Written by: Liz Hichens
Australians Craig Alexander and Belinda Granger resurfaced onto the race scene with wins at Ironman 70.3 Hawaii.
While the pro field at Saturday’s Ironman 70.3 Hawaii was not long (only 17 pros started), the storylines among the day’s top pros were numerous. Australians Craig Alexander and Belinda Granger claimed the victories in Hawaii after a few months off for each. Alexander chose to sit out from the race scene so he could spend time with his family and newborn baby, while Granger was sidelined after having surgery on an artery in her stomach. Prior to their hiatuses, the two had begun successful race seasons with Alexander winning Ironman 70.3 Geelong and Ironman 70.3 Singapore, and Granger winning Ironman Malaysia. Canadian Samantha McGlone also had a successful comeback, finishing second in Hawaii after taking more than six months off of racing and training to deal with Achilles tendinosis.
American John Flanigan, a former member of the national team for U.S. Open Water swimming, was the first man out of the ocean by more than a minute with a time of 23:26. Second and third into T1 were Australian Luke McKenzie and American Chris Lieto. The pair was followed closely by a large pack, which included Alexander. Onto the bike, Lieto quickly showed his cycling power and easily outpaced the men’s field by posting a bike split of 2:10:07, giving him nearly an eight-minute lead heading on the run. Behind Lieto, a pack including McKenzie, Alexander and Americans Tim Marr, Lewis Elliot and Flanagan all came off of the bike within a 20-second period, just before the 2:45:00 mark. Alexander quickly replicated Lieto’s dominance on the bike, by outrunning every male professional by more than nine minutes. Alexander’s half-marathon time 1:17:11 earned him the victory and an overall time of 4:02:52. Lieto’s lead onto the run proved to be enough to hold off the remaining competitors, giving him second place at 4:05:34. McKenzie rounded out the top-three with a time of 4:05:34.
American Bree Wee, a hometown girl who resides in Kona, led the women into T1 with a swim time of 26:36. Granger and McGlone followed together more than 30 seconds later. Granger showed she put in a good amount of bike mileage while away from the race-scene by posting the fastest bike split and heading on the run in first position. McGlone and Wee followed. Once on the run course, Granger and McGlone were the clear contenders with other pros struggling. Wee was forced to drop out due to an illness she had been dealing with in the days leading up to the race. Granger never lost her lead on the run, winning with an overall time of 4:33:16. McGlone was second at 4:38:02. The next six females to cross the finish line were age-groupers, with 34-year-old Rhae Shaw of Seattle, Wash. finishing third at 4:46:08.
Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
Kohala Coast, Hawaii
May 30, 2009
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
Men (Swim, Bike, Run, Total)
1. Craig Alexander (AUS) 00:24:59 02:17:49 01:17:11 04:02:52
2. Chris Lieto (USA) 00:24:49 02:10:07 01:27:16 04:05:34
3. Luke McKenzie (AUS) 00:24:47 02:17:56 01:26:25 04:11:58
4. Timothy Marr (USA) 00:24:54 02:17:59 01:28:16 04:14:11
5. Jarrod Owen (AUS)* 00:30:15 02:20:04 01:23:14 04:17:38
1. Belinda Granger (AUS) 00:27:08 02:27:18 01:34:56 04:33:16
2. Samantha McGlone (CAN) 00:27:11 02:30:04 01:37:13 04:38:02
3. Rhae Shaw (USA)* 00:30:00 02:26:43 01:45:03 04:46:08
4. Ellen Hart* 00:35:01 02:31:58 01:38:11 04:50:16
5. Jessica Tranchina* 00:35:44 02:38:05 01:37:46 04:56:25
* Age-group athletes