I know I am a day late and a dollar short on the IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder race report, but it was not without good cause. As soon as I finished my race coverage out at the Boulder Reservoir, I started my duty as camp director for ex-pro, and multiple IRONMAN champion, Michael Lovato, who hosted his Lovato Performance Camp here in Boulder all last week.
I had a blast not only arranging meals, driving the sag-mobile, and acting as aid station for the 14 campers who represented many US states, but also countries such as Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay to name a few. If you need a good IRONMAN Boulder training camp, or just want to train full-time in the mecca of triathlon, I suggest you sign up for Lovato’s camp next summer. It won’t disappoint!
Since I feel many in the triathlon world have had plenty of time to read and absorb the IRONMAN Boulder 70.3 results, I decided that I will briefly chime in on my experience as a spectator and writer as well as give you some personal comments and interview answers I got from our pros.
For starters, it was a star-studded line up on both the men’s and women’s side of the race. Colorado was not only represented well in numbers, but also claimed all six podium spots!
Here’s how the races played out.
Millward Too Hot To Handle
Boulder trainee Davide Giardini led out of the water with fellow Boulderites Joe Umpenour, Jimmy Seear, Tim Don, Richie Cunningham, Greg Bennet, and Callum Millward just shy of a minute back.
It didn’t take long for the young Mark Bowstead to grab the lead around mile 30 of the bike with Millward, Don, Ben Hoffman, Bennett, and Cunningham charging behind most of the way.
I was lucky enough to find a great shaded spot on the run course, right at the turn-around, where I was able to watch the exciting speed and chasing tactics of each competitor. For starters, these guys can fly!
Bowstead came out of transition looking unphased by his swim and bike efforts and fluidly ran past a huge cheering crowd. Not far behind was Millward who also looked bright-eyed and bushy tailed as he kept within striking distance of Bowstead.
Not surprisingly, Don came flying out of transition with a run speed that I cannot even imagine having on a bike, let alone in a half-marathon.
Cunningham, looking fresh, followed Don and not far back was Hoffman. Many of our other Colorado trainees came running through as well, including Giarini, Umpenour, Seear, Robbie Wade, Matt Russell, Paul Ambrose, Justin Daerr, and new pro Colin Laughery.
In the end, Millward and Don were able to catch Bowstead, who ended up running a solid 1:20 half marathon. However, it wasn’t enough as Millward, 1:16:30, and Don, 1:16:25, would outrun the field and finish first and second on the day with about a minute and a half separating them.
Kaye is the Queen of Boulder
On the women’s side of the race, I got to see the ladies come zooming past my house as they rode down Jay Road, not long after their swim.
Last year’s winner, and Boulder trainee, Jodie Swallow, was the first to exit the water with Coloradans Alicia Kaye, Katy Blakemore, and Laura Bennett less than a minute behind.
It didn’t take long for Kaye to pull away from the field and use her short course experience to peel away from the leaders and turn in the fastest female bike split of the day.
By the time she got to transition, she had over a seven minute lead on Swallow, Blakemore, and Boulderite Jeanni Seymour.
Kaye kept her speed going as she hit the trail around the reservoir with Blakemore, Seymour, and Swallow leading the chase. At the first turn around, Kaye came in looking as fresh as a daisy and didn’t look back as she claimed the victory in 4:13:10.
Blakemore, a Denver area teacher, busted out the second fastest run time of the day and secured second place on the podium when all was said and done.
The biggest run story of the day was Boulderite Lesley Smith who turned in the fastest run split of 1:25:40 to catapult to the final spot of the podium.
It was awesome to watch all three of these ladies cross the finish line looking like they could have kept running.
The rest of the Colorado women turned in strong performances and included Danielle Mack in fourth, Jodie Swallow in fifth, Jeanni Seymour in sixth, and Uli Bromme in seventh.
Bennett did not finish and we look forward to seeing her at her next race.
A Few Words with Callum Millward
With such a strong field, did you have a specific race strategy (push on bike, watch pace on run?)?
Millward: The plan was really to be conservative, I was here to get points for Kona. I didn’t need to be a hero, but I did want a top three. I was going to push the start of the bike, but since there were a couple of faster swimmers up the road, I thought I’d see how things played out, and the race came together before blowing apart at around 10 miles.
Evoe: Do you run watching your pace or did you run by “feel” once you were in second?
Millward: I always run by feel, I contemplated wearing a watch, but at altitude, times are always going to be slower, and with the weather cutting up the trail, times turned out to be fairly slow compared to last year.
Evoe: Tim was close behind on the run. When you saw him at the turn around on the second loop, what was your race strategy and what were you thinking?
Millward: When I saw Tim at the 5km turn around, I was pleased to see I still had a bit of real estate on him. At the halfway turn around, I felt like I had even extended it a little which gave me confidence. My game plan then switched from holding him off to running down Mark Bowstead for the win.
Evoe: What did you think of the course?
Millward: The course here in Boulder is great. I train on a fair bit of it, and like how fast the bike is. The scenery is very hard to beat too!
Evoe: What’s up next for you?
Millward: It’s on to recovery now for IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene next weekend. Then I will know if I have made the cut for Kona!