Richard Thompson of Kiels Mountain, Australia, who set a record for the Ultraman distance in Australia last year, took a 7 minute lead today over defending champion Rob Gray of South Africa on Day One of the Ultraman World Championship held on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Gray led Thompson out of the water with a 2:44:04 split that gave the South African a 3:43 lead heading south on the bike leg. But by the end of the 90-mile out and back section with 5,663 feet of elevation gain, Thompson’s dominating 4:05:10 split was 10:43 faster than Gray’s performance. Thompson finished the day in 6:52:57 with a 7 minutes overall lead.
In a similar two-person duel for the lead, Tara Norton of Canada combined a women's 2nd-best 3:06:42 swim with a women’s knockout 5:10:09 split for the 90-mile bike leg to finish the day in 8:16:51 with a 14:57 lead over Mary Knott. Knott, a veterinarian from Gilbert, Arizona, led the women’s swim wave with a 2:56:03 split for the 10k course from the Kailua-Kona pier to Keauhou Bay. On the bike leg, revamped due to the devastating Kilauea lava flow to an out-and-back configuration, Knott fell back 25 minutes and 36 seconds with a 5:35:45 split.
In a nod to the preeminence of Madame Pele’s grip on the volcanic eruptions that wiped out many roads and communities at the south end, the Hawaiian Ultraman will not lead competitors on the symbolically significant circumnavigation of the Big Island this time around. The second day 171-mile bike leg usually started in Volcanoes National Monument, descended to Hilo, rode up the Hamakua Coast, ascended to Waimea then over the Kohalas to Hawi. This time, the second day will start in Kailua-Kona, head north on the western side to Waikoloa, then head inland on the Saddle Road past Mauna Kea, drop into Hilo, join the traditional course up to Waimea, then skip the climb over the Kohalas by heading back down to the ocean at Kawaihae, and ride 17 miles of the Ironman bike course on a 600 foot climb to Hawi.
The race will finish Sunday with the traditional double marathon run from Hawi to the Old Airport in Kailua-Kona.
Ultraman Triathlon World Championship
Day One - November 23, 2018
S 10k / B 90 mi.
1. Richard Thompson (AUS), age 33, S 2:47:47 B1 4:05:10 TOTAL 6:52:57
2. Rob Gray (RSA), age 42, S 2:44:04 B1 4:15:53 TOTAL 6:59:57
3. Petr Vabrousek (CZE), age 45, S 3:13:43 B1 4:16:59 TOTAL 7:30:42
4. David Hainish (CAN), age 34, S 3:17:01 B1 4:32:47 TOTAL 7:49:48
5. Gary Kelly (GBR), age 47, S 3:19:15 B1 4:41:18 TOTAL 8:00:33
6. Travis “Trout” Wayth (AUS), age 48, S 3:24:22 B1 4:37:19 TOTAL 8:01:41
7. Bojan “Boki” Maric (SRB), age 49, S 2:50:45 B1 5:08:08 TOTAL 8:07:53
8. Michal Subrt (CZE), age 47, S 3:41:10 B1 5:00:28 TOTAL 8:41:38
9. Marc Siques Llagostera (ESP), age 36, S 3:21:41 B1 5:21:45 TOTAL 8:43:26
10. Juan Bautista Castilla Arroyo (ESP), age 35, S 3:38:15 B1 5:06:47 TOTAL 8:45:02
1. Tara Norton (CAN), age 47, S 3:06:42 B1 5:10:09 TOTAL 8:16:51
2. Mary Knott (Gilbert, Arizona), age 41, S 2:56:03 B1 5:35:45 TOTAL 8:31:48
3. Vanuza Maciel (BRA), age 48, S 4:00:02 B1 5:44:05 TOTAL 9:44:07
4. Melissa Urie (AUS), age 34, S 3:28:37 B1 6:17:50 TOTAL 9:46:27
5. Cynthia Bartus (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania), age 40, S 4:15:35 B1 5:37:48 TOTAL 9:50:53