It was a record-breaking day in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as Ben Hoffman and Heather Wurtele won in fast and commanding fashion.
Hoffman, who finished with an overall time of 8:17:31, took charge of the race early on. After exiting the water less than a minute behind swim leader Bryan Rhodes, Hoffman made quick work of taking his first-place spot in the early miles of the bike leg. Once in the lead, he focused on his own race:
“I just went my own pace,” said Hoffman, “and kept it even all day.”
Hot on his trail was TJ Tollakson, who was looking to redeem himself after Raleigh 70.3, a race he described as “miserable.” Fearing today would end the same way, Tollakson worked hard to stay close to Hoffman, finishing the bike in second place, four minutes behind Hoffman. He would eventually lose his spot to Ukranian Viktor Zyemtsev, who came from behind with a 2:50:01 marathon to take second place with an overall time of 8:26:01. Tollakson finished third in 8:32:09.
In the women’s race, Canadian Heather Wurtele returned to Coeur d’Alene after a disappointing disqualification in 2012 for accepting outside help. Today, she played by the rules and was rewarded with a course-record time of 9:16:02.
For Wurtele, redemption and a sentimental celebration inspired her to take the lead early on in the race: “This race was my very first Ironman win [in 2008], and it really holds a special place in my heart.”
“It was great to be back here, especially with the crowd knowing what happened last year. They were so supportive.”
Caitlin Snow echoed those sentiments. The second-place finisher, who was recently hospitalized for a lacerated liver after a bike crash, was emotional as she discussed the crowd support on her way to a 9:28:36 finish.
“The support from the spectators and volunteers here is unbelievable. It’s like a wave, and I just rode it.”
Snow rode that wave to a 3:05:21 marathon, the fastest of the pro female field. Uli Bromme finished in third place with an overall time of 9:33:02.
In addition to record-breaking times, Ironman Coeur d’Alene was noted for the presence of the self-seeded rolling start, a new protocol from the Ironman SwimSmart Initiative.
With the safer, calmer start to the swim, athletes experienced faster times, with swim splits three to four percent faster, on average, than past Ironman swims in Lake Coeur d’Alene.
Athlete response to SwimSmart seemed to be favorable, with many saying they were happy with how quickly swimmers were able to begin their swim. After the age-group gun went off, all 2500 athletes were in the water in under 15 minutes. One of those athletes was Ironman CEO Andrew Messick, who participated in the swim to get first-hand experience of the new start procedure. He later described the swim start as “terrific, a success…open water and clean swimming for all.”
2013 Ironman Coeur d’Alene
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – June 23, 2013
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Ben Hoffman (USA) 8:17:31
2. Viktor Zyemtsev (UKR) 8:26:01
3. TJ Tollakson (USA) 8:32:09
4. Matthew Russell (USA) 8:40:25
5. Chris McDonald (AUS) 8:42:10
1. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 9:16:02
2. Caitlin Snow (USA) 9:28:36
3. Uli Bromme (GER) 9:33:02
4. Ashley Clifford (USA) 9:37:34
5. Candice Hammond (NZL) 9:43:44
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