On a cool, breezy Sunday in Sonoma County, Australia’s Tim Reed and American Meredith Kessler raced their way to victory. Reed took control of the bike leg and carried his lead onto the run course while Kessler had a balanced day to earn her third-straight win at Ironman 70.3 Vineman.
The Men’s Race
After defending champion Bevan Docherty (NZL) opted out of racing due to injury, it was open game for a new champion to be crowned. Paul Matthews (AUS) led the men out of the water in 24:12, closely followed by Tim Don (GBR), Matty Reed (USA), eventual winner Tim Reed and Luke Bell (AUS). The next contender was Jesse Thomas (USA), who trailed the lead group by 40 seconds. Matthews used a 58-second T1 to be the first man out on the bike course.
On the bike, Matthews tried to hold his front position, but eventually the group of Matthews, Tim Reed, Matty Reed and Millward would form and ride together until mile 40. Off the pace of the leading group were Thomas and Rapp, who trailed by three minutes. In the end, the show belonged to Tim Reed who broke away on the bike and established a three-minute lead on all of the other contenders.
Out of T2, Tim Reed maintained the gap out front, while Matty Reed, Matthews and Millward chased. Tim Don (GBR) was showing visible signs of frustration as he started the run four minutes behind as he was forced to serve a penalty before starting the run. Once Don was allowed to begin the half marathon, he was running quickly from fifth-place and gaining ground. Tim Reed remained strong throughout his entire 1:14:17 half marathon, crossing at 3:47:43 for the victory. Don earned second at 3:50:55 thanks to a 1:11:43 run split, with Millward rounding out the men’s podium in 3:51:44.
Post-race, Tim Reed discussed his race saying, “at the turnaround on the bike I knew I had the win and I was elated. I felt good around the 35K mark on the bike and I was happy with the way I ran.”
The Women’s Race
Kessler led the women’s race from wire to wire, coming out of the water first in 24:46 with Laura Bennett (USA) inches behind. Behind the two leaders the women were spread out with Emily Cocks (USA) emerging third in 25:57, Rachel McBride (CAN) fourth in 26:41 and two-time Ironman 70.3 world champion Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) coming out in 10th in 27:24.
Once on the bike, Kessler maintained her lead while Melanie McQuaid (CAN) and Hauschildt rode strong behind. Kessler backed up her race-best swim split with a race-best bike split of 2:21:16.
On the run, Kessler continued her dominating performance as she used a 1:21:49 run split to carry her to the 4:11:43 victory. With the win, Kessler also became the first athlete to win three Ironman 70.3 Vineman titles in a row. During the middle miles of the half-marathon, Hauschildt used her run strength to move into second place while pushing McBride and McQuaid to third and fourth, respectively.
2014 Ironman 70.3 Vineman
Sonoma County, Calif. – July 13, 2014
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Tim Reed (AUS) 3:47:43
2. Tim Don (GBR) 3:50:55
3. Callum Millward (NZL) 3:51:44
4. Paul Matthews (AUS) 3:53:18
5. Matt Reed (USA) 3:54:58
1. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:11:43
2. Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) 4:14:13
3. Rachel McBride (CAN) 4:17:23
4. Melanie McQuaid (CAN) 4:21:02
5. Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) 4:21:49