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Craig “Crowie” Alexander reclaimed the Ironman 70.3 world champion title, which he first won in 2006, at today’s race on a new, challenging course around Lake Las Vegas and Henderson, Nev. Aussie Melissa Rollison, who first came to our attention by winning this year’s Vineman 70.3, captured her first half-iron world champ title. Both winners outran their respective fields to finish with a commanding lead.
The race started with a 1.2-mile swim in tranquil Lake Las Vegas. Andy Potts exited the water alone, followed nearly a minute later by American Kevin Collington and Aussie Paul Matthews. Potts held the lead through the early miles of the bike, but by mile 13 the chase pack including Alexander, Paul Ambrose, Filip Ospaly and Chris Lieto among others was closing in. Lieto soon charged to the front, posting the fastest bike split of the day (2:10:36) by nearly five minutes. Raynard Tissink was in second place towards the end of the bike, but lost the runner-up spot when he had to stop in the penalty tent just outside T2. The penalty tent had a steady of stream of athletes passing through today, suggesting there was quite a bit of pack riding out there. Alexander came off of the bike in third despite suffering a flat tire on the ride. At mile 3 on the run, Chris Lieto’s lead had shrunk to 3 minutes over Alexander. Paul Matthews was 3:15 back, with Joe Gambles another thirty seconds back. About three and a half hours into the race, Lieto was passed by a hard charging Alexander, who ran a blistering 1:11:50 half-marathon to secure the win. Alexander crossed with a finish time of 3:54:48. Lieto finished second in 3:58:03, and Canadian Jeff Symonds had a spectacular day, finishing in third.
Leanda Cave and Julie Dibens asserted an early lead, swimming to the front of the field and maintaining that lead onto the bike. Cave was first out of T1, but Dibens cruised to the lead in the early miles. Dibens posted the fastest bike split of the day (2:27:44) but eventual winner Melissa Rollison’s bike split was only about ten seconds slower. Karin Thuerig, Linsey Corbin and Heather Wurtele charged toward the front of the field during the bike leg, and within striking distance of Dibens and Rollison heading out onto the run. Rollison showcased her immense running talent today, taking the lead from Dibens within a couple miles into the run. Rollison was untouchable through the finish, running a super-fast 1:21:14 half-marathon for a total finish time of 4:20:55. Thuerig ran into runner-up position, crossing the finish line six minutes later. Corbin held off Heather Jackson on the run to snag the last spot on the podium. After a grueling effort, Dibens dropped out of the race.
Marines Ironman World Championship 70.3
Henderson, Nev. – Sept. 11, 2011
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:54:48
2. Chris Lieto (USA) 3:58:03
3. Jeff Symonds (CAN) 3:58:42
4. Michael Weiss (AUT) 3:59:11
5. Joe Gambles (AUS) 4:00:00
1. Melissa Rollison (AUS) 4:20:55
2. Karin Thuerig (SUI) 4:26:52
3. Linsey Corbin (USA) 4:29:25
4. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:30:21
5. Joanna Lawn (NZL) 4:33:08