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Vanhoenacker, Kessler Win Ironman New Zealand-Turned 70.3

Despite the fact that Ironman New Zealand was turned into a 70.3 and pushed back 24 hours, athletes made the most of the day.

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Despite the fact that Ironman New Zealand was turned into a 70.3 and pushed back 24 hours, athletes made the most of the day and raced hard over the 70.3-distance. Ultimately it was Belgium’s Marino Vanhoenacker and the United States’ Meredith Kessler who turned in strong early-season fitness to take the wins.

Vanhoenacker earned the 3:55:03 win thanks in large part to his 1:12:41 half marathon. Narrowly missing out on the victory was Australia’s Tim Reed, who finished just 48 seconds of Vanhoenacker. Third place went to 10-time Ironman New Zealand winner Cameron Brown.

In the women’s race, Kessler took the win thanks to a 1:21:38 run split. Her 4:22:46 finish time was nearly eight minutes faster than that of second-place finisher Kate Bevilaqua of Australia. New Zealand’s Joanna Lawn, a seven-time winner at this race, finished third.

Ironman New Zealand (70.3)
March 4, 2012 – Taupo, New Zealand
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run

Men
1. Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 3:55:03
2. Timothy Reed (AUS) 3:55:51
3. Cameron Brown (NZL) 3:56:38
4. Romain Guillamue (FRA) 3:58:03
5. Aaron Farlow (AUS) 3:58:57

Women
1. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:22:46
2. Kate Bevilaqua (AUS) 4:30:37
3. Joanna Lawn (NZL) 4:30:40
4. Jessica Jacobs (USA) 4:31:46
5. Gina Crawford (NZL) 4:32:45