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Strong racing leads to big rewards in Tennessee.
Heather Jackson is back on top. After recording a DNF at the Ironman 70.3 North American Championships earlier this month, Jackson unleashed her frustration and fitness on the rolling hills of Tennessee to take the win at Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga. Jackson bested a stacked women’s field that included Canadian 70.3 star Magali Tisseyre and three-time Ironman World Champion Mirinda Carfrae.
In the men’s race, 2014 Ironman World Champion and two-time 70.3 World Champion Sebastian Kienle broke the tape after fending off a strong and surprising challenge from Australian Sam Appleton.
Ivan Tutukin of Russia was the first male pro contender out of the water in 22:53, thirteen seconds ahead of a chase pack containing Appleton, Christian Kramer, Kevin Ryan, Kyle Buckingham, and Kienle.
Once on the bike, Kienle set out to take the lead away from Tutukin, and by mile 20, the goal was accomplished. At the halfway point of the 56-mile bike leg, Kienle’s lead was extended by 2 minutes and 30 seconds. It seemed Kienle, one of the sport’s best cyclists, would once again enter T2 with a commanding lead.
And then Sam Appleton appeared—seemingly out of nowhere. The Aussie had quietly worked during the second half of the bike to get within striking distance of the race leader. As the pair entered T2 with only 28 seconds of separation, it was clear Appleton planned to give Kienle a run for his money.
At first, it looked as if the campaign could be successful—in the first three miles, Kienle’s lead was reduced to only 20 seconds. By mile 5, however, Appleton began to fade slightly while Kienle maintained his consistent pace. Kienle broke the tape at 3:46:48, with Appleton following two minutes later. Tutukin took third-place honors to round out the podium.
Canadian Magali Tisseyre notched a 25:15 swim split to start the day in the women’s pro race, with Jeanni Seymour, Katie Thomas, and Ashley Clifford 24 seconds behind.
Though Jackson exited the water one minute off the lead, she put her head down and aimed toward the front immediately. Her strong cycling legs made quick work of the rolling Chattanooga course, where she passed eight competitors to take the lead by mile 20. Her 2:17:38 bike split gave her more than 5 minutes of cushion over the rest of the field heading into T2.
That dominance continued on the run, where Jackson clocked a 6:24 min/mile pace to take the win in 4:11:56. Tisseyre crossed 6:38 behind for second place, while Carfrae ran a day-best 1:22:32 half marathon to claim the third podium spot.
2016 IRONMAN 70.3 CHATTANOOGA
Chattanooga, Tennessee, May 22, 2016
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1 3:46:48 Sebastian Kienle
2 3:48:46 Sam Appleton
3 3:53:05 Ivan Tutukin
4 3:57:34 Justin Park
5 3:57:51 Matt Russell
1 4:11:56 Heather Jackson
2 4:18:33 Magali Tisseyre
3 4:19:32 Mirinda Carfrae
4 4:21:12 Jeanni Seymour
5 4:21:22 Lauren Barnett
Full results here.