In this swim-bike-run roundup, we bring you a duel between a super cyclist and an Olympic triathlon champion/killer runner; wins by a 2008 Olympic champ and a remarkable Danish champion; off road heroics by a Kiwi and a Scot; and a 65-69 win by a renowned race director in his old race.
Andreas Böcherer and Anja Beranek win Ironman 70.3 St. Pölten
Andreas Böcherer’s race-best swim, bike and run splits edged Nils Frommhold’s balanced attack and Anja Beranek’s superb bike leg trumped Nicola Spirig’s sizzling run to win the elite titles at Ironman 70.3 St. Pölten.
Böcherer led the swim in 25:08, eking out a 1-second advantage over Frommhold, who would be his closest adversary throughout the day. Böcherer won it on the bike leg as his race-fastest 2:08:21 split was 1:46 faster than Frommhold’s nest-best effort. Neither man gave more than an inch as Böcherer’s 1:11:46 half marathon was just 1 second faster than Frommhold’s split. Böcherer’s 3:49:41 finish gave him, a comfortable 1:57 margin of victory and a 6:33 advantage on 3rd-place finisher Jan van Berkel of Switzerland.
Beranek’s 26:37 swim gave her an 8 seconds lead on 2012 Olympic champion Nicola Spirig, then the German unleashed a 2:24:15 bike leg which was 7:14 faster than Sonja Tajsich’s women’s next-fastest effort. Crucially, it was also 10 minutes and 1 second faster than Spirig’s unexpectedly mediocre ride. Being the relentless, never-give-up champion she is, Spirig countered with one of the fastest women’s half-Ironman runs in triathlon history – an amazing 1:16:00. Beranek defended her huge lead with a 5th-best 1:24:31 run which brought her to the line in 4:20:12 with a 1:13 margin of victory over Spirig and 5:02 over 3rd-place finisher Laura Phipp of Germany and 7:15 over 4th place finisher Yvonne Van Verken of Netherlands.
Ironman 70.3 St. Pölten
St. Pölten, Austria
May 17. 2105
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Andreas Böcherer (GER) 3:49:41
2. Nils Frommhold (GER) 3:51:38
3. Jan van Berkel (SUI) 3:56:14
4. Michael Weiss (AUT) 3:56:56
5. Christian Birngruber (AUT) 3:59:07
1. Anja Beranek (GER) 4:20:12
2. Nicola Spirig (SUI) 4:21:25
3. Laura Phipp (GER) 4:25:14
4. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 4:29:17
5. Kristin Möller (GER) 4:32:00
Jan Frodeno and Camilla Pedersen win Ironman 70.3 Barcelona
Jan Frodeno of Germany won it on the run and Camilla Pedersen of Denmark won it on the bike to take the elite titles at Ironman 70.3 Barcelona.
Frodeno combined a 3rd-fastest 23:40 swim, 5th-best 2:24:28 bike split and race-best 1:13:02 run to finish in 4:03:28 with a 2:14 margin over fellow German Maurice Clavel and 4:20 over Belgian Frederik Van Lierde.
Patrick Lange of Germany finished 4th in 4:10:08 and Miguel Angel Fidalgo of Spain was 5th in 4:10:18.
Pedersen combined a women’s 3rd-best 27:08 swim, a women's best 2:39:17 bike split and a women's 3rd-fastest 1:24:36 run to finish in 4:33:34 with a 4:33 margin of victory over Lucy Gossage of Great Britain and 5:07 over her countrywoman, 3rd-place finisher Parys Edwards.
Tine Deckers of Belgium took 4th in 4:41:21 and Charlotte Morel of France was 5th in 4:44:21.
Men’s and women's times slower times – no man broke 4 hours and no woman broke 4:30 - testified to the challenge and difficulty of the Barcelona bike course.
Ironman 70.3 Barcelona
May 17, 2015
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Jan Frodeno (GER) 4:03:28
2. Maurice Clavel (GER) 4:05:42
3. Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) 4:07:48
4. Patrick Lange (GER) 4:10:08
5. Miguel Angel Fidalgo (ESP) 4:10:19
1. Camilla Pedersen (DNK) 4:33:34
2. Lucy Gossage (GBR) 4:38:07
3. Parys Edwards (GBR) 4:38:41
4. Tine Deckers (BEL) 4:41:21
5. Charlotte Morel (FRA) 4:44:21
Braden Currie and Lesley Paterson win XTERRA Southeast
Braden Currie of New Zealand eked out a 3-seconds win over Josiah Middaugh of the U.S. and Lesley Paterson of Scotland outbiked and outran Emma Garrard of the U.S. to win the elite titles at XTERRA Southeast in Pelham, Alabama.
Braden Currie and Josiah Middaugh engaged in an epic, perfectly balanced duel that was decided by a sliver of time on the trail run.
Braden began the day with a 3rd-best 20:38 swim that was 59 seconds behind swim leader Craig Evans and 4 seconds behind Branden Rakita but crucially 2 minutes 15 seconds ahead of Middaugh.
After Transition 1, Currie added 6 more seconds to his advantage on Middaugh to give him a 2:21 lead on his rival.
“It’s a real mental game,” said Currie. “I’d only ridden that course once, so I knew Josiah had that advantage there as well because he is a lot stronger rider than I am. But I had that break out of the swim so he had to work really hard to catch up from the start.”
When Middaugh caught him, Braden followed him for a while. “Then I ran into a tree and had to catch up to him again,” said Braden.
After a race-best 1:21:20 split for the mountain bike leg, Middaugh held a 2 seconds lead on Currie, who then made up 3 seconds in T2 and started the run with a 1 second advantage.
“On the first lap of the run, he went out really hard and I thought he might be bluffing,” said Middaugh. “I thought I was stronger on the climbs and he was stronger on the flats, so on the second lap I hit every climb a hard as I possibly could but I just couldn’t shake him.”
Whereupon both men tried and failed to shake loose. “We were both trying to soften each other up a little bit on the run,” said Middaugh. “We would put in these half moves, tons of bursts, but not really full on. It was just to see if the other guy would fall off.”
With neither man giving an inch, they sped to the finish locked in struggle in the Alabama heat. “I can’t remember a race this close before,” said Middaugh. “I liked it. It was a little tactical. I was attacking on the hills but there weren’t enough of those.”
Only at the very end did the Kiwi’s race-fastest 34:11 run prevail by 2 seconds over the Colorado mountain man, giving Currie a 3 seconds margin of victory – 2:18:23 to 2:18:26. Since this race doubled as the USA Triathlon Off-Road Nationals, Middaugh could console himself with the U.S. Men’s Championship.
Chris Ganter of Boise, Idaho took 3rd, 6:09 behind the winner.
Unlike the men’s contest, two-time XTERRA World champion Paterson conquered the women's field with no drama, overcoming a 4-minute deficit on the swim with dominating mountain bike and trail run legs to earn a 4:57 margin on Emma Garrard and 7:17 on 3rd-place finisher Suzie Snyder.
Swim star Sara McLarty of Clermont, Florida led Christine Jeffrey of Canada by 57 seconds, Catherine Sterling of Massachusetts by 1:28, Suzie Snyder of Virginia by 2:43, Garrard by 4:05 and Paterson by 4:23.
“The swim is still tough with my shoulder (she fractured it pre-riding before winning XTERRA Costa Rica earlier this year) and I was a little sore bumping around on the bike and it is still improving,” said Paterson.
Nonetheless, Paterson erased her deficit quickly taking the lead about one-third through the mountain bike stage.
Garrard might have made Paterson’s race much harder if the Park City, Utah star didn’t have so much trouble on the bike. “I flew off the first slick bridge, twisted my seat around, ” said Garrard. “Hit a root wrong, twisted my handlebar. Smashed my head, roughed up my shoulder. I crashed like four times today, all before Blood Rock. After that I was fine.”
In addition, Suzie Snyder had a bad crash early on and suffered the rest of the day in excruciating pain.
After her by-far-women’s-fastest 1:36:09 mountain bike split – 3:30 better than Garrard’s next-best 1:39:39 effort – Paterson led Garrard by 3:12, Snyder by 3:43 and Sterling by 6:46.
Paterson, seemingly at full power after a long fight with energy depleting illness, crushed the run with a 38:32 split – 4:21 slower than the fastest man and 1:45 faster than Garrard, the next quickest woman.
Paterson finished in 2:39:13 with a 4:57 advantage on Garrard and 7:39 on 3rd-place finisher Suzie Snyder.
XTERRA Southeast Championship
May 16, 2015
S 1.5k / MTV 30k / TR 10k
1. Braden Currie (NZL) 2:18:23
2. Josiah Middaugh (USA) 2:18:26
3. Chris Ganter (USA) 2:24:32
4. Craig Evans (USA) 2:25:49
5. Olly Shaw (NZL) 2:27:14
1. Lesley Paterson (GBR) 2:39:13
2. Emma Garrard (USA) 2:44:10
3. Suzie Snyder (USA) 2:46:30
4. Catherine Sterling (USA) 2:49:17
5. Christine Jeffrey (CAN) 2:50:51
XTERRA U.S. Pro Series Standings after two races
1. Josiah Middaugh (USA) 180
2. Chris Ganter (USA) 164
3. Craig Evans (USA) 133
4. Branden Rakita (USA) 132
5. Alex Modestou (USA) 107
1. Lesley Paterson (GBR) 200
2. Emma Garrard (USA) 180
3. Suzie Snyder (USA) 164
4. Kara LaPoint (USA) 116
5. Sara Schuler (USA) 116
Cameron Dye and Lesley Smith win Challenge Knoxville half
Cameron Dye won it on the swim and the bike and Lesley Smith won it with a race best run that took down her final challenger in the last 200 yards on a rainy day at the Challenge Knoxville half.
Dye swam a 2nd-fastest 24:16, biked a dominating 2:11:07 and held on to his big lead with a 9th-fastest 1:21:54 run to finish in 3:59:27 with a 4:32 advantage on Chris Leiferman and 5:57 on 3rd-place finisher Justin Metzler.
Dye carved out a 2:58 lead on Leiferman in the swim, added 5:13 to his lead on Leiferman on the bike leg and surrendered 3:44 to Leiferman’s race-best run to stride home with a comfortable margin.
"I really like racing in the rain," said Dye. "You don't get too hot. The conditions are tough, but everybody suffers a little bit and it serves the mentally strong well."
Smith started her day 3:43 behind swim leader Jennifer Spieldenner and a similar deficit to Heather Lendway, and 2 and a half minutes to Rebeccah Wassner, Rebekah Keat and Jenny Leiser, and 46 seconds to Laurel Wassner, 14 seconds behind Rachel McBride and 12 seconds back of Jeanni Seymour.
On the bike leg McBride went swiftly to work, joining leaders Rebeccah Wassner and and Jennifer Spieldenner at Mile 22, with Rebeccah Keat just 22 seconds down. As the bike leg was coming to a close, Keat and McBride led with Spieldenner falling a minute back and Wassner another minute further back with Seymour and Kristen Marchant in the top 5.
By T2, Smith had surrendered 8:49 to the women's best bike split of McBride, 7 minutes to Keat, 3:02 to Spieldenner, 2:19 to Seymour, 2:12 to Marchant, 2 minutes to Rebeccah Wassner and 1:15 to Laurel Wassner.
Starting the run, Smith turned the tables on the field, closing fast on the leaders on her way to a women's-best 1:23:43 run when no one else broke 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Nagging calf trouble forced Keat off the pace and out of contention by Mile 7.
McBride's big lead was a tough target. At 10 miles, Smith was in 2nd but McBride still held a 4:34 lead. Smith caught the Canadian with yards to go and finished in 4:31:20 with a 31 seconds lead on McBride, 7:52 on 3rd-place Jeanni Seymour, and 11:40 on 4th-place finisher Rebeccah Wassner.
"I was really lonely on the bike, and it was rainy, but I kept telling myself the 'Don't quit' poem that I learned in high school. I saw Rachel the last 200 meters on the run and I just tried to conjure up some old running speed and knew it was almost the end. The only advice my coach gave me was to run like heck so I just tried to do that," said Smith.
Challenge Knoxville half
May 17, 2015
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1, Cameron Dye (USA) 3:59:27
2. Chris Leiferman (USA) 4:03:59
3. Justin Metzler (USA) 4:05:24
4. Thomas Gerlach (USA) 4:06:00
5. Tony White (USA) 4:07:20
6. James Hadley (GBR) 4:08:51
1. Lesley Smith (USA) 4:31:20
2. Rachel McBride (CAN) 4:31:51
3. Jeanni Seymour (RSA) 4:35:08
4. Rebeccah Wassner (USA) 4:35:29
5. Kristen Marchant (CAN) 4:38:22
Amateurs rule at the historic Columbia Triathlon
Todd Burns of Alexandria, Virginia and Hayley Germack of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania won the historic Olympic distance Columbia Triathlon.
Burns won the overall and the Men’s 35-39 age group in a time of 2:02:35.
Germack won the women’s overall and the Female 25-29 category in a time of 2:22:47.
For many years, the Columbia Triathlon was a fixture on the professional circuit and welcomed many international stars to this non-drafting Olympic distance event.
Former Columbia Triathlon race director Robert Vigorito, who organized and ran those events noted for their hospitality, finished 5th in the men’s 65-69 category in a time of 3:23:23.
May 17, 2015
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Todd Burns (USA) 2:02:35 *M35-39
2. David Frease (USA) 2:06:44 *M25-29
3. Robert Fain (USA) 2:06:50 *M20-24
1. Hayley Germack (USA) 2:22:47 *F25-29
2. Stacy Sweetser (USA ) 2:28:58 *F40-44
3. Sandra Sierakowski (USA) 2:30:05 *F35-39