Daerr, Ambrose Podium in Canada
The saying “There’s no place like home” easily describes Colorado’s Justin Daerr’s Ironman podium experience as of late. The Boulderite just came off a magnificent race at Ironman Canada, taking third overall and has climbed on top of the podium again in second place at Ironman Mont-Tremblant this past weekend. Thanks to a speedy swim of 51:39, Daerr kept himself in the mix from beginning to end and battled his way into the runner-up position with an overall time of 8:36:12.
Throughout most of the day, Daerr would trade positions in the chase group of Paul Ambrose, Eric Limkemann, and Lionel Sanders as they hunted down bike leader, and eventual winner, Jordan Rapp. Rapp brought his “A” game and put on the jets, creating a ridiculous lead of over 11 minutes as he hit T2. Rapp continued a rapid pace on the run and turned in the fastest run time of the day in 2:55:53, allowing him to win by over 18 minutes on the day with a time of 8:17:37.
However, the race was hardly over for the chase pack of four who continued to play a game of cat and mouse on the run until finally Daerr was able to push ahead and create a two minute buffer to take home the second place trophy.
Finishing exactly two minutes back was Colorado-trainee Paul Ambrose, 8:38:12. For Ambrose the story was bittersweet as he was never planning to enter this race, but had to after some bad luck at Ironman Canada. He had fallen back into fifth place at one point in the marathon, allowing Daerr, Sanders, and Limkemann to get out in front of him.
“As the race went on, I felt like my body was in vacation mode not race mode. I just tried to deal with it in the hopes that at some point I would ‘come good,’ but unfortunately I felt like a defeated boxer dangling in the ropes ready for a final blow,” Ambrose said.
However, the veteran Ambrose found a way to get his race back on track and turned in a run split of 3:04:26, and soared onto the final spot of the podium.
“Suddenly, a glimmer of hope came through. I started to feel like I had a bit of fight left back in me, so I dug deep, put it on the line, and managed to run myself from fifth into third place,” added Ambrose.
It was a great effort by our Colorado pro men, including Brian Fleischman, who led the pack of men out of the water in 49:16, but did not finish the race.
50 Second Decision in Women’s Race
When two of the best female Ironman distance racers in the world, and former Ironman Mont-Tremblant champions, go head to head, you know there is a chance of an epic battle, which is exactly what happened in the women’s race at Ironman Mont-Tremblant.
Colorado-trainees Liz Blatchford and Mary Beth Ellis, who is currently training in Switzerland, kept everyone watching on the edge of their seats as Blatchford chased down the little honey badger, Ellis, until the bitter end. Ellis didn’t waste any time taking the lead as she exited the water first in a time of 50:22 with Blatchford just two minutes back.
“I had a solid day in the swim. I tried to go hard from the start of the swim to make it an honest, hard effort for everyone and managed to get a gap on Liz in the water,” said Ellis.
The powerful Ellis would turn on her biking legs and extend her lead to over nine minutes thanks to the fastest female bike time of the day, 4:53:21. Not to be ignored, Blatchford would hunt down Ellis the entire 112 miles with her 5:01:15 effort, setting her up to chase the lead on the run.
Ellis added, “I was surprised I kept the pressure on through the bike. Liz is such a strong athlete and tough competitor. I knew she would push me the entire day. I struggled with a short bike mechanical that luckily only cost me about 90 seconds.”
As the second half of the run began, Blatchford’s pace began to chip away at the large lead Ellis had created thanks to her final run time of 3:10:56, but it wasn’t enough as Ellis would hang on by a mere 50 seconds to take the win in an overall time of 9:09:05 to Blatchford’s 9:09:55.
“I had some cramps through the entire second half of the run. I was definitely glad to see that finish line. I am just glad the run wasn’t longer or she (Blatchford) would have had me,” said Ellis. “I had my last Ironman victory in Mt. Tremblant two years ago. After that victory I had my crash and subsequent struggles. I am elated that I persevered through the tough times to win another Ironman.”
We are glad you are back, Mary Beth, and congrats to Blatchford on one heck of a race. We cannot wait to watch these Colorado ladies in Kona!
Potts Pulls off Another Win
After watching Andy Potts destroy the Coeur D’Alene field back in June, I am not surprised that he was able to take away another victory, 3:50:24, over a stacked field of pros at 70.3 Timberman. However, he posted a smaller margin of victory this time as Tim O’Donnell hung tough all day to finish second in 3:51:29. Rounding out the podium was Boulderite Cam Dye in 3:53:39.
The rest of the Colorado pros fared extremely well with Leon Griffin, who will race 70.3 Worlds in a couple of weeks, finishing fifth on the day with a time of 3:56:18. Paul Matthews turned in a sub-four hour race, 3:59:46, and finished eighth overall, while Richie Cunningham finished 10th with a time of 4:03:54. Mark Bowstead did not have the race he’s used to having, but still finished in 4:05:10, taking 12th place on the day. Rounding out the Colorado pro men were 16th place finisher Steven Zawaski, 4:11:25, and newly-turned pro Sean Daughtery in 24th place in a time of 4:15:44. Drew Scott did not continue after the bike, but we wish him well and are proud of all of our Colorado pro men.
Joyce leads Colorado Pro Women at 70.3 Timberman
Despite a 5-minute bike penalty and “not her best day on the bike,” Boulder’s Rachel Joyce still proved that, as Kona nears, she is cranking up her speed. Joyce led ex-Stanford swimmer, and Coloradan, Katy Blakemore out of the water in a zippy time of 27:19 as well as turned in the fastest run time of the day for the women in 1:25:22, which was good enough for the final podium spot behind winner Angela Naeth and second place finisher Heather Jackson.
There were some fine showings by our female Colorado pros as young and talented Jeanni Seymour took fifth place on the day with an overall time of 4:30:46, followed by Blakemore in sixth place, 4:32:27. All of our Colorado ladies put in a great effort and we look forward to watching their next race.