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Due to recent flooding and subsequent road closures in the Des Moines area, race officials were forced to make the decision Friday to change the race course. Under the new plan, elite athletes completed the Olympic distance but with an altered four-lap bike course. All age-group athletes raced on a revised sprint-distance course.
The top field of pros (athletes must qualify to compete at Hy-Vee) came to Des Moines to compete for their share of a $500,000 pro prize purse, the largest in Olympic-distance racing. The race paid 30 deep, with $100,000 going to first place and $500 going to 30th place. With 30 men and 30 women on the start list, that means every finisher went home with prize money.
In the end the United States’ Hunter Kemper and Denmark’s Helle Frederiksen took the victories with big performances on the run.
Super swimmer Josh Amberger (AUS) led the men out of the water at 15:34, with Cameron Dye (USA), Clayton Fettell (AUS), Greg Bennett (AUS), Hunter Kemper (USA) and a long string of 13 other athletes following close behind. Dye, who is a specialist at this format of racing, dominated the 40K bike course in a time of 54:40 to earn over-a-minute lead coming into T2. Behind Dye a large group came in together, making it a run race to the finish. Would the American be able to hold off the fleet of former Olympians behind him? Dye struggled to keep pace and fell back, as American Hunter Kemper shined. The 38-year-old, four-time Olympian posted the second-fastest run split of the day (30:56) to propel himself to the front of the race. He crossed the finish line at 1:44:43 to take the win and the $100,000 paycheck. Switzerland’s Ruedi Wild had a solid all-around day to finish second at 1:45:01. Australia’s Brad Kahlefeldt made it an Olympian sweep on the podium, claiming third at 1:45:16.
American Sara McLarty was first out of the water (16:07) with Frederiksen (16:17) and American Lauren Brandon (16:19) following close behind. Long course stars Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) and Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) had high hopes coming into this race despite some long training in their legs, but slow swims (Carfrae at 18:01 and Hauschildt at 19:30) made it difficult for them to be in contention.
Alicia Kaye (USA) came out of the water one-minute down, but quickly used her strong cycling skills to turn in the fastest bike split of the women (59:54) and find the front. Kaye, Frederiksen and 2010 Ironman 70.3 world champion Jodie Swallow (GBR) led the women into T2. Frederiksen followed her strong swim and bike with the fastest 10K of the women (35:08) to take the win in convincing fashion at 1:54:44. Kaye followed at 1:55:52, with Swallow rounding out the podium in 1:56:09.
Hy-Vee 5150 Elite Cup
Aug. 31, 2014 – Des Moines, Iowa
1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
1. Hunter Kemper (USA) 1:44:43
2. Ruedi Wild (SUI) 1:45:01
3. Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) 1:45:16
4. Matt Chrabot (USA) 1:45:35
5. Kevin Collington (USA) 1:45: 40
6. Kaleb VanOrt (USA) 1:45:52
7. Greg Bennett (AUS) 1:46:00
8. Ben Collins (USA) 1:46:08
9. Rodolphe Von Berg (ITA) 1:46:15
10. James Seear (AUS) 1:46:32
1. Helle Frederiksen (DEN) 1:54:44
2. Alicia Kaye (USA) 1:55:52
3. Jodie Swallow (GBR) 1:56:09
4. Lauren Goss (USA) 1:58:09
5. Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) 1:58:58
6. Jennifer Spieldenner (USA) 1:59:40
7. Radka Vodickova (CZE) 2:00:00
8. Laura Bennett (USA) 2:00:09
9. Mary Beth Ellis (USA) 2:00:31
10. Svenja Bazlen (GER) 2:00:48