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Canada’s Brent McMahon and the United States’ Liz Lyles each turned in performances today at Ironman Florianopolis that will make them athletes to watch come Kona time. Each completed the 140.6 miles in course-record times—McMahon at 7:46:10 and Lyles at 8:54:10—to earn the Ironman South American Championship titles, $30,000 winning paychecks and automatic starting spots on October’s Ironman World Championship start line.
Brazil’s Marcus Vinicius Fernandes led the men out of the “M”-shaped swim course with a split of 47:19, with Australia’s Paul Matthews (27 seconds back), McMahon (28 seconds back), Great Britain’s Tim Don (30 seconds) and Brazli’s Igor Amorelli (32 seconds back) as the closest pursuers into T1.
As the athletes entered the two-lap bike course under rainy conditions, Amorelli earned the early lead. He was eventually joined by McMahon, and the two traded the top spot before McMahon made his break on his way to a commanding lead. Thanks to a dominant 4:11:54 bike split, the Canadian’s advantage stood at 10:12 over Don in second, 12:10 over American Kevin Collington in third and 12:55 over Matthews in fourth, as the men entered T2.
McMahon then backed up that stellar bike effort with an equally impressive run—turning in a 2:42:52 marathon to claim the win in 7:46:10. This performance marks McMahon’s third time going under the all-important eight-hour mark (he went 7:55:48 to win his Ironman debut in Arizona in 2014 and 7:56:55 to finish third at this race last year). The 7:46:10 finish time is only 12 seconds off of the fastest time ever posted at an Ironman—7:45:58 by Belgium’s Marino Vanhoenacker at Ironman Austria in 2011. Don finished a distant second at 8:04:15, with Collington rounding out the top three at 8:04:58.
Super swimmer Lucie Zelenkova (CZE) posted a stellar swim to exit the water at 54:10, earning a 2:32 advantage over American Laurel Wassner, a 2:37 advantage over American Cait Snow, a 2:39 advantage over Bruna Mahn (BRA) and a 2:41 advantage over eventual winner Lyles.
Zelenkova enjoyed the early lead out front, but it only lasted until about 35K into the bike ride when Lyles powered by to claim the top spot. Lyles ultimately posted a field-best 4:48:37 bike split to start the the run with a 7:36 lead over her closest pursuer—Germany’s Mareen Hufe. Spain’s Gurutze Frades was onto the run in a distant third at almost 17 minutes back.
Like McMahon, Lyles backed up her impressive bike performance with a stellar marathon to earn a dominant victory. Her 3:03:48 run split put her across the finish line at 8:54:10. Hufe was solid on the marathon to maintain her runner-up spot, crossing the finish line at 9:09:36. Frades claimed third at 9:15:52.
2016 Ironman South American Championship Brazil
Florianopolis, Brazil – May 29, 2016
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Brent McMahon (CAN) 7:46:10
2. Tim Don (GBR) 8:04:15
3. Kevin Collington (USA) 8:04:58
4. Paul Matthews (AUS) 8:08:57
5. Pedro Gomes (PRT) 8:16:42
1. Elizabeth Lyles (USA) 8:54:10
2. Mareen Hufe (GER) 9:09:25
3. Gurutze Frades (ESP) 9:21:18
4. Ariane Monticeli (BRA) 9:21:18
5. Kristin Möller (GER) 9:29:36