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The United States’ Andy Potts and Great Britain’s Chrissie Wellington defended their titles at the Timberman Ironman 70.3 triathlon. Potts dominated the men’s field by winning by more than seven minutes and setting a new course record, while Wellington worked hard on the run to hold off a fast running Catriona Morrison of Scotland.
After a half hour delay due to a car accident on the bike course, the race finally got under way at 7:30 a.m. Potts started the day by shocking no one and emerging first from Lake Winnipesaukee with a time of 22:23. American John Kenny was right on Potts’ heels, with American David Kahn and Italian Alberto Casadei also emerging towards the front. Sweeden’s Bjorn Andersson was eighth out of the water and quickly worked to bridge the gap to Potts. At mile 37, Andersson caught Potts and took the lead. Potts maintained his second position as the two built a large margin over the other men. Once on the run, Potts chased down Andersson and gave no one a chance to catch him. Potts’ half-marathon time of 1:16:20 was the fastest of the field, and gave him the overall win and a new course record of 3:51:19. Casadei also posted a fast half-marathon time at 1:18:24 to overtake three men in the final leg of the race and earn second position at 3:58:52. Fellow Italian Massimo Cigana maintained his third position off of the bike to round out the podium with a time of 3:59:32.
While many course records come as a result of a close race and a push to the finish line, Potts’ record came with little competition. Potts attributes the course record to his game plan coming into the race: “When I talked to my coach he told me my goal was to push to mile 10 on the run. It didn’t matter where anyone else was. I knew I had to put in an honest day’s work, so I could go home satisfied. Once I got to that 10-mile mark, I thought to myself ‘let’s get this over with’, so I kept the pace for the last few miles.”
In the women’s race, Wellington was forced to turn in a tough performance with top women from the sport on hand to challenge her in the swim, bike and run. American Dede Griesbauer opened up an early lead with a swim time of 25:13. Canadian Magali Tisseyre and Wellington were the next to emerge, and the pair went to work on the bike. Wellington was the first to catch Griesbauer, with Tisseyre not far behind. Tisseyre kept Wellington as close as possible, but the world champion was able to get away and head into T2 with a substantial lead over Tisseyre in second. The gap between Wellington and Tisseyre widened on the run course, as Wellington was able to throw down a 6:27/mile pace. While Tisseyre had appeared to be the most immediate threat to Wellington heading onto the run, Morrison proved to be the toughest challenger. After one lap of the two-loop run course, Morrison looked to be on pace to beat Wellington to the finish line. Wellington picked up the pace and earned the victory at 4:15:11. Morrison turned in the fastest half-marathon for the women at 1:20:25, and earned second with an overall time of 4:17:07. Tisseyre easily held onto third with a time of 4:23:54.
Timberman Ironman 70.3
Gilford, N.H. – Aug. 23, 2009
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Andy Potts (USA) 3:51:19
2. Alberto Casadei (ITA) 3:58:52
3. Massimo Cigana (ITA) 3:59:32
4. Michael Lovato (USA) 4:01:29
5. Christopher Legh (AUS) 4:01:53
1. Chrissie Wellington (GBR) 4:15:11
2. Catriona Morrison (GBR) 4:17:07
3. Magali Tisseyre (CAN) 4:23:54
4. Dede Griesbauer (USA) 4:31:53
5. Kate Major (USA) 4:38:15
Check back for a photo gallery from the race.