Held on Cinco de Mayo, the St. Croix Ironman 70.3 this year was sponsored by Captain Morgan and tired triathletes looked to party on the island after finishing. Wet and stormy conditions over the weekend left debris littered across the roads and more than one racer was held up by a flat tire, including early favorite Tim O’Donnell (USA).
O’Donnell exited the water in 24:18 with race leader Joshua Amberger (AUS), who swam a 24:13 and also dropped out during the bike. They were joined out of T1 by Clark Ellice (NZL) with a 24:16 swim and Ben Collins (USA) with a 24:20 swim. A group followed just 15” behind that included Richie Cunningham (USA), Will Clarke (GBR), and Edgardo Velez (PRI). Dirk Bockel (LUX) and Sam Douglas (AUS) were also in that group and were also forced to stop before reaching T2.
Collins biked a race best 2:14:50, nearly 10 minutes faster than Cunningham, who had the third fastest bike split of the day (2:24:37). But, Collins couldn’t hold onto that blistering pace and faded hard on the run. Ellice entered T2 in third behind Cunningham after biking a 2:25:53, with the rest about two minutes down. Oscar Galindez (BRA) used the second fastest bike of the day in 2:23:55 to work his way up and then hold on in the run for fifth.
Cunningham ran a 1:21:26 to take the lead in the run and never looked back. The battle for second came down to seconds as Ellice tried to hold off fast-closing Clarke, but couldn’t. Clark ran a race best 1:21:12 to Ellice’s 1:23:23 and passed the New Zealander with just feet left before the finish line. Michael Lovato (USA) ran his way up into fourth with a 1:26:58.
Dr. Amanda Stevens (USA) was first out of the water in 26:14, with Nina Kraft (USA) and Tami Ritchie (USA) 45 seconds back. A large pack that included Joanna Lawn (NZL), Sara Gross (USA), Angela Naeth (USA) and Valentina Carvallo (ARG) exited around 28’. But both Narth and Carvallo dropped out on the bike.
Catriona Morrison (GBR) was nearly three minutes down on Stevens after swimming a 29:44, but biked a race-best 2:39:16 to enter T1 with Stevens, who had the third fastest bike of the day (2:42:51). Lawn followed just over a minute behind after biking a 2:42:18.
On the run, Morrison ran away from the rest with a 1:29:56 half marathon to cross the finish line first in 4:38:56. The soggy conditions slowed many racers and made for tough going on the course. Lawn passed Stevens by mid-way and went on to run a 1:33:33 to earn second. Maria Czesnik (POL), who had been three minutes down on Lawn starting the run, ran the second fastest leg of the day (1:32:20) to also pass Stevens, who ran a 1:40:12, and take the third podium spot.
Ironman 70.3 St. Croix
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Richie Cunningham – 4:10:29
2. Will Clarke – 4:13:27
3. Clark Ellice – 4:13:32
4. Michael Lovato – 4:19:58
5. Oscar Galindez – 4:23:56
1. Catriona Morrison – 4:38:56
2. Joanna Lawn – 4:44:00
3. Maria Czesnick – 4:45:48
4. Amanda Stevens – 4:49:17
5. Ashley Clifford – 4:54:11
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