This past weekend, most of the triathlon world was glued to their computer to watch the live streaming of the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships. In true championship fashion, both the women and men’s races did not disappoint.
Kaye, Salthouse Super in Sunshine Coast
Just months ago, Boulder-trainees Alicia Kaye and Ellie Salthouse battled it out on a scorcher of a day at IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder. Salthouse was able to withstand the heat and hold on for a race-winning sprint finish, while Kaye hung tough to finish fourth. It was clear to anyone who watched these two ladies, on that blazing hot day in Boulder, that they had just seen two of the best 70.3 athletes in the world. On a clear, sunny day in Mooloolaba, Australia, Kaye and Salthouse shined brightly again with excellent overall performances.
Although she is only in her second year of racing the 70.3 distance, Kaye is no stranger to a top-10 finish at the 70.3 World Championships. Last year, Kaye turned in an impressive fifth place finish, which she followed up this year by finishing eighth. Kaye’s swim (24:17) kept her within striking distance from the get-go. She continued with a furious pace on the bike (2:23:31) and not too many competitors in front of her by the time she got to the run. Thanks to a solid run (1:25:35), Kaye was able to turn in a top ten finish for the second straight year, proving that her success at the half distance is no fluke.
Salthouse, who just completed her first full year of racing at the 70.3 distance, has proven that she is one of the sport’s up-and-coming stars. In just her first 70.3 World Championship, Salthouse looked poised and polished from start to finish. Her swim (24:15) found her near the front and on the chase. Thanks to a strong bike (2:24:02) and swift run (1:26:50), Salthouse hit the finish line in 11th overall. Not a bad showing in her first crack against the world’s best.
Speaking of the best, nobody could catch the fiery Brit, Holly Lawrence, whose fastest bike split of the women’s race (2:19:28) would make her almost untouchable. Lawrence claimed her first 70.3 world title (4:09:12), followed by a healthy Melissa Hauschildt in second place (4:11:09) and Heather Wurtele (4:13:36) in third. Congrats to all of the ladies on an outstanding race!
Colorado Men Crack Top-20
With six lead changes on the run, Aussie Tim Reed and Germany’s Sebastian Kienle made the men’s 70.3 World Championship match-up a memorable one. Kienle, a former 70.3 and IRONMAN world champion, is one person who knows how to win a major race, but on this day, Reed would give his home country a well-deserved championship.
It looked as if both Reed and Kienle would eventually run out of gas as they exchanged the lead over and over again on the run. However, both athletes answered the call once they were passed, making the other work their way back into the lead. Finally, Reed would grab the lead and run all the way to the finish line, Kienle in tow, to win the race by a mere two seconds (3:44:14). Describing the race as “exciting” just doesn’t give these two athletes the justice they deserve. It was epic, on every level.
Kienle posted the fastest bike split of the day (2:04:45), but Reed’s second fastest run time (1:11:03) made the difference. Fifteen seconds faster than Kienle’s run, to be exact. Although both men put in a valiant effort, trying to drop one another on the run, the Aussie finally had his day, winning his first 70.3 world title.
Only 24 seconds behind Kienle’s second place finish was Switzerland’s Ruedi Wild (3:44:40), who rounded out the podium on the men’s side. Not far behind, the parade of Colorado pros hit the finish line, wrapping up a strong showing in a tough 70.3 field.
Aussie Sam Appleton, who lives in Boulder most of the year, was a stunning fifth place (3:46:02) and the second Aussie to finish in front of the home crowd. Only 30 seconds behind him was British-sensation Tim Don in seventh (3:46:32). This is the second time in the last three years that Don has finished in the top ten. Less than a minute back from Don was the legendary Craig “Crowie” Alexander (3:47:28), who rounded out the top-10. Alexander was back in Boulder this summer and it’s obvious his training paid off.
Another trio of Boulder-based athletes rounded out the top-20, starting with Tyler Butterfield who finished 13th on the day (3:49:56). Butterfield’s impressive bike split (2:05:55) was the third fastest of the day and helped him climb his way back into the chase group. In 15th was IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder champion Joe Gambles (3:52:26), followed closely by Mark Bowstead in 16th place (3:52:36). Congrats to all of the men on a fine race!
On a side note, according to Aussie Jake Montgomery’s Facebook page, he was hit by a car while going out for his last 70.3 worlds “tune-up” ride. His dad posted, saying that he was in the hospital and responsive. He is banged up and very lucky to be alive. Jake did a great job at 70.3 Boulder this year, finishing 10th, in what is always a stacked field. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back in Colorado next year.