South Africa’s James Cunnama continued his successful 2010 season, while Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig showcased her ITU speed to take the women’s Ironman 70.3 Austin title.
Estonia’s Marko Albert kicked off the day with a field-leading swim time of 23:04. American Brandon Marsh and Australia’s Richie Cunningham followed him into T1 more than a minute later. Albert took advantage of the strong swim and rode away from the pack, posting a bike split of 2:08:25. With the strong swim/bike combo under his belt, Albert headed onto the run with a large lead and looked to hold a steady pace to the finish line. As is the case in many triathlons, the run turned out to be the most important leg of this men’s. Cunnama exited the bike in second position and ran down Albert thanks to a 1:12:56 half marathon and earned the 3:53:57. Albert cruised in for second, with last year’s Austin winner Cunningham claiming the final podium spot.
The women’s race belonged to Spirig from start to finish. Spirig, who is just one month removed from finishing second in the ITU World Championship Series rankings, proved that ITU speed can convert to the half-Ironman distance. She started the day off by leading the women out of the water with a swim time of 24:49. Despite the fact that Germany’s Nina Kraft exited T1 right on her heels, Spirig used the bike leg to pull away from the field of strong cyclists. Her 2:15:37 was by far the best 56-mile bike split of the women, and was on par with many of the pro men. Spirig backed up her strong swim and bike with a strong run. Her 1:25:41 half marathon was the best of the women, easily giving her the victory in 4:09:34. Canada’s Angela Naeth overcame a slow swim to finish second, with New Zealand’s Samantha Warriner finishing in third.
Ironman 70.3 Austin
Austin, Texas – Oct. 17, 2010
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. James Cunnama (RSA) 3:53:57
2. Marko Albert (EST) 3:55:06
3. Richie Cunningham (AUS) 3:57:04
4. Alessandro Degasperi (ITA) 3:57:29
5. Jeff Symonds (CAN) 3:57:57
1. Nicola Spirig (SUI) 4:09:34
2. Angela Naeth (CAN) 4:17:58
3. Samantha Warriner (NZL) 4:22:01
4. Christie Sym (AUS) 4:23:03
5. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:23:25