The 2021 triathlon season came to a close with an exciting day of racing at Clash Daytona. The event (formerly known as Challenge Daytona) took place entirely within the confines of the Daytona International Speedway for a dizzying multi-loop display of speed and strategy. The “Daytona Distance,” 100K involving two laps of a 1K swim course, 20 laps of a 4K bike course, and 4 laps of an 4.5K run, proved to be a physical and mental challenge for the pros competing for a share of the $100,000 prize purse. American Jackie Hering ran her way to first to make up a five-minute deficit and take the win in the women’s event with a time of 3:32:50, while Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt capped off a stellar 2021 season with yet another win in 3:08:31.
To read columnist Brad Culp’s full recap of the event, check out this Monday’s installment of Last Weekend Now.
Athletes wish each other luck before the start of the race.
The men’s professional field gets ready for the starting gun to fire.
American Ben Kanute was first out of the water with a time of 24:36. A large chase pack, including Marc Dubrick, Kristian Blummenfelt, Rudy Von Berg, and Brent McMahon followed.
The men’s pro field makes their way out of transition.
Though Magnus Ditlev quickly established a significant lead on the bike, Ironman world record holder and Olympic champ Blummenfelt played a game of patience, gradually chipping away at the gap between the two on the bike and run.
Spectators were able to watch the race—and cheer for their favorites—from inside the famed Daytona International Speedway.
Sara Pérez Sala gets aero on the first of 20 laps, each one measuring 2.5 miles.
Andrew Starykowicz stays focused on the bike course. The American, who had a bike crash in the week leading up to the race, said the residual pain made the Daytona race “one of the hardest days of my career.”
Athletes return to transition after completing the 80K bike leg.
Laura Siddall (L) and Jackie Hering (R) exited T2 together, but Hering quickly kicked into a new gear and made her way from sixth place to first.
Matt Hanson had a solid day of racing, averaging 5:27 minute miles on the run en route to a fourth-place finishing time of 3:12:47.
Blummenfelt’s win at Challenge Daytona capped off what many have called the greatest season in triathlon history.
Winner Kristian Blummenfelt congratulates third-place winner Rudy Von Berg at the finish.
In a move befitting the environment, Hering zoomed past Lucy Hall on the final turn of the final lap of the run to take the win.
Hall and Hering congratulate each other on a race well run.