2004 Half Ironman Mexico
The resort town of Huatulco in southern Mexico played host to one of the final races of the 2004 triathlon season in the northern hemisphere. Last years second place finisher, Chris Legh took another Half Ironman title by running down Michael Lovato half way through the run.
The race started with Kerry Classen and Bryan Rhodes leading out of the water and hammering away on the bike, their lead getting out to over 3 minutes by half way. Michael Lovato and Eugenio Chimal of Mexico were next on the course, followed for a long time by women's leader Jessi Stensland. By the end of the bike, Legh had caught and passed Classen, Rhodes and Chimal, while Lovato held a 1min30sec lead going into transition. Legh caught and passed Lovato in an area known as the 'oven' on the run, as oppressive temperatures soared to close to 115 degrees. Lovato remained in second, while Rhodes held on for third. Young Villanuevo of Mexico ran past Classen and Chimal to take fourth.
The win took Legh to seven from seven over the distance for the year. This, combined with a second and first place finish over the Ironman distance, confirmed a definite return to form for the Australian.
In the women's race, it was long course newcomer, Jessi Stensland, who stepped up to the plate and won at her first attempt over the distance. Stensland dominated the swim and bike and had plenty of time to spare by the time she hit the run with a 25minute lead over her chasers. This victory came just a week after her third place at Treasure Island, a perfect ending to the season.
Kimberly Hager and Llarena Saucedo of Mexico took out second and third place respectively. Ironman veteran Wendy Ingraham was 4th, after a season of full time work and sitting on the sidelines.