Argentina’s Oscar Galíndez and Canada’s Heather Wurtele earned the early-season wins at today’s 70.3 Latin American Pro Championship at Ironman 70.3 Panama. Though the event didn’t garner nearly as much attention as it did in its inaugural year (when Lance Armstrong made the start in his official return to road triathlon), it did attract big names for the men’s and women’s professional races. As a championship-level event, Panama 70.3 handed out 1500 points to the winners. The only 70.3 race worth more is the Ironman World Championship 70.3 (worth 3,000 points).
The day kicked off with a 1.2-mile swim in the banks of the Panama Canal. Colombia’s Carlos Quinchara Forero led the men into T1 with a time of 19:55. He was followed by Brazil’s Igor Amorelli, the United States’ Manny Huerta (who was making his 70.3 debut), Luxembourg’s Dirk Bockel and New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty (the winner of the inaugural event). Galíndez exited the water about two minutes back of the leaders and quickly went to work on the bike. As he did in 2012, Galíndez posted the fastest bike split of the day (2:15:52). Unlike last year, the effort was enough to give him the top spot to start the half-marathon. Despite the strong effort on the bike, Galíndez maintained a strong, steady pace on the half-marathon and held off a fast-running Docherty. He crossed the finish line in 3:58:31 to take the victory. Docherty’s 1:15:48 run easily gave him second position. Australia’s Richie Cunningham duplicated his 2012 finish, earning third.
2010 Ironman 70.3 world champion Jodie Swallow exited the swim in 20 minutes flat, giving her a 30-second advantage over the closest competitor. Like Galíndez, Wurtele started the 56-mile bike ride with a two-minute gap up to the leader. She turned in a 2:31:20 bike split to lead the women into T2. She was followed onto the run course by Camilla Pedersen (DEN), Swallow, Margaret Shapiro (USA) and Amy Marsh (USA). Wurtele cruised through the half-marathon in 1:23:44 to earn the first victory of her season in 4:21:22. Pedersen finished second in 4:25:11. Williamson, who is known as one of the strongest runner’s in the sport, did not disappoint on the half-marathon. Her 1:19:42 run split was the fastest for the women, giving her the third position.
Ironman 70.3 Panama/70.3 Latin American Pro Championship
Panama City, Panama, Feb. 3, 2013
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Oscar Galíndez (ARG) 3:58:31
2. Bevan Docherty (NZL) 4:00:05
3. Richie Cunningham (AUS) 4:03:09
4. Dirk Bockel (LUX) 4:03:34
5. Romaine Guillaume (FRA) 4:04:07
1. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:21:22
2. Camilla Pedersen (DEN) 4:25:11
3. Kelly Williamson (USA) 4:29:08
4. Margaret Shapiro (USA) 4:30:11
5. Jodie Swallow (GBR) 4:33:49