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Three-time defending Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington proved at last month’s Ironman 70.3 Kansas race that she is back from the injuries that sidelined her back in January. Today, with an 8:19:13 victory at the Challenge Roth iron-distance triathlon, Wellington proved she is in her strongest form ever. The men’s race went to Denmark’s Rasmus Henning, who came within minutes of turning in a record of his own.
The 8:19:13 will go down as the fastest iron-distance race ever turned in by a female. The previous time of 8:31:59 was posted by Wellington at this same event in 2009. Wellington’s world record performance was the combination of a 50:28 swim, a 4:36:33 bike, and a 2:48:54 marathon.
Wellington started the day on a strong note, heading into T1 seconds behind one of the sport’s fastest swimmers, Canadian Tereza Macel. While Macel is also known for her cycling skills, she was no match for Wellington. Wellington quickly passed Macel and worked on her lead. It became fairly obvious from the beginning that the women’s race would be a race for second. Behind Wellington, Belinda Granger of Australia, a former Team Tbb teammate of Wellington, passed Macel and settled into the second position. By the time Wellington completed the 112-mile bike ride and headed into T2, she had developed a lead of nearly 22 minutes. With that large of a lead, the focus turned not to whether or not Wellington would win the race, but whether or not she would break her own record. With Wellington already well onto the run course, the battle for second position heated up. Granger, Australia’s Rebekah Keat and Macel all finished the bike ride together. As the trio battled behind her on the run course, Wellington turned in a marathon time of 2:48:54 and she cruised to the finish line in 8:19:15, finishing seventh among the men.
After the victory Wellington thanked the Roth, Germany crowd: “Thank you all so much for your support on the course. This support gave me the energy to perform like this. I never thought I could break my own record.”
The race for second place went to Keat in 8:52:10. Macel finished third, with Granger settling for fourth.
The men’s day started with Australia’s Pete Jacobs, Henning, and Spain’s Eneko Llanos heading out of the swim at around the 47-minute mark. Henning gained the edge out of T1 and took to the bike course in first position. Both Jacobs and Llanos worked hard to keep pace with Henning. Eventually the trio was joined by cyclists Sebastian Kienle and Normann Stadler, both of Germany. Kienle excelled as Stadler dropped out of the race. At the end of the 112 miles, Kienle was in the lead and was trailed by Henning and Llanos. Kienle started the marathon with a four-minute lead and was able to extend that in the first 10 kilometers. As the day went on, it looked like Kienle may have gone out too fast. Henning turned in a 2:39:43 marathon to take the win in 7:52:36, just two minutes slower than the men’s iron-distance world record. Kienle held on for second, with Llanos finishing third.
Quelle Challenge Roth
Roth, Germany – July 18, 2010
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2 mile run
1. Rasmus Henning (DEN) 7:52:36
2. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 7:59:06
3. Eneko Llanos (ESP) 8:02:33
4. Pete Jacobs (AUS) 8:08:56
5. Michael Goehner (GER) 8:13:09
1. Chrissie Wellington (GBR) 8:19:13
2. Rebekah Keat (AUS) 8:52:10
3. Tereza Macel (CAN) 9:09:29
4. Belinda Granger (AUS) 9:15:25
5. Dagmar Matthes (GER) 9:32:05