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Docherty, Kessler Win 70.3 Vineman

New Zealand's Bevan Docherty and the United States' Meredith Kessler earned the victories against tough competition at Ironman 70.3 Vineman.

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Vineman 70.3, in Northern California’s wine country, is always one of the more popular races on the circuit. And this year was no exception with 28 pro men and 19 women lining up.

Men’s Race
The men’s race was split up by halfway through the swim as the pace was pushed in the warm, shallow waters of the Russian River. A large group exited the swim together led by John Dahlz (USA) in 22:55. In the 20 seconds following him, Paul Matthews (AUS), Tim Don (GBR), Terenzo Bozzone (NZL), Brandon Marsh (USA), Luke Bell (AUS), Bevan Docherty (NZL) and Martin Jensen (DNK) all came into T1. Another minute back Tim Reed (AUS), Joe Gambles (AUS) and Felipe Van de Wyngard (CHL) came out of the water around 24:20.

On the bike, Docherty showed off the speed the two-time Olympic medalist is famous for. By halfway he had opened a gap of nearly a minute-and-a-half over Jensen, who was followed closely by a group of six. That pace more-or-less continued over the point-to-point bike with Docherty coming into T2 first after a race-best 2:06:48 bike split. He was followed over two minutes back by a large pack made up of Gambles (2:08:09), Reed (2:07:59), Don (2:09:34), Jensen (2:09:09), Bozzone (2:09:29), Bell (2:09:22), and Marsh (2:09:45). Just 30 seconds separated second from eighth heading onto the run.

Bozzone and Reed quickly began to cut into Docherty’s lead, running together. By mile 8, Docherty was just 55 seconds ahead of the pair, with Gambles another 45 seconds behind them, trailed by Don. But, the New Zealander, who now lives in Santa Cruz, Calif., was too fast to catch and picked it up in the back half of the race to win handily. Docherty ran a 1:12:16 to set a new course record of 3:45:10. Reed pulled away from Bozzone to run a 1:11:47 to cross the line second in 3:47:14. Bozzone’s 1:11:57 run got him third in 3:47:21. Gambles was just 30 seconds back, running 1:12:20 to finish in 3:48:59. Don’s 1:13:11 run earned him fifth in 3:48:49.

Women’s Race
Meredith Kessler (USA) defended her 2012 title in dominating fashion – and living just an hour from the course she had plenty of fans to cheer her on to the win. Kessler was first out of the water in 25:03, followed by hometown favorite Emily Cocks (USA) in 25:36, Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) in 25:43, Amy Marsh (USA) in 25:51 and Lisa Mensink (CAN) in 26:16. Another minute behind them was a large group included Linsey Corbin (USA) and Heather Jackson (USA).

On the bike, Kessler opened up her lead with nearly a minute over Marsh and Lidbury by nine miles, followed by Mensink, Cocks, and a fast-moving Jackson. By 19 miles Kessler had expanded that lead over Lidbury, followed by Marsh and Jackson, with Mensink and Corbin then trailing. After a second-best 2:22:49 bike, Kessler entered T2 first. Lidbury, who biked a 2:24:10, and Jackson, whose race-best 2:22:15 bike moved her through the field, were next. Over a minute behind then, Marsh was fourth onto the run after a 2:25:08 bike, followed by Corbin (2:28:47).

Though Jackson hit the run just 45 seconds or so behind Kessler, she couldn’t catch her. Kessler’s race-best 1:20:46 run sealed the deal as she crossed the finish line first in 4:13:18. Kessler’s win made a big statement as she suffered a concussion and other injuries in a bike crash at last month’s 70.3 Eagleman. Jackson pulled away from Lidbury with a 1:22:11 run to come in second in 4:15:09. Marsh used a 1:24:57 run to pass Lidbury, who ran 1:27:01, to take the third podium spot in 4:19:45. Lidbury was fourth in 4:20:20. Corbin’s 1:24:20 run earned her fifth in 4:24:41.

Ironman 70.3 Vineman
Sonoma County, Calif. – July 14, 2013
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run

1. Bevan Docherty (NZL) 3:45:10
2. Tim Reed (AUS) 3:47:14
3. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:47:21
4. Joe Gambles (AUS)  3:47:59
5. Tim Don (GBR) 3:48:49

1. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:13:18
2. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:15:09
3. Amy Marsh (USA) 4:19:45
4. Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) 4:20:20
5. Linsey Corbin (USA) 4:24:41

Complete results here.

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