American Jordan Rapp stole the show at the first-ever Ironman U.S. Championship in New York City, a race with more storylines than all of Broadway. Rapp completed the course in 8:11:18, over 13 minutes ahead of second-place finisher Maxim Kriat of Ukraine.
“It’s amazing to be back here,” said Rapp, a Scarborough native, “This area holds so many memories for me.”
Rapp claims to have driven the Palisades Parkway, the route of the bike course, so many times during college never once thinking he’d be a triathlete, much less one racing in New York City. Today, he says, was a chance to celebrate the area in a whole new fashion.
Though Mary Beth Ellis has completed the New York City Triathlon, taking on the Ironman U.S. Championship course allowed her to see the city from a different point of view. Ellis, who won the women’s race in 9:02:48, benefited greatly from the change of scenery, beating out second-place winner Rebekah Keat by 11 minutes.
“I was struggling a bit,” said Ellis, “especially in the last eight miles. But I wanted to build a cushion in the run. I felt safe in the last 10K, but you never know with an Ironman.”
A raw sewage leak in Tarrytown, New York prompted concerns the swim, 15 miles south, would be cancelled. After extensive testing by environmental agencies, it was determined on Friday evening the leak was not significant enough to impact water safety for the race.
Remarkable swim splits were observed, with many professional athletes setting personal records. Australia’s Luke Bell was first out of the water in 39:08, over three minutes faster than Jan Sibbersen’s Ironman record of 42:17 in Frankfurt. American Dede Griesbauer’s 40:29, the fastest female time in the race, is also faster than the world-best time, set by Amanda Stevens in Frankfurt (45:04). However, since the Frankfurt race takes place in a lake, unaided by a strong current like that found in the U.S. Championship swim, representatives from Ironman say the Frankfurt records will likely stand as the world records.
Paul Ambrose led the men’s pro race for much of the bike, only to be overtaken in the final miles by Rapp. He would later finish in 16th place.
Kriat, in seventh place after the bike, fought his way to a second-place finish with a 3:04:16 run. Third-place finisher Joszef Major of Hungary also came from behind, moving from tenth place to third over the course of the marathon.
The women’s race had its own impressive comeback story, with Keat passing American Amy Marsh, who held second place for much of the race, in the final miles of the run.
The swim continued to make headlines for age-group athletes; of 2,162 athletes who started the swim, only five were recorded as “DNFs,” making it one of the highest completion rates for an Ironman swim. However, that success was tempered with news of one age-group athlete transported to a hospital after experiencing distress during the swim. Ironman later issued an official statement confirming the athlete had passed away, though the cause of death has not been confirmed. The athlete’s name has not been released.
Ironman U.S. Championship
New York, New York – Aug. 11, 2012
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Jordan Rapp (USA) 8:11:18
2. Makim Kriat (UKR) 8:24:32
3. Jozsef Major (HUN) 8:27:00
4. Trevor Wurtele (CAN) 8:29:20
5. Markus Thomschke (GER) 8:30:02
1. Mary Beth Ellis (USA) 9:02:48
2. Rebekah Keat (AUS) 9:13:24
3. Amy Marsh (USA) 9:13:24
4. Sarah Piampiano (USA) 9:30:29
5. Tamara Kozulina (UKR) 9:33:23