Jan Frodeno took over on the run and continued to pull away to take the 2021 Challenge Miami. In the women's race, it wasn't pre-race favorites Lucy Charles-Barclay or Paula Findlay, but the consistent Jodie Stimpson who took the top step.
The men's race set a frantic pace from the beginning, with Ben Kanute, Frodeno, Tim O'Donnell, and Nicholas Kastelein coming out of the water together with a 25 second lead over a chasing pack that included Rudy Von Berg, Eric Lagerstrom, and Andrew Starykowicz.
Moving onto the bike course, Starykowicz started to turn the screws to the competition and made his way to the front. Meanwhile, Frodeno sat comfortably in the top part of the field. The multi-lap bike course claimed at least one victim, as O'Donnell miscounted the number of laps required to complete the course and dismounted one lap early and was left scrambling. After the bike, Starykowicz held a 24 second lead over Frodeno and 1:53 over Von Berg.
The fleet-footed Frodeno moved his way quickly to the class of the field on the run, and pulled away to victory with a 53:48 run and a final finish time of 2:37:57. Lionel Sanders, unheard of until the run, unleashed a 53:24 run to run his way into second. Ben Kanute's well-rounded performance earned him third place on the day. Von Berg took 5th; Starykowicz faded to 9th.
There was pre-race drama, as Anne Haug tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week. She quarantined after the fact. No other athletes tested positive pre-race.
The women's swim split apart early, with Lucy Charles-Barclay and Sara Perez Sala taking a 90 second lead on the chasing Stimpson and PTO Champion Findlay.
On the bike, Perez Sala and Charles-Barclay continued to work together to outpace the field. However, Charles-Barclay earned herself a position foul penalty and was forced to serve a time penalty. Findlay, Stimpson, and Skye Moench were all between two and four minutes back chasing.
Onto the run, Stimpson began a relentless march towards the front of the field, grinding time off left and right from Perez Sala. Charles-Barclay, after taking her penalty, fought with a gritty run performance. In the end, though, Stimpson used her race best 1:00:54 run to take victory over Charles-Barclay. Jackie Hering made a late pass on Perez Sala to earn the final spot on the podium. Findlay wound up in 7th after sliding throughout the run.