Swallow’s Overall Speed Wins IRONMAN African Championships
After a second place finish at the 2014 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships and a fourth place finish at the 2014 IRONMAN World Championships, everyone under the triathlon sun knows Jodie Swallow can swim, bike, run with the best of them. This past Sunday, Swallow’s solid speed in all three disciplines landed her atop the podium as she became the IRONMAN African Champion.
The Siri Lindley-coached athlete, who frequents Boulder in the summers, took the early lead on the swim with the fastest time of the day for the women, 50:17. The rest of the day, the ladies would look to hunt down Swallow who punched in one of the fastest bike times of the day with a 5:20:58. As Camilla Pedersen, Eva Wutti, and Diana Riesler looked to catch the leader, Swallow was able to grind out the end of the ride and give herself a two minute lead heading into T2. The lead remained Swallow’s as she held off a very fast Lucy Gossage, who ran a 3:06 marathon, but it wasn’t enough. Swallow dug out an impressive 3:10 marathon to wrap up her IRONMAN efforts and crossed the finish line, with much emotion, in 9:26, and won by almost five minutes.
Swallow told IRONMAN.com that “I am very satisfied with my victory, but my body is completely numb now. It definitely feels as if I have just completed an IRONMAN.”
I would say Swallow more than completed an IRONMAN. She flat out rocked it!
Van Lierde Victorious, Cunnama Cracks Top 10
“I came to Africa to win,” Freddie Van Lierde told IRONMAN.com, “and I did.”
Not only did the former IRONMAN World Champion win, he put a 14 minute stamp over the rest of the field and finished in a remarkably fast 8:16:35 on the day.
The ever-competitive Ivan Rana put together a great race and finished second in 8:30:45, while Belgium’s Bart Aernouts topped off the podium in third place with a finishing time of 8:35:59. Van Lierde’s win at the IRONMAN African Championships will comfortably set him up for Kona this October and we are sure he will only get better as the year progresses.
Frequent Boulder-trainee James Cunnama took home a solid 10th place in Africa with a strong swim of 51:34, a bike of 4:51:53, and a speedy 2:59 marathon. Cunnama, who placed fifth in the 2014 IRONMAN World Championships will be one to watch this year and, after competing in a tough field this past weekend, we will definitely be watching for him to repeat his stellar performance in Kona.
Potts Places Second, Colorado Pros Compete in California
Jan Frodeno, the third place finisher at Kona in 2014, won the IRONMAN 70.3 California race with a zippy swim and bike, but it was his run of 1:10, the fastest of the race, that made him unbeatable on this day.
Coming in a strong second place was five-time IRONMAN 70.3 California champion, Colorado’s Andy Potts, who turned in the fastest swim of the day, 22:44, followed by a 2:09:20 bike, and the second fastest run of the day, a 1:12:25. Potts did everything he could to push his run and try to catch Frodeno, one of the best runners in the sport. Despite not being able to catch him, Potts still came away with a successful day.
A slew of Colorado pros joined Potts in sunny California for the race and had solid showings. Kevin Collington placed ninth, Leon Griffin placed 12th, Paul “Barney” Matthews placed 16th, and Scott Defilippis finished 18th. Many of these guys are already off to a good start for the season and I see them having great success as the race season continues.
Jackson’s Digs on the Run, Wins
There were no Colorado women racing at IRONMAN 70.3 California, but if your name started with H, you most likely found yourself on the podium. Heather Jackson, Heather Wurtele, and Holly Lawerence took the top three spots convincingly on the women’s side, but it was Jackson who stole the show with the fastest run time of the day for the women, a 1:22:22 to claim the lead and win. Congrats on a great race ladies!
Look out for Leiferman
For me, one of my favorite things about writing these articles is that I get to watch and meet new triathletes with every race. Living in Boulder, it’s easy to get wrapped up in everyone who lives and trains here, which is why going to, or watching races online, gives me such a great perspective on all of the athletes that I don’t regularly see around town.
On Sunday, March 15, I was glued to the live finish line camera at IRONMAN 70.3 Puerto Rico and couldn’t help but think, “Who is that?” as he came across the line in second place, looking as if he had another hour or so left in his body.
Chris Leiferman, who has been around Colorado for quite some time, and is a Colorado State University alum where he competed on the CSU triathlon team for three years, has been around the sport of triathlon for the last eight years. During part of those eight years, Leiferman trained in Minnesota, but has returned to Colorado where the serious pros come to train. Leiferman kicked off his third year as a pro triathlete in a big way this March, finishing atop a strong field in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“The water temp was perfect and I was actually chilling while we were in it before the start. I had a great (for me) swim and came out better than I ever have before, which put me in a good spot for the bike.”
Leiferman is referring to his 26:17 swim which allowed him to get out with the top guys and then push an impressive 2:10:04 during the 56 mile trek.
“The bike was fun and working with Pat for the last six miles of the bike was the best! I love tactics in cycling!”
Leiferman’s tactics definitely paid off as he began what is known as a quad-killing run course.
“The heat wasn’t much of an issue until the start of the run. The second half of the run did get tough. The hills really got to me, but I was able to hold on.”
And hold on he did with a run time of 1:20:14, which definitely helped him to a strong second place finish on a very tough run course. Leiferman had some loving fans on the run course in his parents and said that “seeing my folks during the run, with a big smiles on their faces and cheering me on really aids in motivation.”
Leiferman noted that the crowd support in Puerto Rico was second to none and that he felt the energy of the people throughout the entire race.
Next up is St. George and I have never competed in such a stacked field, so it will be quite an experience for me,” said Leiferman.
I am definitely going to have my online, live finish line camera up for IRONMAN 70.3 St. George, as now I will expect to see an excited Chris Leiferman bolting down the finisher’s chute looking strong. Good luck, Chris!