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Notes From the Champions

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The top male and female professional triathletes spoke to the press just hours after crossing the finish line. Here are some snippits of what they had to say about the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championship.


Craig Alexander:

“There were a lot of bad patches today. Last year to win was exciting but this year is more rewarding because it was a different race. It was a harder race. This year I had to work at it and chip away for every mile on the bike and the run.” 

“There are some great bike riders in our group. I felt the pace was slid early. I got dropped two or three times on the way up to Hawi. The thing is, my main focus was just to give a good title defense and put in a performance I could be proud of.” 

“I didn’t attack [Lieto] I just found a rhythm. But I didn’t feel that fluid motion I felt last year. Today I felt like I had to work for every second.” 

“I think a lot about my family out there. They sacrifice a lot for me; we travel a lot. I certainly feel, not a pressure or obligation, but a duty to the people who make my career possible. I don’t want to let them down. It’s nice to give something back with a good performance.”


Chris Lieto:

“My run has been getting better and I was sad and surprised to hear I ran a 3:02. I feel I could have ran better. The tail wind coming out of the energy lab and the heat was really bad. I thought I would feel better coming out of the Energy Lab but I didn’t. Momentum-wise I felt like I was slowing down a lot, and when he [Crowie] went by me I didn’t think I was going to go with him. I was with him for like 20 seconds and then just shook my head and fell back. I tried again and bridged back up for a little while. It feels good to run with someone. But then he started slowly turning the screws and getting faster and faster. When he went down to 5:50 at one point it was too much.”

“I had a lot of bad patches today and I had to dig deep and think about things to motivate me. My family means a lot to me and are very important to me. I want to be an example to my son and my wife. But I was also want to be an example to everyone. I draw a lot from my faith. This race was, for me, a praise to God for what he has given me in my life to do what I do. That’s why I push myself and I why I wanted to win so badly.”


Andreas Raelert:

“I felt I had a perfect race. I was dreaming about making the podium, but I knew I had to learn a lot about this race for the future. I knew I was in really good shape, and when I started to run with Crowie, I know he is the greatest Ironman runner in the world and I was feeling very comfortable. It was great to work together. I got a momentum from it, but I knew I would pay for it later.” 

“After missing the Olympics last year I was looking or a new goal and I am really happy with my decision to move to the long distance. It was the right time and the right move.”


Rasmus Henning:

[Talking about his broken hand] “I took a solid painkiller before the swim this morning, which helped a lot. Grabbing the bottles on the bike was the main problem. I knocked over a whole lot more than I got. But it wasn’t really a big factor in the race, but it was in the final two weeks before the race in my preparation.”

“The race tactics out on the bike surprised me a lot. There is a lot more to it, like when I rode by myself in Ironman China it was a whole different story. Today was more like ITU racing, going up and down with my power output.”

“I know I have a lot more in me. These guys are great, but I think I can be further up there next year.” 

“I owe my triathlon career to Torbjorn. He gave me some good advice over the last week before coming here. I have a lot to learn from him.”


Chrissie Wellington

“No one has great expectations on their shoulders than those I put on  mine. Yes there are expectations, but I put so much on myself that the expectations others put on me don’t really affect me at all.” 

“This year has seen the strongest and deepest female field ever assembled. I’m so proud to have taken Paula’s record. She is a legend and an icon in this sport and I feel very humbled to have my name holding the course record. But what it really shows is the growth of the sport and the growth of women in this sport, and that is really the message that needs to be sung for all to hear.” 

“I had a really good swim for me, and I think that set me up for the rest of the race. I’ve been working incredibly hard on my swim. I knew that the bike was the ace that I had to play today. I knew I had to go out strong right from the beginning and I did. I knew I could never let up.”

“I think the strong swim and strong bike set me up for a bit of a slower run I’m afraid. It was only in the last five miles that I realized I was on course to break the record and it was in those five miles that I suffered the most.” 

“Eventually my course record will go and I hope it does. Course records are meant to be broken. Women will continue to get stronger and I want that.” 

“I love the Ironman. Everyone asks me whether I get nervous before an Ironman race, and I don’t really because the distance and the conditions don’t really daunt me. I just love that challenge. That distance is always where my passion will lie. I don’t think I’m the strongest 70.3 athlete and so the Ironman will always be my focus distance.” 

Mirinda Carfrae

“I’m quite glad that I’ve qualified for the race next year because I don’t plan on doing another Ironman until then. I quite enjoy the 70.3s. I’m happy not to do this race again for another 12 months!”

“Beating Chrissy? I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon because she has a choke hold on this distance. She’s practically racing as a pro man. Hopefully someday I can take the title away from her, but I know she won’t do it without a really good fight.” 

“I felt pretty good running off the bike. I think I ran the first mile in 5:55, accidentally. But I think I could afford to ride the bike a little harder and still have some left over for the run.”


Virginia Berasategui 

“Knowing that I was going to be here, I knew I had to work a lot on my power output and my position. I think that was the key to my race today. Hawaii is Hawaii, and I was waiting all year to come here. My father was the first Spaniard to be here in 1988 and so it was really special for me. The meaning that this race has for my family made it really special to me.”

“This is a new experience for me, especially because triathlon is just now really becoming popular in Spain, partly because of me and partly because of Eneko Llanos’ finish here last year. It just really special.”

Video: 4X World Champion Mirinda Carfrae Makes Her Picks for 70.3 Chattanooga

Carfrae and former pro Patrick Mckeon break down the iconic course in Chattanooga, who looks good for the pro women's race, and their predictions for how the day will play out.