November brings good news-bad news. The bad news includes a drug positive for a prominent Kenyan marathoner and the cancellation of the swim at Ironman Florida. The good news includes great bike-run performances at the shortened Ironman Florida by a Canadian who beat his drug addiction with sport and a Dutch gal who recovered from an April bike crash injury. The rest of the Weekend Box is good news – wins by 40-plus veterans at Taiwan 70.3, fast times by locals at South Africa 5i50, and a new UCI hour record by a Belgian at a Swiss velodrome.
Lionel Sanders and Yvonne Van Vlerken win swim-canceled Ironman Florida
When high winds and riptides forced cancellation of the swim at Ironman Florida, duathlon stars Lionel Sanders of Canada and Yvonne Van Vlerken of Netherlands dominated the fields at the 16th edition of the Ironman famed for its record speeds. Without substituting a first leg run for the swim, the pros were set off on the opening 112-mile bike leg in a time trial format that played into the hands of superior cyclists like Van Vlerken and Sanders.
While Joerie Vansteelant of Belgium and Tom Lowe of Great Britain and recent Ironman World Championship runner-up Ben Hoffman have strong records as cyclists and as occasional or full-time duathletes, Lionel Sanders had a recent, awe-inspiring bike performance that boded well for his Ironman debut in a swimless format. At the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Mt. Tremblant, Sanders had a lousy swim and was the last pro man to start the bike leg. In contrast to his usual scenarios in which his swift runs headlined his 70.3 races, Sanders unleashed a race-best bike split that brought him back into contention for a podium, and a mere top-5 run brought him home in 4th position.
Sure enough, Sanders had an even more impressive bike performance at Ironman Florida. Ben Hoffman, not fully recovered from his career effort at Kona three weeks ago, started ahead in the time-trial format, but surrendered to Sanders at the 15 mile mark and fell back to 16th by the end of the day.
While Tom Lowe pushed hard, neither he nor anyone else came close to Sanders’ pace. Sanders’ race-best 4:12:46 split was 10 minutes behind Andrew Starykowicz’s world-best 4:02 split on a windless day at this race last year, but gained respect because he overcame high winds that plagued his decorated rivals and left the best of them – Tom Lowe – 12:21 back. Vansteelant was next best with a 4:30:11 split, followed by Maxim Kriat of Ukraine (4:33:28), Pedro Gomes of Portugal (4:35:03), Per Bittner of Germany (4:36:29) and David Basvik of Sweden (4:36:35).
While the Canadian might have been expected in his very first pro Ironman to be looking over his shoulder for marathon-savvy veterans, instead Sanders piled on to his lead with a race-best 2:44:12 split that brought him to the finish in 6:58:46 and gave him a 19 minutes 7 seconds margin of victory over Lowe (2:50:35 run), 26:04 over 3rd place finisher Kriat (2:48:52 run) and 30:45 over 4th place finisher Vansteelant (2:56:43 run).
This win, coming on the heels of his impressive 4th place finish at the Ironman 70.3 Worlds, is an impressive sign of his victory over youthful substance abuse -- and contemplation of suicide -- before dedicating himself to recovery and triathlon in 2009.
Yvonne Van Vlerken proved she could cope competitively with her substandard swim by several wins at Ironman Florida – capped by her personal-best 8:43:07 mark last year earned with a 4:35:49 bike split and a 3:01:55 run.
This time around, with no swim to start her day with a 10-minute deficit, Van Vlerken broke fast from the gate and had an 18:08 lead on her most serious contender at T2 after a very-strong-for-such-windy-conditions 4:55:57 split. Far behind in her wake were Grin Humsi (5:13:22), Camilla Lindholm (5:14:05), Rachel Yastrebsky (5:17:53), Lucia Erat (5:20:01) and Ashley Clifford (5:24:11).
After a disappointing DNF at Kona, Van Vlerken was fully back on her game and sealed the victory with a women’s-fastest 3:03:06 marathon that brought her to the finish in 8:01:47 with a 34:41 margin of victory over runner-up Lindholm (3:20:03 marathon). Lindholm staved off the fast-closing 3:09:51 run of 3rd-place finisher Ashley Clifford by 27 seconds.
Van Vlerken’s victory marks a season full of highlights, setbacks and remarkable recoveries. She started with a great performance and a narrow loss after a race-long duel to Melissa Hauschildt at Abu Dhabi. A few weeks later she broke her collarbone in a bad bike crash training in Holland in spring. Van Vlerken recovered well, winning Challenge Walchsee, Reugen 70.3, and Mostiman and placing 3rd at St. Polten 70.3.
Age group heroics
Sister Madonna Buder crossed the line just 5 minutes past the time for an official finish – remarkable for an 84-year-old fighting the wicked winds of the day.
Lew Hollander avenged a rare DNF at Kona, but fought through the winds in Florida for an official finish in 14:57:39 – earning Hollander a pioneering spot in the 85-89 field at the 2015 Ironman World Championship in Kona.
Panama City Beach, Florida
November 1, 2014
B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 6:58:46
2. Tom Lowe (GBR) 7:17:53
3. Maxim Kriat (UKR) 7:24:50
4. Joerie Vansteelant (BEL) 7:29:31
5. Pedro Gomes (POR) 7:29:45
16. Ben Hoffman (USA) 7:57:13
1. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 8:01:47
2. Camilla Lindholm (SWE) 8:36:28
3. Ashley Clifford (USA) 8:36:55
4. Rachel Jastrebsky (USA) 8:39:43
5. Lucia Erat (SUI) 8:43:30 * F25-29
Cameron Brown and Dede Griesbauer win “Senior Citizen Day” at Taiwan 70.3
Cameron Brown, the legendary 10-time Ironman New Zealand champion, showed he is not slowing down at age 42 after winning Ironman 70.3 Taiwan - his third long course victory in 2014. Dede Griesbauer, at age 44, termed this weekend’s race “Senior Citizen Day” as she joined Brown in the 40-plus champs category with a dominating day at beautiful Kenting, Taiwan.
After 2014 wins at Ironman Cairns and the Iron-distance MetaMan Bintan, no one should write off Kiwi legend Cam Brown – who proved that 42 is just a number with his win at Ironman 70.3 Taiwan Sunday. Kudos - especially after the narrow margin of victory and tough fight he was offered by runner-up Stuart Marais of South Africa.
Brown enjoyed the no-wetsuit swim in 80 degrees Fahrenheit waters, exiting in 28:31 among a group of 6 athletes including Jonathan Tryoen of France (28:11), David Castro of Spain (28:22), fellow Kiwi Guy Crawford (28:26), Fredrik Croneborg of Sweden (28:29) and Marais (28:33).
Tryoen took off on a solo mission on the two-lap bike course on undulating terrain including a section along the beautiful Kenting coastline. Tryoen posted a race-best 2:09:39 split that gave him a 4-minute lead at T2 over a pack of four men including Brown (2:13:39), Marais (2:13:46), Croneborg (2:13:50) and Crawford (2:13:45). “We were all losing time to Tryoen and hoping he would pay for it on the run,” recalled Brown.
Determined to get in the game for the win, Brown had a swift transition. Joined by Marais, the duo caught the Frenchman at the 6 kilometer mark. Running shoulder to shoulder on the point-to-point run course along the coast, Brown and Marais alternated attempts to break the other. With temperatures in the 90s, both men grabbed all drinks they could get at the aid stations and pushed on. “Finally at the 18.5km mark, I was able to get a small break,” said Brown. “So I pushed the pace for the next few kilometers and the rubber band final broke to Marais.”
After a race-best 1:19:58 run, Brown finished in 4:05:44 with a 54 seconds margin of victory over Marais. While unknown Armin Bohnstedt of Australia , a 45-49 age grouper, was listed in 3rd place with a finish time of 4:07:49, official timers gave him a swim split of 37:44 and no bike split so further investigation will be required. Croneborg closed with a 1:26:29 run to finish in 4:12:21 and Crawford ran 1:27:52 to finish next in 4:13:48.
“It was a great win and capped a fantastic year of racing in 2014,” Brown said. “I’ll now have a short break and then it’s all got for the New Zealand season.”
Griesbauer won wire-to-wire, combining a women’s-best 29:59 swim and 2:24:34 bike split, plus a 4th-fastest 1:35:36 half marathon to finish in 4:34:49 with a 7:07 margin of victory over Dimity-Lee Duke and 10:52 over 3rd-place finisher Kate Bevilaqua.
Griesbauer, a member of famed coach Siri Lindley’s highly successful SELTS squad, led the swim in one second under 30 minutes, followed by Maki Nishiuchi (+1:20), Bevilaqua (+1:23), Michelle Wu (+2:08) and Duke (+4:46).
Griesbauer poured it on during the bike leg with a 2:24:34 bike split that was 7:43 better than Duke, 10:17 better than Bevilaqua and 10:46 faster than Wu.
While Griesbauer gave back 5:05 on the run to Duke, 13 seconds to Bevilaqua and 57 seconds to Wu, she had plenty of time in the bank to soak in the cheers of the crowd at the finish and revel in her first triathlon podium since her 2nd place at Ironman 70.3 Racine in 2012.
After the race, Griesbauer posted a Tweet: “1st 70.3 win of my career. Just wow!”
BMW Ironman 70.3 Taiwan
November 2, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Cameron Brown (NZL) 4:05:44
2. Stuart Marais (RSA) 4:06:38
3. Fredrik Croneborg (SWE) 4:12:21
4. Guy Crawford (NZL) 4:13:48
5. Victor Debil-Caux (FRA) 4:17:03
6. Jonathan Tryoen (FRA) 4:21:11
1. Dede Griesbauer (USA) 4:34:49
2. Dimity-Lee Duke (AUS) 4:41:56
3. Kate Bevilaqua (AUS) 4:45:51
4. Michelle Wu (AUS) 4:46:31
5. Shiao-Yu Li (TWN) 4:53:16
Henri Schoeman and Andrea Steyn win 5i50 African Championship
Henri Schoeman and Andrea Steyn scored home country victories at the 5i50 Ekurhuleni African Championship Sunday.
Schoeman combined all race-best splits - 17:33 swim, 54:32 bike leg and 33:23 run - to finish in 1:47:02 with a 3:58 margin over Wian Sullwald and 5:50 over 3rd place finisher Wikus Weber – making the podium a 1-2-3 South African affair.
Andrea Steyn combined a 4th-fastest 23:10 swim, 2nd-best 1:01:48 bike split and women's fastest 38:16 run to finish in 2:05:09 with a 58 seconds margin of victory over fellow South African Kate Roberts and 1:12 over 3rd place finisher Lucie Zelenkova Reed of the Czech Republic.
5i50 Ekurhuleni African Championship
Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa
November 2, 2014
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Henri Schoeman (RSA) 1:47:02
2. Wian Sullwald (RSA) 1:51:00
3. Wikus Weber (RSA) 1:52:52
4. Basson Engelbrecht (RSA) 1:53:35
5. Eddie Van Heerden (RSA) 1:56:27
1. Andrea Steyn (RSA) 2:05:09
2. Kate Roberts (RSA) 2:06:07
3. Lucie Zelenkova Reed (CZE) 2:06:21
4. Kirsten Schut (RSA) 2:10:21 * AG Elite
5. Chame Prinsloo (RSA) 2:13:55
Matthias Brändle breaks Jens Voight’s UCI Hour Record
Matthias Brändle, a 24-year-old Austrian, set the new mark of 51.582 kilometers covered in an hour on a 200 meter track in Aigle, Switzerland. Brändle broke the record set recently by Jens Voight of Germany of 51.11 km. Voight’s record was the first set according to rules revised in June by the UCI which allowed equipment considered legal for regular track team and individual pursuits. Voight surpassed the previous record set by Ondrej Sosenka in 2005 on a standard bike with no aerodynamic enhancements.
While Voight sped up in the final minutes of his record attempt, Brändle started fast and faded in the final 15 minutes of his record attempt. Brändle dropped from an average speed of over 52 kph, but held on to break Voight’s mark by a substantial margin. Brändle, whose new record must be ratified by the UCI, covered approximately 700 meters further than Voight.
World Marathon Majors Series leader Rita Jeptoo of Kenya fails doping test
The agent for 35-year-old Kenyan marathoner Rita Jeptoo, who won back-to-back titles at the most recent Boston and Chicago marathons and who was leading the World Marathon Majors Series which will soon award a $500,000 prize, announced Friday that his client failed a drug test. The world marathon group said Friday that it had postponed the awards ceremony – and the awarding of the $500,000 check – because of the positive test.
Agent Federico Rosa told the Associated Press that Jeptoo tested positive in an out-of-competition test in Kenya in September. Athletics Kenya officials said Friday that the test was on September 25 – two weeks before the Chicago Marathon at which Jeptoo finished first on October 12 in a time of 2:24:35 – and that the athlete’s A sample “indicated the presence of prohibited substances.”
Rosa and the federation declined to identify the substance.
Athletics Kenya said it will meet with Jeptoo next week to determine if she wants to have her B sample tested.
At the New York City Marathon today, Kenyan runners Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany won the overall titles.
Kipsang, who ran 2:10:59, surged ahead of Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia as the runners reached Central Park and finished seven seconds ahead of his rival. Gebre Gebremariam finished 3rd and Meb Keflezighi of the U.S. finished 4th in a time of 2:13:17.
Keitany held off Jemima Sumgong in the last mile and won by 3 seconds in a time of 2:25:07. Desiree Linden was the top U.S. performer, finishing 5th in 2:28:10.
Kelly Kosmo of UCLA wins first Women's Collegiate Nationals
Kelly Kosmo of UCLA won the first Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championship by a 58-seconds margin over Bria Edwards of Penn State. Ella Eser of UCLA placed 3rd, 46 seconds behind Edwards at the event held at the sprint distance at Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont, Florida.
Kosmo finished in 1 hour, 5 minutes and 3 seconds, crossing the finish line nearly a minute ahead of Edwards. Kosmo also finished 3rd earlier this year at the Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships, held as part of the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championship.
The inaugural women-only championship was established as one of the early steps in recognizing triathlon’s status as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women. A field of women between the ages of 16 and 25 competed on a draft-legal 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike leg and 5-kilometer run course.
“It’s fun to be out there with my teammates,” said Kosmo, who studies astrophysics. “It was definitely worth the trip. I feel like it means a lot for the future of triathlon.”
Women’s Collegiate Triathlon Nationals Championship
November 2, 2014
S 750m / B 20k / R 5k
1. Kelly Kosmo (UCLA) 1:05:03
2. Bria Edwards (Penn State) 1:06:01
3. Ella Eser (UCLA) 1:06:47
4. Rachel Mann (Georgia Tech) 1:07:08
5. Savannah Deardon (UCSB) 1:07:42