Spain’s Javier Gomez and the United States’ Heather Jackson biked their way to victories at the iconic Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.
Already known as a tough race, the 2013 version of the San Francisco-based event featured a little extra challenge in the form of especially cold water due to an earlier date on the calendar. The race usually takes place in early June, but saw a significant shift this year because of the America’s Cup yacht race.
Despite the early date, the event attracted several top professionals, including reigning Ironman world champions Pete Jacobs (AUS) and Leanda Cave (GBR) and Olympic silver medalist Gomez. Featuring a 1.5-mile swim, an 18-mile bike and an 8-mile run (including 400 steps up the legendary sand ladder), the distance is unusual and features unique challenges across swim, bike and run.
Spain’s Frecesc Godoy was the first man out of San Francisco Bay with a time of 27:21, with Gomez and New Zealand’s Graham O’Grady right on his heels. Jacobs and the rest of the main contenders started the long run to transition nearly a minute back of the trio.
Gomez once again proved his ability to race in non-drafting bike races and dominated the hilly Alcatraz course. His 47:11 bike split was by far the fastest of the day and he entered the run course with only O’Grady as a true threat. Gomez only improved out of T2, posting a 45:12 run split to earn the 2:04:27 victory. O’Grady rounded out his impressive day with a 45:54 run time to earn second. American Jesse Thomas posted the fastest run split of the day at 44:54 to take the final podium spot.
As she does in almost any race she enters, American Sara McLarty was the first to come into T1. She exited the water alone in a time of 28:24. Next to take on the run up to transition were Americans Lauren Brandon and Sarah Groff, both posting swim times of 29:08. Jackson was 11th into transition with a more-than-three-minute deficit to make up on the main contender up front, Groff.
Though she has prided herself on becoming a top runner, Jackson’s background as a cyclist proved to be key on the technical Alcatraz course. Groff was first into T2, but Jackson had cut quite a bit of time out of her lead, thanks to a blazing 51:39 bike split. Citing stomach issues during the run, Groff slowed and Jackson took control. She followed her field-leading bike time with an equally impressive 48:23 run split. Jackson took her first victory at this race in a time of 2:18:08. Groff cruised in for second at 2:18:37. Five minutes later, Germany’s Ricarda Lisk crossed the finish line for third.
Escape From Alcatraz
March 3, 2013 – San Francisco, Calif.
1.5-mile swim, 18-mile bike, 8-mile run
1. Javier Gomez (ESP) 2:04:27
2. Graham O’Grady (NZL) 2:05:39
3. Jesse Thomas (USA) 2:06:40
4. Pete Jacobs (AUS) 2:08:33
5. Jason Pederson (USA) 2:09:32
1. Heather Jackson (USA) 2:18:08
2. Sarah Groff (USA) 2:18:37
3. Ricarda Lisk (GER) 2:23:36
4. Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) 2:25:34
5. Lauren Goss (USA) 2:25:41
Check back for a photo gallery from the race.