Sam Appleton, Meredith Kessler Victorious At 70.3 Vineman
Australia's Sam Appleton and the United States' Meredith Kessler came out on top against tough fields in Sonoma County.
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A favorite among professional triathletes from around the world, Ironman 70.3 Vineman in Sonoma County, Calif. once again welcomed a stellar field—this time to honor the 25th running of the event. Ultimately it was the United States’ Meredith Kessler who grabbed her fourth victory on what she considers her home course (she resides in San Francisco) and Australia’s Sam Appleton who earned his first win on this point-to-point course.
Australia’s Jake Montgomery led the men out of the 1.2-mile river swim at 22:42, but he had close company with a group of 12 that included Appleton and the rest of the contenders following only seconds behind. Through the first chunk of the 56-mile bike course most of those top athletes stuck together out front, making for an exciting race to T2. Eventually Appleton, Bowstead, Collins and Bell broke things up a bit, with Appleton leading the charge. Appleton eventually broke away on his own, posting a race-best 2:03:17 bike split to earn a 90-second lead starting the run. Onto the half-marathon course, three-time Ironman world champion Craig Alexander (AUS), Tim O’Donnell (USA) and Kevin Collington (USA) were Appleton’s toughest competition. Their efforts didn’t faze Appleton as he carried his momentum onto the run course and posted the fastest run split of the day (1:13:40) to earn the 3:43:06 victory. Alexander’s 1:13:43 run split gave him the runner-up spot at 3:45:24, with Collington rounding out the top three in 3:47:18.
American Lauren Brandon was the first female to enter T1 thanks to a swim time of 23:03. Defending champion Kessler was next at 24:06, with the United States’ Emily Cocks (24:07), Great Britain’s Holly Lawrence (24:09) and Great Britain’s Leanda Cave (24:09) following about a minute later. Three-time Ironman world champion Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) started the race with a four-minute deficit to Brandon and a three-minute deficit to that lead group. Kessler and Lawrence were the big movers on the bike, putting them side-by-side in the lead to start the half-marathon. According to reports, Lawrence pulled out with an injury pretty early on, leaving Kessler alone out front. Kessler rounded out her day with a 1:24:28 half-marathon to take the 4:11:58 victory. Canada’s Magali Tisseyre had a stellar day, moving from seventh out of the swim to third off of the bike and second at the finish line in 4:13:09. Carfrae’s field-best 1:21:54 half-marathon propelled her from seventh at T2 to third at the finish line in 4:18:33.
Ironman 70.3 Vineman
Sonoma County, Calif. – July 12, 2015
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Sam Appleton (AUS) 3:43:06
2. Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:45:24
3. Kevin Collington (USA) 3:47:18
4. Timothy O’Donnell (USA) 3:49:16
5. Ben Collins (USA) 3:49:51
1. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:11:58
2. Magali Tisseyre (CAN) 4:13:09
3. Mirinda Carefrae (AUS) 4:18:33
4. Emily Cocks (USA) 4:23:54
5. Lauren Siddall (USA) 4:26:41