CLAYTON AND RUSSELL WIN PRO TITLES AT SUBARU IRONMAN CANADA
Photo Credit: Ironman.com/Finisher Pix
In the men's race, Canadian Scott Curry and Americans Elliot Holtham and Chris Bagg duked it out in the swim to get out of the water first, with Holtham taking the honors with a 54:16 swim. Bagg was out one-second back, with Curry out of Lake Oakanagan nine-seconds back of the leader. A chase pack of seven containing Canadians Olly Piggin, Nathan Killam, Kyle Marcotte, Anthoney Toth, USA's Derek Garcia, Kiwi Shannon Stallard and German Christian Brader exited the water between 2:36 and 3:14 behind the leader.
Once on the bike, Holtham and Curry showed their dominance, pacing the field up Richter Pass and leading through the 68 km point of the ride. Bagg and Brader kept the lead pair in check, three to four minutes back, with Piggin, Garcia, Stallard Toth, Marcotte and Killam another four to six minutes back.
At the out-and-back section of the course, at 120 km, Curry had taken control of the bike and built up a tenuous 1:55 advantage over Holtham. Bagg and Brader slipped off the pace and found themselves over six minutes back. Piggin had closed the gap on Brader in fourth and American Mathew Russell made an appearance in the top ten at this juncture, but was 12:01 back of the leader.
Curry led by 2:47 into T2, with Holtham in second, while Bagg, Brader, Piggin and Garcia were 6:20 to 8:04 behind. Russell had failed to make any gains and entered the transition 12:00 down.
A lower leg injury that has hampered Curry's training and racing for over a year slowed the Canadian down on the run. By 8km, Bagg had ran his way to the lead, while Curry held on seconds behind. Holtham had slipped to third a minute back, with Brader and Piggin only three-minutes off the lead.
Over the opening half of the marathon, the big mover was Russell, who had run his way into second by 21 km. At the end of the day, it was Russell's race-best run of 2:53:35 that saw the Rochester, New York native win his first Ironman title in a time of 8:48:30, 5:47 faster than Piggin's second place finish time of 8:54:17. Brader finished off the podium with an 8:58:59 clocking.
Professional men's results
1 8:48:30 Matthew Russell USA
2 8:54:17 Olly Piggin CAN
3 8:58:59 Christian Brader DEU
4 9:02:07 Anthony Toth CAN
5 9:03:53 Shanon Stallard NZL
Fast women's age group time
In the age group race Kendra Lee from Denver recorded a 9:44:58. The 32-year-old's time was fastest women's time on the day on the strength of her 1:02:08 swim, 5:17:47 bike and her 3:20:47 marathon time.
The women's pro race
It was first-time Ironman racer, Karen Thibodeau, who led the women out of the water in 55:41, 1:30 faster than USA's Alexis Smith, 1:34 ahead of Canadian Stephanie Ossenbrink and 4:23 faster than the fleet footed MacKenzie Madison.
Once on the bike, it was Ossenbrink who moved to the front by the top of Richer Pass (68 km). Madison was doing a great job of staying in contention, cycling in second, only two minutes back.
Ossenbrink enjoyed a 14:52 lead over Madison into T2, in part thanks to a mechanical issue that put the American out of contention in the closing kms of the ride. Penticton's Jannelle Morrison worked her way into third, 16:41 off the lead, while Gillian Clayton of Vancouver was in fourth, 18:21 back of the lead.
By 21 km. Clayton ran her way into the lead with Ossenbrink only seconds back. Morrison was within 12-seconds of the leader, with Thibodeau making her way forward again, 1:55 back.
Over the closing half of the marathon, Clayton showed her strength by holding off the rest of the women to claim her first Ironman title in a time of 9:46:07, 4:46 faster than second-place Tibodeau. After a near-fatal accident a couple of years ago, Morrison inspired everyone with her gutsy performance that earned her the final podium placement.
Professional women's results
1 9:46:07 Gillian Clayton CAN
2 9:50:52 Karen Thibodea CAN
3 9:53:20 Janelle Morrison CAN
4 10:04:07 Paolina Allan CAN
5 10:06:34 Alexis Smith USA