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Joyce put together a women’s 2nd-best 54:59 swim, a 2nd-best 4:56:09 bike split, and a women’s-best 3:16:01 marathon to finish in 9:13:32 with a 7:10 margin of victory over Heather Jackson and 28:44 over 3rd place Danielle Mack. Kelly Williamson ran a women’s 2nd-best 3:16:35 marathon to finish 4th, 1:52 behind Mack.
Joyce’s 2nd-best swim and bike splits might sound like a smooth prelude to victory, but 2016 Ironman World Championship podium finisher Heather Jackson made it a tough task. After giving Joyce a 4:52 lead following the swim, Jackson took it all back with a 4:49:06 bike split that was 7:03 better than Joyce.
Starting the run with a 2:10 lead on Joyce, Jackson dropped to 1:54 ahead after 5 miles, then recouped to lead by 2:28 at 6.7 miles. At 13 miles, Joyce trimmed her deficit to 1:17. Hanging stubbornly to her advantage, Jackson led by 41 seconds at mile 17. Finally, at mile 18, Joyce broke past her rival and Jackson had no answer.
At mile 20, Joyce led by 2:50. At Mile 23, Joyce broke all resistance with a 5:10 lead. By the finish, Joyce’s 3:16:01 marathon was 10:08 better than Jackson’s run and her margin of victory was 7:10.
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O’Donnell combined race-best splits – a 49:20 swim, 4:24:25 bike and 2:53:55 marathon – to finish in 8:13:30 with a 21:06 margin of victory over Matt Chrabot and 28:54 over 3rd place finisher Patrick McKeon.
In the Boulder Reservoir swim, O’Donnell opened a 58 seconds lead over Jarrod Shoemaker, 1:06 on Matt Chrabot, 2:54 on Leon Griffin of Australia, 4:45 on Tyler Butterfield of Bermuda, and 7:48 on Patrick McKeon.
After his race-best bike split, O’Donnell had a 7:19 lead on Chrabot, 11:19 on Justin Daerr and 13:02 on Leon Griffin.
In a heartbreaking mistake, Boulder resident Daerr inadvertently missed a turnaround marker on the run. After crossing the line in 2nd place, Daerr was disqualified 90 minutes later and admitted fault but not the intent to gain an advantage.
After his 2:53:55 run – 5:26 better than the next-best effort by 4th-place Jarrod Shoemaker – O’Donnell was in cruise mode, 21:06 ahead of Chrabot (3:07:42 run) and 28:54 ahead if McKeon (3:03:40 run) at the line.