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On a hot and humid day in The Woodlands, Texas, one of America’s first “master planned” communities located just north of Houston, Eneko Llanos of Spain used a solid swim/bike/run combination to take the title in the first-ever Ironman Texas. Catriona Morrison of Great Britain used a strong run to take a decisive win and her second Ironman title.
The 2.4-mile swim was a loop of Lake Woodlands before heading toward the finish down a channel with no wetsuits allowed. The pros started together at 6:50 a.m., and former member of the U.S. national open water swim team John Flanagan led the men out of the water. He had more than a 2-minute lead heading into T1, but by 40 miles through the bike the chase pack, which included some top contenders, such as Luke Bell, Luke McKenzie, Eneko Llanos and Tim O’Donnell (racing his first Ironman), had caught up to Flanagan. It didn’t take long for super-cyclist Chris Lieto to make up the gap of three minutes behind the chase pack. Just before midway through the bike course, as it headed through Sam Houston National Forest, Lieto made his move, with Llanos, McKenzie and Bell sticking close behind. With a blazing fast 4:15:13 bike split, Lieto had a 7:33 lead over Bell and Llanos, and 9:13 over O’Donnell. Lieto dropped out during the run (no word yet as to why), which allowed Bell and Llanos, running shoulder to shoulder, and a surging O’Donnell to go for the win. At the halfway point in the run, O’Donnell was just 25 seconds behind Bell and Llanos. Bell faded to third, and O’Donnell never quite caught up to Llanos. Llanos came across the line in 8:08:20, O’Donnell in second and Bell in third.
Kelly Williamson, who lives and trains in Austin, Texas, and Dede Greisbauer, a former All-American swimmer, were first out of the water. Sofie Goos, a Belgian and former Ironman Florida winner, quickly surged to the front of the bike, with Greisbauer and Williamson within a minute behind, and Ironman Lanzarote winner Catriona Morrison about two minutes down. By mile 50, Goos had maintained her lead, with Tine Deckers, who won the Ironman in Nice, France, last year, pulling within two minutes, and Linsey Corbin and Morrison more than four minutes down. Deckers took the lead before the 70-mile point and rode a 4:44:46 bike to be the first into T2. Next was Morrison (more than 6 minutes down), followed by Tyler Stewart, who used a 4:42:40 bike split to move into third place. During the run, Morrison quickly gained time on Deckers and passed her before the midway point. Morrison kept gaining time on the other women and finished in 8:57:51, a full 10 minutes over runner-up Williamson. Goos edged out Stewart to round out the podium.
Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas
May 21, 2011 – The Woodlands, Texas
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Eneko Llanos (ESP) 8:08:20
2. Timothy O’Donnell (USA) 8:09:50
3. Luke Bell (AUS) 8:12:22
4. Jan Raphael (GER) 8:20:41
5. Jozsef Major (HUN) 8:24:17
1. Catriona Morrison (GBR) 8:57:51
2. Kelly Williamson (USA) 9:07:54
3. Sofie Goos (BEL) 9:12:53
4. Tyler Stewart (USA) 9:13:13
5. Tine Deckers (BEL) 09:19:27