Belgium’s Marino Vanhoenacker and the United States’ Bree Wee claimed the victories at Sunday’s Ironman Canada in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. In addition to $15,000, each earned 2,000 points toward Kona qualification. Both were on the outside looking in before Ironman Canada, but both now sit in solid positions to earn Kona slots at Monday’s first-round cutoff.
Vanhoenacker led a large group that contained most of the contenders, including Paul Ambrose (GBR), Jeff Symonds (CAN), Trevor Wurtele (CAN) and Matt Lieto (USA), out of the water. Vanhoenacker and Ambrose pushed the pace early on in the ride, developing a gap on the rest of the field. At 34.7 km in, the duo had built a lead of 3:32 over Wurtele, 5:04 over Symonds and 7:21 over Lieto. From there Vanhoenacker used his strength on the bike to break away from Ambrose. By the time bike turned to run, Vanhoenacker’s lead stood at 9:33 over Ambrose, 10:16 over Wurtele and 19:44 over Symonds. Vanhoenacker backed his field-leading swim and bike with a solid 2:51:17 marathon to claim the 8:16:10 victory. Symonds turned in a blistering 2:40:34 marathon to earn second at 8:25:22. Ambrose rounded out the top three at 8:33:10.
New Zealand’s Anna Cleaver earned a strong lead onto the bike thanks to a 53:09 swim. Canada’s Karen Thimbodeau followed at 55:59, with Wee and Jackie Arendt (USA) not far behind. Thibodeau slowly closed the gap to Cleaver, and took over the top spot 62 km. Behind Cleaver and Thibodeau, Mackenzie Madison (USA) was the big mover. Madison found the front of the race just before T2, with Thibodeau following her into transition 28 seconds behind and Wee 1:16 back. Wee initially looked to be losing time to Madison and Thibodeau, but had a stronger second half of the marathon. Wee turned in a 3:17:41 run split to claim the important 9:46:58 win. Thibodeau cruised in for second at 9:51:25. Madison came in a close third at 9:52:46.
Whistler, British Columbia, Canada – July 27, 2014
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 8:16:10
2. Jeff Symonds (CAN) 8:25:22
3. Paul Ambrose (GBR) 8:33:10
4. Trevor Wurtele (CAN) 8:42:59
5. Andrew Drobeck (USA) 8:50:32
1. Bree Wee (USA) 9:46:58
2. Karen Thibodeau (CAN) 9:51:35
3. Mackenzie Madison (USA) 9:52:46
4. Jackie Arendt (USA) 9:59:06
5. Anna Cleaver (NZL) 10:05:23