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The United States’ Ben Kanute and Australia’s Melissa Hauschildt earned the Ironman 70.3 Texas victories on an unseasonably cool day in Galveston, Texas.
While the speedy performances of both Kanute and Hauschildt were impressive, an equally important story was the comeback of two notable pros. Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae, a three-time Ironman world champion, competed for the first time since giving birth to her daughter, Isabelle, in August of 2017. Carfrae surprised herself with a 27:42 swim, a 2:18:49 bike, and a 1:18:07 run, putting her across the finish line in second at 4:09:50. Carfrae commented after the race that she thought the race was her best 70.3 of the last five years.
On the men’s side, American Matt Russell returned to the race course with triathletes from around the world cheering him on. Russell collided with a van on the bike about four hours into the Ironman World Championship last October, suffering serious injuries including a concussion and a laceration to the neck. He underwent several procedures and surgeries to address the life threatening injuries. On Sunday he produced a 26:07 swim, a 2:05:56 bike, and a 1:14:15 half-marathon to finish seventh at 3:49:33 in his comeback race. “Some things to improve on but it’s a big victory to just be out there racing again,” Russell posted on Instagram. “Finishing this race meant so much to me today.”