Great Britain’s Holly Lawrence put in a superb shift on the bike to go into the run in first place at Ironman 70.3 California last weekend, before being caught out by eventual winner Heather Jackson (USA) and second-placed Heather Wurtele (CAN).
…well that f**cking HURT!!
— Holly Lawrence (@Holly_Lawrence_) March 28, 2015
Jackson and men’s winner Jan Frodeno (GER) used blistering run splits to capture wins, crossing the finish line in 4:14:47 and 3:47:08 respectively.
Frodeno, Germany’s 2008 gold medallist, earned his second consecutive win in Oceanside while Heather Jackson earned her second win in three years.
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One of nearly 80 events in the global Ironman 70.3 Series, Ironman 70.3 California led athletes along a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run on a course that utilised Oceanside’s beachfront scenery.
Athletes began their day with a single-loop swim in the calm and protected waters of Oceanside Harbour. Once out of the water, participants embarked upon a single-loop bike course along the California coastline to San Clemente before dropping down into the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and then swinging back to Oceanside Pier.
The double-loop run course continued along the Oceanside Pier and then out to Oceanside’s flat beachfront path known as “The Strand,” where kilometres of sandy beaches provide beautiful views.
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Five-time Ironman 70.3 California champion Andy Potts (USA) led a strong men’s field out of the water with his 22:44 swim time. Following closely was last year’s winner in Oceanside, Jan Frodeno (GER), while the rest of the contenders were looking at one to two and half minute deficits as they ran into transition.
Once on the bike, a large pack consisting of Maik Twelsiek (GER), Ronnie Schildknecht (CHE), Brent McMahon (CAN), Jesse Thomas (USA) and Lionel Sanders (CAN) joined Potts and Frodeno at the front of the race.
After the lead was exchanged a number of times in the closing half of the bike, it was Sanders who dismounted his bike first, towing in Twelsiek, Frodeno, McMahon, Potts and Thomas, all within 16 seconds.
The race continued to be tight early on in the run as Sanders and Frodeno ran shoulder to shoulder, with McMahon, Potts and Thomas just 13 to 20 seconds off the pace. Frodeno edged away from Sanders after 5km and held a tentative 36-second lead at the 10km marker.
Your 2015 #IM703Cali champion (again)…Jan Frodeno! pic.twitter.com/cToq91U7hJ
— IRONMAN Triathlon (@IRONMANtri) March 28, 2015
The second half of the run was a different story as Frodeno pulled away from the pack and Potts mounted a hard push from behind to pass Sanders. On the strength of the race-best run of 1:10:48, Frodeno captured the 2015 Ironman 70.3 California title in 3:47:08.
Potts’ hard work on the run was rewarded with a second-place finish (3:48:43), while Sanders (3:49:19) hung on to grab the final podium spot.
Top 5 professional men’s results:
1. Jan Frodeno (GER) – 03:47:08 2. Andy Potts (USA) – 03:48:43 3. Lionel Sanders (CAN) – 03:49:19 4. Brent McMahon (CAN) – 03:51:07 5. Jesse Thomas (USA) – 03:52:52
Exiting the water first for the women was Jen Spieldenner (USA) followed closely by a group that included Holly Lawrence (GBR) and Alicia Kaye (USA).
Race favourites Magali Tisseyre (CAN), Wurtele (CAN) and Michelle Vesterby (DNK) were over a minute down, while Heather Jackson (USA), Rachel McBride (CAN) and Angela Naeth (CAN) found themselves over two minutes off the pace.
Lawrence put her head down on the bike and powered away from the women’s field to take an early lead that carried all the way to the completion of the 90km bike. Naeth and Jackson rode in second and third as Wurtele forged her way into fourth.
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On the run, Lawrence’s lead held steady in the opening kilometres, but by the 5km mark it was evident that her pace was dropping. With 11km left in the run Jackson and Wurtele reduced Lawrence’s lead to 50 and 90 seconds respectfully.
Both stormed past the leader over the second half of the run, with Jackson maintaining a minute lead on Wurtele as Lawrence slipped to third.
Jackson’s gutsy run garnered the American her second Ironman 70.3 California title with a winning time of 4:14:47. Wurtele was next across the line in 4:16:07, while Lawrence rounded out the podium with her 4:16:59 finish time.
The event offered a total professional prize purse of $60,000 and also awarded 30 coveted age-group slots to the 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, taking place in Zell am See-Kaprun, SalzburgerLand, Austria on August 30, 2015.
Visit www.ironman.com/california70.3 for event information and full official results.
Were you racing at Ironman 70.3 California? Let us know how you got on in the comments!