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South Africa’s own Raynard Tissink and Great Britain’s Chrissie Wellington turned in fast times to take the victories at the 2011 Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa Triathlon.
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Tissink stayed near the front of the pack all day to earn his third Ironman South Africa victory and break his own course record. Wellington made a stunning debut at this race, leaving her competition in the dust to earn yet another Ironman world record with a time of 8:33:56.
The men’s race started off with German Andi Bocherer leading the men out of the 2.4-mile swim with a time of 47:42. Tissink was next out with a time of 48:53. Once on the bike Tissink and Bocherer took advantage of their front positioning and worked to ride away from the rest of the field. They were joined by Australia’s Luke Bell and pre-race favorite Marino Vanhoenacker of Belgium. Eventually Bell suffered stomach issues and was forced to the back of the pack. Vanhoenacker used the fastest bike split of the day at 4:18:14 to lead the men heading onto the marathon course. Tissink was next, followed closely by Bocherer. As the trio hit the run course, it became obvious that one of them would be the eventual winner. The fourth man did not enter the run course until nearly 10 minutes after Vanhoenacker.
After being passed by a fast running Tissink, Vanhoenacker withdrew from the race leaving a two-man battle for the title. Tissink’s 2:53:21 marathon proved to be too much for Bocherer to overcome and he took the title, and a new course record, in 8:05:36. Bocherer cruised in for second exactly three minutes later. James Cunnama made it two of three South Africans on the podium.
In the women’s race, American Amanda Stevens and Great Britain’s Rachel Joyce were the only two to spend time ahead of Wellington today. Despite strong swims by both Stevens and Joyce, they were quickly overtaken by Wellington on the bike. Wellington’s lead would only grow from there. She posted a 4:45:23 bike split to give herself a 16:51 lead over Joyce. Despite the large lead, Wellington did not let up once on the run. She posted a blistering 2:52:54 marathon, the fastest run of the day by a man or a woman, to easily take the victory and a new course record at 8:33:56. Joyce finished nearly 35 minutes later for second. Germany’s Diana Riesler rounded out the podium.
Ironman South Africa
Port Elizabeth, South Africa – April 10, 2011
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Raynard Tissink (RSA) 8:05:36
2. Andreas Boecherer (GER) 8:08:36
3. James Cunnama (RSA) 8:13:18
4. Daniel Fontana (ITA) 8:18:51
5. Cyril Viennot (FRA) 8:30:42
1. Chrissie Wellington (GBR) 8:33:56
2. Rachel Joyce (GBR) 9:08:23
3. Diana Riesler (GER) 9:20:37
4. Silvia Felt (GER) 9:24:31
5. Amanda Stevens (USA) 9:25:50