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Haug overcame a 3:17 deficit to Lucy Charles of Great Britain after the bike leg with a dominating 1:18:14 run. She finished in 4:12:38 which gave her a 7:54 margin of victory over Charles and 16:56 over 3rd place Michaela Herlbauer of Austria.
In her debut at the half Ironman distance, Haug broke Jodie Cunnama’s run course record. “I really didn’t expect that, being my first 70.3,” Haug told a Club La Santa media liaison. “Running is my strongest discipline but I´ve never done a half marathon after 90 km! But I train a lot at Club La Santa during the year, so I´m in great shape and pretty happy!”
Cunnama broke open a close swim-bike duel with Markus Rolli of Germany with a race-best 1:14:02 half marathon. Cunnama finished in 3:47:07 which gave him a 3:13 margin of victory over Emilio Aguayo Muñoz of Spain (1:15:57 run), who ran past Rolli, who was later disqualified for an infraction on the run, in the final kilometers. Kenneth Vandendriessche of Belgium was then awarded 3rd place, 10 minutes and 8 seconds behind the winner.
“It’s a really great course, honest and tough, so it's my kind of course and I really enjoyed it,” Cunnama told host media from Club La Santa. “I worked hard to push the pace during the first 30 km of the bike, trying to tire out the other guys’ legs, before attacking to take the lead during the second loop.”
Cunnama’s 3:47:07 finish time broke the 4:06:26 race record set by Spain’s Eneko Llanos in 2015 by 19:19. A new bike course produced faster bike splits - Cunnama’s 2:06:31 split was 17:07 faster than Llanos’ 2015 ride. In addition, overcast skies and light winds provided ideal conditions for record-breaking.
2017 Ironman Lanzarote winner Lucy Charles led the swim in 22:34, which gave her a 2 minutes, 2 seconds lead on 34-year-old ITU Olympic distance star Anne Haug, 2:34 on Herlbauer, 5:22 on Anna Noguera of Spain and 5:25 on Alexandra Tondeur of Belgium.
Halfway through the 90 kilometer bike leg, Charles opened a 3:19 lead over Haug, 8:11 over Herlbauer and 7:40 over Tondeur. After a women’s-best 2:24:09 bike split – 1:14 better than Haug – Charles entered T2 with a 3:17 lead on Haug, 13:34 on Herlbauer and 17:48 on Tondeur.
By 7 kilometers of the run, Haug was on Charles’ heels and halfway through the 21km leg carved out a 1:51 lead on Charles, 13:30 on Herlbauer and 17:48 on Tondeur
After a world class 1:18:17 run, Haug finished in 4:12:38 with a 7:54 margin of victory over Charles (1:29:43 run) and 16:56 over 3rd place Herlbauer (1:25:07 run).
Charles was quite satisfied with her runner-up finish. “I’ve been training really hard for the last four weeks in preparation for Kona, and I carry on tomorrow,” she said. “I knew I´d have to dig deep during the run, but my pace [2:59 marathon] was exactly what I need to do in Kona so I'm pleased with how it went overall.”
This win was Haug’s first foray in long distance triathlon. Haug won 3 times in WTS racing, won the 2012 ITU Olympic distance Grand Final, finished 11th at the 2012 Olympics and 39th at the 2016 Olympics.
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Emilio Aguayo Muñoz of Spain led the swim in 22:31, which gave him a 3 seconds margin on Martijn Dekker of Netherlands, 4 seconds on Markus Rolli of Germany, 7 seconds on Ricardo Marrero of Spain, 10 seconds on Thomas Strange of Denmark, 12 seconds on Ruedi Wild of Switzerland, 22 seconds on Cunnama and 24 seconds on Bertrand Billard of France.
Halfway through the bike leg, Rolli, Cunnama and Muñoz rode in a tight pack with a lead of just under 6 minutes on Wild, Dekker, Alessandro Degasperi of Italy and Ricardo Marrero of Spain. After a second-best 2:06:39 bike split, Rolli arrived in T2 with a 7 seconds lead on Cunnama (race-best 2:06:31 split) 2:11 on Muñoz, and 6:42 on Kenneth Vandendriessche of Belgium (2:09:51 bike split).
Cunnama quickly went to work on the run, opening a 30 seconds lead on Rolli and 1:30 on Muñoz at 3.5km. Halfway through the half marathon, Cunnama extended his lead to 1:55 on Rolli, 2:42 on Muñoz and 7:09 on Vandendriessche. At 17.5 km, Muñoz passed into second, 2:56 behind Cunnama and 9 seconds ahead of Rolli.
After a race-best 1:14:02 run, Cunnama finished in 3:47:07 with a 3:13 margin of victory over Muñoz (1:15:57 run) and 3:43 over 3rd place Vandendriessche (1:17:35 run).
The win marked another positive in Cunnama’s good form marked by wins at Embrunman and Alpe d’Huez and a 2nd place at Ironman France in 2016. After returning to coach Brett Sutton this March, Cunnama posted an 8:00:36 winning time with a 2:40:58 run at Ironman Hamburg.