A recap of the professional race at Ironman Louisville.
In preparation for Ironman Louisville, many athletes likely took into account the usual uncomfortable conditions that often accompany race day. Competitors arrived on Sunday morning to find that conditions would be kind, with the usual heat and humidity giving way to an ideal day for racing with temperatures staying in the low 70s. Ukraine’s Viktor Zyemtsev and Germany’s Nina Kraft took advantage of the conditions by hammering on the marathon to earn the victories.
Hawaii-resident John Flanagan continued his domination of Ironman swims by emerging from the water at 44:54. Nearly four minutes later, Japan’s Hiroyuki Nishiuchi was the second man to enter T2 and was followed closely by Germany’s Andreas Niedrieg. Australia’s Luke McKenzie was fourth onto the bike. In the early miles of the bike, Flanagan looked intent on not losing his lead and averaged nearly 24 mph in the first 22 miles of the bike, helping him to establish a strong lead. Flanagan failed to keep up with the blazing pace and eventually surrendered his lead to McKenzie. McKenzie posted the fastest bike split at 4:41:10 to head onto the run with a seven-minute lead over his nearest competitor. Zyemtsev headed onto the run 7:15 down and kept a steady pace behind the Aussie. At the 19-mile mark, Zyemtsev made a move and quickly closed the gap to first. With less than three miles to go, Zyemtsev caught McKenzie, but McKenzie was unwilling to surrender the lead, leaving to two to run together. Zyemtsev finally broke away around mile 25, earning the victory and a new course record at 8:25:27. McKenzie crossed at 8:26:01 to earn second. More than 13 minutes later, South Africa’s Raynard Tissink crossed the line in third.
In the women’s race, Kraft quickly established a lead with a swim of 52:56. With many of the race’s top contenders struggling through the swim, Kraft quickly worked to get away on the bike. Denmark’s Lisbeth Kristensen quickly proved she would be the toughest competition for Kraft, as she worked hard on the bike and established a solid lead over Kraft and the other chasers. Kristensen’s bike split of 5:02:24 was by far the fastest of the women, giving her an eight-minute lead over Kraft. It became clear early on that it would be a race between the two, as the rest of the field remained far back of Kristensen and Kraft. Kraft ran a 3:07:32 marathon to overtake Kristensen and take the win at 9:20:21. Kristensen easily earned second position at 9:23:57. Despite posting a time of 1:10:24 on the swim, Loeffler slowly worked her way back on the bike and posted the fastest marathon of the group at 3:05:07 to earn the final spot on the podium at 9:38:23.
Louisville, KY – August 30, 2009
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Viktor Zyemtsev (UKR) 8:25:27
2. Luke McKenzie (AUS) 8:26:01
3. Raynard Tissink (RSA) 8:39:09
4. Swen Sundgerg (GER) 8:43:36
5. Maximilian Longree (GER) 8:46:31
1. Nina Kraft (GER) 9:20:21
2. Lisbeth Kristensen 9:23:57
3. Kim Loeffler (USA) 9:38:23
4. Kate Pallardy (USA) 9:56:45
5. Fernanda Keller (BRA) 10:00:22