McKenzie Repeats, Klingler Earns Debut Title At Ironman Japan

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Australian young gun Luke McKenzie backed up his victory at Goto Fukue from a year ago, while Liechtenstein’s Klingler takes her first Ironman victory in Japan.

The swim was led out by New Zealander Kieran Doe, and was quickly joined by what would be the definitive lead group on the bike; Cameron Watt, Tim Marr and McKenzie, with strong runner Courtney Ogden left out to chase the balance of the bike at over four minute behind.

With 25 miles left in the bike, Watt turned up the gas, with McKenzie the only able to respond to the effort as Doe and Marr falling off pace. The effort netted Watt and McKenzie a seven-minute buffer headed into T2, the two each scoring a 4:40 bike split.

Onto the run, McKenzie quickly assumed authority of the race, taking a two-minute lead in just the first two miles of the marathon. That lead would grow to over fifteen minutes, and despite a spate of late-mile fatigue, McKenzie would beat his time of a year ago to finish in 8:28:31.  Ogden was able to eventually capture and pass a fading Watt to run into second place, but unable to close on the defending race champ settled for second, over 14 minutes back. Czech run specialist Petr Vabrousek claimed third, three minutes in arrears of Ogden.

In typical fashion in the womens battle, the race was led out by high volume specialist Hillary Biscay with a 52-minute swim to set up the day. A 5:28 bike split helped her maintain the lead off the bike, but the lead would be short-lived. Liechtenstein’s Nicole Klingler rolled into T2 just over five minutes behind, thanks to a day-best 5:22 bike split, and passed Biscay early on as the American faded on the marathon.

Klingler’s only competition would come from Australian Nicole Ward, three minutes back of Klingler through the run. Ward made a few efforts to close the gap, but suffered for her efforts and gave her gains of seconds back in a matter of miles. The two would end up with the same marathon split (3:27), ensuring Klingler’s race was safe. Klingler crossed in 9:52:52 to take her first victory, as well as the first Ironman victory for an athlete from the country of Liechtenstein.

Ironman Japan
June 21, 2009, Goto Fukue, Japan
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run

1. Luke McKenzie (AUS)    8:28:31
2. Courtney Ogden (AUS)    8:42:54
3. Petr Vabrousek (CZE)    8:45:59
4. Park Byung Hoon (KOR)    8:49:10
5. Kuniaki Takahama (JPN)    8:51:28
6. Hiroyuki Nishiuchi (JPN)    8:56:59
7. Cameron Watt (AUS)    8:57:54
8. Morimichi Iihoshi (JPN)    9:03:22
9. Masayuki Matsumaru (JPN)    9:04:14
10. Daiki Masuda (JPN)    9:05:17

1. Nicole Klingler (LIE) 9:52:52
2. Nicole Ward (AUS) 9:56:00
3. Megumi Shigaki (JPN) 10:01:07
4. Hiromi Sato (JPN) 10:07:50
5. Hillary Biscay (USA) 10:14:19
6. Kaori Tokai (JPN) 10:31:29
7. Mai Taketomo (JPN) 10:46:18
8. Amanda Balding (AUS) 10:51:55
9. Anne Fallows (GBR) 11:05:59
10. Masako Kawakami (JPN) 11:11:21

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