On a windy day in Texas it was all about the run, with both the men’s and women’s winners coming back from big deficits at the end of the bike to pass leaders who were struggling. Richie Cunningham (AUS) repeated his win here from last year, while Sofie Goos (BEL) took the women’s title. On the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston offers racers a hot and dry course to test themselves before Ironman Texas next month.
Brent McMahon (CAN) and Brandon Marsh (USA) led the men’s race for most of the day, but McMahon ultimately struggled on the run while Marsh held on to the lead until nearly the bitter end. Ultimately, Cunningham outkicked him by just 15 seconds.
McMahon and Marsh came out of the water neck-and-neck in 23:46, close behind James Seear (AUS) in 23:41. Cunningham was a full minute back from that group, with a 24:46 swim.
By halfway through the bike, McMahon had pulled slightly ahead of Marsh, with Cunningham farther back and Chris McDonald (AUS) charging up through the field. McMahon got off his bike first with the fastest ride of the day (2:05:50). But, he couldn’t shake Marsh, who came into T2 just over a minute back after riding 2:07:02. McDonald started the run in third, biking a 2:06:13. Cunningham headed out in fourth, three minutes down after his 2:07:52, with Leon Griffin (AUS) right on his heels.
But, everything came down to the run. By mile seven, McMahon was struggling from his effort on the bike and had fallen off the pace. Marsh took the lead and tried to hold onto it, with Cunningham just 20 seconds back. His valiant effort nearly held off the hard-charging Australia, but Cunningham’s 1:12:37—the second fastest run of the day—got him to the line first in 3:46:11. Just 15 seconds back, after running 1:14:32, Marsh took second in 3:46:26. Another sprint for the third spot on the podium found Griffin coming out just ahead of McDonald. Griffin’s 1:15:15 got him to the line in 3:48:42, while McDonald finished in 3:49:01.
At one point on the course, the Marsh family was leading both the men’s and women’s races. But, it wasn’t to be. Amy Marsh (USA) eventually pulled up on the run with an injury and Sofie Goos (BEL) came from behind to take the win with the fastest run of the day.
Out of the swim, Marsh was first with nearly a minute lead (26:16). Behind her came Goos in 27:18, Emma Kate Lidbury (GBR) in 27:11, Rachel Joyce (GBR) in 27:15, and Kaitlin Anelauskas (USA) in 27:16.
That group quickly hit the bike, but couldn’t catch Marsh. By halfway, Lidbury had separated herself from the others, but was still over a minute back from Marsh, with Goos another minute behind Lidbury. Coming into T2, Marsh held a dominant lead after the second-fastest ride of the day (2:14:59). Almost two minutes back, Lidbury entered transition next after a 2:15:46 ride. Sarah Piampiano (USA) used a race-best bike (2:13:42) to move up from a slow swim and start the run in third. Goos was behind her, nearly 4:30 back from Marsh at the end of the bike.
Goos wasn’t to be stopped, though, and ran a race-best 1:19:19—nearly five minutes faster than the next fastest run split—to finish first in 4:06:23. Marsh pulled up with an injury, leaving the front of the race wide open. Behind Goos, Lidbury held onto second with a 1:26:48 run to finish in 4:11:05. Piampiano made up time with her 1:26:07 run, but couldn’t close the cap, finishing third in 4:11:57.
Ironman 70.3 Texas
Galveston, Texas – April 6, 2014
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Richie Cunningham (AUS) – 3:46:11
2. Brandon Marsh (USA) – 3:46: 26
3. Leon Griffin (AUS) – 3:48:42
4. Chris McDonald (AUS) – 3:49:01
5. Cody Beals (CAN) – 3:50:41
1. Sofie Goos (BEL) – 4:06:23
2. Emma Kate Lidbury (GBR) – 4:11:05
3. Sarah Piampiano (USA) – 4:11:57
4. Jessica Meyers (USA) – 4:18:54
5. Kaitlin Anelauskas (USA) – 4:21:25