Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ironman World Championships Knows Its Winners

It's amazing what can happen at a race you're following if you just go away from the computer. I was out to dinner, loading up on fuel for tomorrow's marathon, and by the time I returned the Ironman World Championships had its champions. And not just the top man and top woman but we're talking the onslaught of athletes finishing in roughly 10 hours and 15 minutes or less.

So without further ado, here are the results.

Craig Alexander once again topped the men to defend his title as World Champion. Finishing the race in 8:20:21, he came on strong in the marathon to win the race over Chris Lieto, who's know for his speedy cycling legs. Lieto, who we're used to seeing push on the bike to be one of the first or the leader into T2 then losing momentum on the run, held his guns and fired off a second place finish just minutes behind Crowie in 8:22:56. It's also the top finish by an American since Tim DeBoom finished fourth in 2007--Andy Potts was the U.S. best last year in eighth place. Rounding out the top three was Andreas Raelert of Germany in 8:24:32.

As for the women, it was all Chrissie Wellington once again. She three-peated in defending her World Champion title and did it in record-setting time. She's starting to look like Natascha Badmann who previously dominated the women's race, winning an impressive six times, and Paula Newby-Fraser who holds the record at eight wins and had her course record broken by Wellington. Wellington finished in 8:54:02 and rolled across the line in memory of the Blazeman Jon Blais, who completed the 2005 race after being diagnosed with ALS. Nearly 20 minutes after Wellington crossed the line, second place was nabbed by Aussie Mirinda Carfrae, a triathlete who has excelled at a variety of shorter distances and has won the 70.3 championship. Carfrae finished in 9:13:59. Taking third was Virginia Berasatequi of Spain in 9:15:28.

Age groupers and pros are still spilling into the finish line, capping off their Ironman experience, while others are just getting their running legs going. It's amazing how you can catch up on the day just by following the live race day coverage. I've learned that Rudy Garcia-Tolson, a bilateral above knee amputee on the road to his first Ironman, is dangerously close to missing the bike cut-off and not being able to start the run. And due to his prosthetics, he's powering those 112 miles mostly with his gluteal muscles. Yikes! Then Ken Glah of Pennsylvania finished his 26th Hawaii Ironman in a row--the 46-year-old continues to be a top racer and grabbed at time of 10:17:08. And Brazilian Fernanda Keller, a star when it comes to Iron-women, has raced as a pro in Kona since 1987...23 times. And at 46 she's still got it, crossing at 10:37:44.

More stories are unfolding by the minute, but I have to tear myself away from the coverage or I'm not going to get any sleep before running tomorrow. I was already antsy and rode my bike for a little while to loosen up my muscles but sleep is always key before a marathon, even if it is restless. Congrats to all the Ironman athletes and good night! Posted by Kate

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