Spain’s Victor Del Corral and the Netherlands’ Yvonne Van Vlerken earned the overall titles and new course records in ideal conditions in Panama City Beach.
Known for its fast and flat conditions, Ironman Florida welcomed a large professional field, with many hoping to get a head start on qualification for the 2014 Ironman World Championship. Though the race featured a few big names, like recently crowned Ironman world champion Mirinda Carfrae (AUS), some of them were simply looking to check the Ironman validation box and had no intentions of contending for the win. In the end, Spain’s Victor Del Corral established a new course record, while American Andrew Starykowicz broke his own bike course record. On the women’s side, the Netherlands’ Yvonne Van Vlerken broke her own course record.
The Czech Republic’s Filip Ospaly led the men out of the two-lap, 2.4-mile swim with a time of 48:06 just ahead of Belgium’s Axel Zeebroek. The main group exited a little less than two minutes later and included several of the main contenders. Del Corral came out seven minutes back of the leaders.
Starykowicz quickly worked his way up past Ospaly and the other faster swimmers and went to work on cutting down his 4:04:39 bike course record from 2012. He earned the lead position before mile 15 and rode away from the rest of the pro field.
The American came off of the bike with a new bike course record of 4:02:17 and a more than 18-minute lead over Italy’s Daniel Fontana, Estonia’s Kirill Kotsegarov, Portugal’s Pedro Gomes, Del Corral and others. It was evident from the beginning of the run that Starykowicz may have a hard time holding off the faster runners all the way to the end as both Fontana and Del Corral were cutting into his lead at a rate of about one minute/mile. By mile 11 of the run, Starykowicz’s lead had shrunk to 10 minutes over a fast-running Del Corral. The American maintained a steady pace throughout the marathon, but came up just short of earning his second-straight win at this race. Del Corral passed him at the 24.5-mile mark and cruised to the finish line to take the 7:53:12 win and establish a new course record. The blazing time came in large part due to his 2:37:29 marathon. Starykowicz ran in for second at an impressive time of 7:55:22. Ospaly made it three men under that elusive eight-hour mark, finishing at 7:58:44.
American Haley Chura, who was first out of the water in Kona, replicated that swim performance and came into T1 in a time of 50:29. The next female pro was Serbia’s Svetlana Blazevic at 54:42, with Switzerland’s Simone Braendli right behind. A large pack followed about a minute later. Two key players in the women’s race came out of the water with some work to do. Austria’s Lisa Huetthaler had a swim time of 56:01, while defending champion Van Vlerken posted a swim time of 1:00:14.
Chura held strong out front in the early miles, but was eventually passed by Huetthaler. Van Vlerken spent the first part of the bike making up for the slower swim, but eventually passed Chura and then Huetthaler for the lead spot.
Van Vlerken, who finished fourth in Kona three weeks ago, started the marathon with a 25-second lead over Huetthaler and a 2:25 gap over Griesbauer.
The lead was more than enough for Van Vlerken, who went on to post a 3:01:55 marathon, earn the victory and establish a new course record of 8:43:07. American Ashley Clifford ran her way to second, finishing at 8:49:03 behind Van Vlerken.
Panama City Beach, Fla. – Nov. 2, 2013
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Victor Del Corral (ESP) 7:53:12
2. Andrew Starykowicz (USA) 7:55:22
3. Filip Ospaly (CZE) 7:58:44
4. Daniel Fontana (ITA) 8:05:48
5. Pedro Gomez (POR) 8:08:34
1. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 8:43:07
2. Ashley Clifford (USA) 8:49:03
3. Erika Csomor (HUN) 8:56:41
4. Simone Braendli (SUI) 9:00:40
5. Mareen Hufe (USA) 9:03:15
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