with Hugo. Currie’s race-best 42:54 run split was 4:23 better than the South African and provided all of his 4:29 margin of victory. Allen also outran Hugo, but the Australian’s 1:34 advantage on the final leg only narrowed his deficit to the runner-up to 51 seconds.
Erbenova finished the swim in 3rd place, 22 seconds behind Sweden’s newcomer Brigitta Poor and 20 seconds behind Austrian XTERRA veteran Carina Wasle. Erbenova earned a modest 2 minutes lead on Wasle after her women's race-best 1:22:32 bike split, but broke the race wide open with a sensational 49:12 run split that was 6:18 better than Brigitta Poor, 6:30 better than Wasle, and 10:18 better than Swiss veteran Renata Bucher.
Erbenova finished in 2:37:48 with an 8:29 margin of victory over Wasle and 14:15 over 3rd place Bucher.
Although they did not compete in the Swedish round, Ruben Ruzafa of Spain and Kathrin Müller of Germany maintained their XTERRA European Tour leads after six events. Pros count their best six of 11 races for their final point totals. So far, Ruzafa leads with 400 points, trailed by Yeray Luxem of Belgium with 295 points, while Braden Currie stands 3rd with 280 points.
Müller leads the women's standings with 391 points, followed by Erbenova with 355 points and Wasle with 252 points.
July 13, 2014
1. Braden Currie (NZL) 2:13:47
2. Dan Hugo (RSA) 2:18:16
3. Ben Allen (AUS) 2:19:07
4. Jonas Djurback (SWE) 2:23:47
5. Yeray Luxem (BEL) 2:25:24
1. Helena Erbenova (CZE) 2:37:48
2. Carina Wasle (AUT) 2:46:17
3. Renata Bucher (SUI) 2:52:03
4. Brigitta Poor (SWE) 2:52:26
5. Louise Fox (GBR) 3:01:40