A lead pack of five men exited the waters of Caribbean Sea within seven seconds of each other, led by Josh Amberger (AUS) in 25:26. Tim O’Donnell (USA), Sam Douglas (USA), Ben Collins USA and Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) followed the young Aussie into transition as the group of five mounted their bikes and headed out in the heat and humidity of St. Croix.
Not much was settled over the 56 miles of biking as Amberger led O’Donnell by seven seconds when the lead pair dismounted their bikes. Kahlefeidt was next to rack his bike and was looking at a 1:53 disadvantage to the leader, while IRONMAN 70.3 specialist Richie Cunningham (AUS), Ruedi Wild (CHE) and Greg Bennett (AUS) were all over five minutes behind heading out on the run.
O’Donnell made quick work forcing his way to the lead early in the run as Amberger faded. Nearing the halfway point O’Donnell held a buffer of 1:25 between him and Kahlefeldt, who was now running in second. Amberger had slipped to 2:26 back in third, while Wild was on pace to move onto the podium in the closing half of the race.
O’Donnell, showing solid early season form, cruised the final miles and captured the 2014 Captain Morgan IRONMAN 70.3 St. Croix title in 4:07:00. Kahlefeldt was unable to chip away at O’Donnell’s lead over the last half of the run and held on to second in 4:08:29, with Wild’s blistering race-best 1:18:46 run putting him on the podium in 4:10:12.
Laura Bennett Rounds Out Women’s Top 5
Laura Bennett (USA), Leanda Cave (GBR) and Radka Vodickova (CZE) proved tough to beat in the water as the lead trio were almost three minutes faster than their closest rivals. Pre-race favorites, IRONMAN world champion Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) and Cat Morrison (GBR), were down 2:49 (sixth) and 3:02 (ninth) respectfully with plenty miles ahead to redeem themselves.
At the conclusion of the bike, Vodickova and Cave stormed into T2 together, with Morrison following the lead duo in third, 1:08 in arrears. The race would come down to the lead three as the next closest woman was almost nine minutes off the pace.
It was Vodickova who proved unbeatable thanks to a solid run that was unmatched by some of the fastest runners in the sport (Carfrae and Morrison). She stopped the clock at 4:30:13. Morrison’s typical swift run got her a second-place finish in 4:34:40, while Cave rounded out the podium in 4:37:15.
Top 5 Men
Top 5 Women