Spain’s Victor Del Corral and Denmark’s Michelle Vesterby both earned their first Ironman titles at the at the 21st running of Ironman Lanzarote.
About 1,500 athletes competed in the challenging, hilly event, including several Ironman champions: Stephen Bayliss, Philip Graves, and Bert Jammaer, to name a few. With a high of 81 degrees and lighter winds than usual, it was a beautiful day for a race. (And a proposal—age grouper Daniel Arévalo Beni proposed to his girlfriend at the finish line. She said yes.)
The UK’s Daniel Halksworth led the men out of the calm, two-loop swim in 47:55. Fellow Brit Stephen Bayliss beat Halskworth out of T1, taking off first onto the bike course, which has more than 8,000 feet of climbing. Close behind was former Ironman UK champ, Philip Graves, who crushed the bike, setting the second fastest Lanzarote bike split ever in 4:48:40 (which will not stand because he didn’t finish the race). Although he set out on the run first, Graves faded fast. Spain’s Victor del Corral overcame a slow swim with a strong bike and a run that nobody could match. Del Corral blasted through the men’s field on the flat run in 2:50:09, winning his first Ironman title in 8:44:39. Bayliss came in second, and Portugal’s Sergio Marques rounded out the podium in third.
Denmark’s Michelle Vesterby said coming into this race that she’d win it, though it would only be her third attempt at the distance after debuting at Ironman Arizona last year. Vesterby led the women in the swim, exiting the water in 51:43. She stayed ahead on the bike, posting the women’s second-fastest bike split in 5:39:25. Though she struggled toward the end of the run, the 31-year old held on to her lead and fulfilled her own prophecy, winning Lanzarote in 9:58:06. Making it a true daily double, Bella Bayliss, wife of men’s second-place finisher, Stephen Bayliss, crossed the line in second. The Netherlands’ Heleen Bij de Vaate ran it in for third.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain – May 19, 2012
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Victor del Corral 8:44:40
2. Stephen Bayliss 8:53:38
3. Sergio Marques 9:02:59
4. Bert Jammaer 9:04:42
5. Patrick Jaberg 9:06:26
1. Michelle Vesterby 9:58:07
2. Bella Bayliss 10:06:13
3. Heleen Bij de Vaate 10:17:34
4. Veerle D´haese 10:25:13
5. Nicole Woysch 10:37:20