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Americans Tim O’Donnell and Kelly Williamson beat out tough competition to take the victories at the inaugural Ironman 70.3 San Juan event in Puerto Rico.
The men’s race started off with Americans David Kahn and O’Donnell leading out of the water with a 1.2-mile swim time of 23:55. The pair’s lead was tiny though, as seven other athletes entered T1 within a minute of the Americans. The close swim led to the formation of a lead pack early on in the bike that included O’Donnell, Australia’s Luke McKenzie, Ukraine’s Maxim Kriat, Kahn, Estonia’s Marko Albert, Australia’s Richie Cunningham, Australia’s Chris McCormack, Argentina’s Oscar Galindez and the United States’ Chris McDonald.
Eventually O’Donnell and McKenzie made a move and broke off of the front, establishing a two-minute lead over the chase pack at the 37-mile mark. As the end of the bike neared, McKenzie rode ahead of O’Donnell and managed to establish a lead of just over one minute into T2. O’Donnell was next onto the run course, with Great Britain’s Paul Amey, Galindez and Kahn following.
O’Donnell quickly took control on the run, posting a 1:16:17 half marathon to take the 3:49:29 victory. Amey earned second at 3:56:37, with McKenzie hanging on for third at 3:56:57.
The competition in the women’s race increased before the race even started. Americans Laurel Wassner, Rebeccah Wassner and Desiree Ficker were late additions to an already star-packed lineup.
Rebeccah Wassner made an immediate impact, finishing the swim first with a time of 25:54. Right behind her were Germany’s Nina Kraft and Laurel Wassner. Several top contenders including Canada’s Magali Tisseyre, Ficker and the Netherlands’ Yvonne Van Vlerken headed into T1 with significant time to make up on the lead swimmers.
Once on the bike, American Margaret Shapiro controlled the pace and posted a 2:19:34 bike split to lead starting the run. Tisseyre, Van Vlerken, Australia’s Kate Major and Williamson were next onto the half-marathon course. Despite being two of the faster runners on the course, Tisseyre and Van Vlerken both faded. Williamson ran strong, posting a 1:20:25 run split and propelling herself from fifth off of the bike to first at the finish line. She easily took the victory with a time of 4:15:38. Major earned second in 4:19:09. American Caitlin Snow posted a solid half marathon to claim the final podium spot.
Ironman 70.3 San Juan
San Juan, Puerto Rico – March 19, 2011
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Tim O’Donnell (USA) 3:49:29
2. Paul Amey (GBR) 3:52:37
3. Luke McKenzie (AUS) 3:56:57
4. David Kahn (USA) 3:58:40
5. Alessandro Degasperi (ITA) 4:01:15
1. Kelly Williamson (USA) 4:15:38
2. Kate Major (AUS) 4:19:09
3. Caitlin Snow (USA) 4:20:33
4. Magali Tisseyre (CAN) 1:28:29
5. Margaret Shapiro (USA) 4:24:52