It was a serious battle of the local pros in the men’s race at the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder. Six of the top eight men live in Colorado. While the blazing heat kept the spectator crowd decidedly sparse, the competition was exceptionally fierce and exciting.
The lead group of 10 after the swim came out of the water in the span of just 60 seconds; and the second group was barely a minute back.
Josh Amberger, A-list athlete out of Brisbane, Australia, was first out of the water; and the perennially fast swimmer Andy Potts from Colorado Springs took the early bike lead, taking advantage of a few minutes head start out of T1. But by the half-way point these two had been caught.
As the bike leg neared its end, Chris Leiferman made a big move and went off the front. Leiferman headed out on the run with just a two-minute buffer, knowing what kind of runners were behind him. So he pushed the pace hard the first three miles, running at a 6:09 per mile pace.
But Tyler Butterfield must have wanted a win badly as he was absolutely on fire, clocking the first three miles at a 5:50 pace and then picked it up to finish with a 1 hour 11 minutes 56 seconds half-marathon. Alas, he ran out of real estate, finishing second just nine seconds behind Leiferman.
Keep an Eye on Her
Despite a strong local presence in the men’s race, most of the local women pros sat this one out. This gave Skye Moench of Salt Lake City a golden opportunity to take her very first 70.3 win at her first ever race in Colorado. Not that the recent winner of IRONMAN Frankfort hasn’t already proven she is a new force to be reckoned with. After finishing the swim a minute and a half back, she dominated the field on the bike, finishing with over an eight-minute lead. She only gave up two minutes on the run, winning the race by a full six minutes.
Asked if she had been suffering from similar training conditions at home, she resoundingly confirmed, “Oh yeah, I’ve been boiling at home. I live at almost the same altitude and most of my runs have been at 90 to 95 degrees heat so… But it’s actually easier to race than train in the heat because you have aid stations!”
Boulder’s Lesley Smith ran a couple of minutes faster, but had to settle for second place. Veteran IRONMAN and 70.3 Champion Meredith Kessler rounded out the women’s podium.
Matt McWilliams of Pennsylvania and Alina Hanschke Busch of Mexico were the top amateurs.
Top 10 Pro Men
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Top 10 Pro Women