While WTC’s 2012 70.3 championships took place in Vegas, amateurs and professionals hit the roads around Madison, Wisc. in the first race that counts towards the 2013 season and next year’s Kona Ironman World cCampionship. The always popular Ironman Wisconsin brought out thousands of spectators and a deep field. While rain threatened earlier in the week, Sunday was in the 70s and clear – ‘no excuses’ weather.
Ben Hoffman (USA) made it look easy in the hills around Wisconsin, taking his third Ironman title in two years.
Hoffman was third out of the waters of Lake Monona in 54:46, trailing leader Andrea Castillo LaTorre (USA) by nearly five minutes. Castillo LaTorre swam a 49:01 to come into transition ahead of Dominik Berger (AUT), who swam a 50:55. A very large group followed Hoffman by two minutes, including Justin Daerr (USA), Eduardo Sturla (ARG), Michael Goehner (DEU), Blake Becker (USA), Jonathan Shearon (USA), Markus Ressler (AUT), Nick Waninger (USA), Jared Milam (USA), and Wisconsin local Thomas Gerlach.
That group eventually got broken up by officials on the bike, but not before Daerr and Gerlach broke away from the group and began the effort to close the gap to Hoffman and Castillo LaTorre. Hoffman quickly took the lead on the bike ahead of Castillo LaTorre. By the time they entered T2, Hoffman’s fastest bike of the day (4:37:58) had given him a sizeable lead. Daerr and Gerlach were second and third in, ten minutes back, after biking a 4:45:37 and 4:45:21, respectively. Castillo LaTorre, who looked strong early, struggled on the second half and came in fourth 13:00 back after a 4:53:47 bike.
No one was close to Hoffman as he sealed his win in 8:32:51 with a 2:56:33 run. Sterla put in the fastest run of the day (2:55:28) to come in a distant second in 8:46:29. Goehner also ran himself into third (8:54:53) with a 3:04:25. Daerr held onto fourth with a 3:09:28 run, holding off a fast-closing Becker whose third-fastest run (2:58:44) brought him into fifth.
The question on everyone’s lips during the women’s event was: who is Elizabethe Lyles (USA)? The rookie pro from Reno, Nev. took off four years from triathlon to have kids and made her professional debut at Boulder 70.3 earlier this year. But, the Ironman Wisconsin title, which she ran her way into, is by far her biggest win to date.
Hillary Biscay (USA) led the way out of the water in a stunning 54:39, which would have also been the third fastest men’s time of the day. Kate Bevilaqua (USA) and Kathleen Calkins (USA) were right behind in 54:46. Lyles and Charisa Wernick (USA) trailed by six minutes, coming out together in 1:00:41, followed by Whitney Garcia (USA) and Beth Walsh (USA).
Calkins used a blistering bike (5:21:37) to build up a huge lead. While Lyles’ second-fastest bike (5:27:29) made up the gap to Bevilaqua and Biscay, she still trailed Calkins by 7:30 at mile 80. Biscay came into T2 third after a 5:34:27 bike with Bevilaqua right next to her in a 5:34:22 bike. Wernick followed two minutes behind, after biking 5:29:57, with Walsh 40 second back.
On the run, Lyles made up five minutes on Calkins within eight miles. Just before halfway, Lyles passed Calkins to take the lead and went on to run the fastest split of the day (2:59:33). Walsh and Wernick followed Lyles’ lead, running their own blistering pace and catching Biscay, Bevilaqua, and Calkins. Walsh had the second-fastest run (2:59:54) to come in second four minutes back. Wernick ran a 3:05:58 to come in third, while Calkins held onto fourth with a 3:23:55 run. Biscay ran a 3:21:06 to keep fourth place just under ten hours.
1. Ben Hoffman – 8:32:51
2. Eduardo Sterla – 8:46:29
3. Michael Goehner – 8:54:53
4. Justin Daerr – 8:55:46
5. Blake Becker – 8:56:35
1. Elizabeth Lyles – 9:34:35
2. Beth Walsh – 9:38:42
3. Charisa Wernick – 9:43:54
4. Kathleen Calkins – 9:48:13
5. Hilary Biscay – 9:57:53