Symonds, Lester Take Inaugural Challenge Penticton
Canada’s Jeff Symonds and Australia’s Carrie Lester both dominated the professional fields to earn the victories.
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After 30 years of playing host to Ironman Canada, Penticton switched gears this year and welcomed the Challenge Family for its first-ever event in North America. The course took athletes through the heart of B.C. wine country and along stunning lakes. Canada’s Jeff Symonds and Australia’s Carrie Lester both dominated the professional fields to earn the victories.
Chris McCormack (AUS) narrowly led Symonds out of the 2.4-mile swim with a time of 55:36. The two men worked out front on the bike ride with New Zealand’s Jamie Whyte and American Dan McIntosh giving chase. Symonds, who’s best known for finishing third at the 2011 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, rode away from McCormack and earned a commanding lead to start the marathon. He ran an impressive 2:47:31 marathon to put the exclamation point on the victory. He crossed the finish line in 8:29:57. American Scott DeFilippis finished second thanks in large part to a 2:45:54 run time. Whyte rounded out the podium. McCormack, who is a Challenge Series ambassador, was second off of the bike behind Symonds, but did not finish the run.
Canada’s Karen Thibodeau posted the fastest swim split for the pro women at 58:47, with the United States’ Jennifer Luebke and Australia’s Carrie Lester coming into T1 shortly after. The early race was between those three as more than 10 minutes went by before the next pro women exited the water. Lester found the lead early on in the bike and came into T2 with a significant advantage over Thibodeau and Luebke. Lester went on to post the fastest marathon of the women (3:17:01) and earn the iron-distance victory in 9:27:26. Thibodeau claimed second, with Canada’s Jen Annett finishing third.
Penticton, B.C., Canada – Aug. 24, 2013
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Jeff Symonds (CAN) 8:29:57
2. Scott Defilippis (USA) 8:44:48
3. Jamie Whyte (NZL) 8:56:08
4. Adam O’Meara (CAN) 9:08:34
5. Anthony Toth (CAN) 9:10:14
1. Carrie Lester (AUS) 9:27:26
2. Karen Thibodeau (CAN) 9:41:42
3. Jen Annett (CAN) 9:58:23
4. Jennifer Luebke (USA) 10:13:34
5. Erin Furness (NZL) 10:13:57
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