Americans Benjamin Collins and Annie Warner win race altered to a duathlon due to choppy waters.
It was déjà vu all over again Sunday. For the second time in less than a month, Ironman officials were forced to cancel the swimming portion of their event because of choppy waters in Lake Pontchartrain.
Americans Benjamin Collins and Annie Warner weathered the storm to take victories in the inaugural 5150 New Orleans presented by Ochsner. The event was converted to a duathlon with a two-mile run replacing the 1.5-kilometer swim.
Race director Bill Burke said that much like the Ironman 70.3 New Orleans in April, which also cancelled the swim, the change stemmed from not being able to get the buoys down because of weather conditions.
The call to go to a duathlon was made about 90 minutes before the race started. There was talk of moving to a shortened swim but that option was pulled off the table as well. The first run served as a way to spread out the athletes almost the way the swim does, allowing some athletes to pull out in front.
“I love swimming, that’s my background,” said Collins, who is from Seattle. “But these things happen. At the end of the day, you have to be ready for anything. It doesn’t matter what the format is; it’s a matter of who’s the most fit that’ll win. This makes me pretty confident going forward.”
Collins won with a time 1 hour, 39 minutes and 30 seconds, holding the lead for most of the race,while Warner charged hard on the run to pass Evelyne Blouin just after the 5-mile mark.
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