The inaugural Ironman St. George kicked off this morning with ideal conditions at the Sand Hallow Reservoir. Nearly 2000 athletes took to the 58-degree waters to see if they could complete the course that has been touted as one of the toughest Ironmans in the world. In the end, Austria’s Michael Weiss and Canada’s Heather Wurtele walked away with the titles.
Australian Luke Bell led the professional men all alone into T1 with a time of 49:22. A large chase pack that included the next eight men finished the swim in approximately 51 minutes. Bell held on to his lead until mile 35, when he was joined by a group that included Australia’s Chris McDonald, the United States’ Matt Lieto, Germany’s Clemens Coenen and the United States’ Ben Hoffman. The five rode together through the hilliest part of the course and headed into town on their way to starting the second lap. Austria’s Michael Weiss used the longest descent of the race to make up a two-minute gap and take the lead heading into the final segment of the bike. Weiss rode past the main pack and only extended his lead from there into T2. The challenging run course proved to be an advantage for Weiss, as he only extended his lead to cross the finish line in 8:40:08. The race for second was intense throughout the 26.2 miles with Hoffman, McDonald, Bell and Kiririll Kotsegarov shuffling positions. In the end it was Hoffman who earned second at 8:52:54. McDonald rounded out the podium at 8:54:42.
The women’s race started with New Zealand’s Gina Crawford, Canada’s Heather Wurtele and the United States’ Meredith Kessler making a strong statement by swimming with the lead men’s pack and posting swim times under 52 minutes. The other top contenders did not fair as well on the swim, and headed onto the bike with a lot of work to do. Wurtele clearly saw the front position as an opportunity to get away from the women. She biked a 5:20:30 to head into T2 with a 16-minute lead over the chasers. Her lead turned out to be insurmountable as she won the race in 9:35:25. Kessler maintained a solid marathon time of 3:12:40 to earn second at 9:46:58. The United States’ Caitlin Snow ran her way to third for a final time of 10:07:26.
Ironman St. George
St. George, Utah – May 1, 2010
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Michael Weiss (AUT) 8:40:08
2. Ben Hoffman (USA) 8:52:54
3. Chris McDonald (AUS) 8:54:42
4. Kirill Kotsegarov (EST) 8:58:18
5. Clemens Coenen (GER) 9:02:13
1. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 9:35:25
2. Meredith Kessler (USA) 9:46:58
3. Caitlin Snow (USA) 10:07:26
4. Gina Crawford (NZL) 10:11:50
5. Kathleen Pallardy (USA) 10:20:45