Mike Phillips and Els Visser win Ironman New Zealand
New Zealand’s Mike Phillips and Dutch Els Visser have won Ironman New Zealand. Both athletes rode to the first position already on the bike and did not relinquish their lead during the marathon.
Already after the swim Phillips was in an excellent position: after 48:08 minutes only Braden Currie was five seconds ahead of him, but after that it took more than two minutes of waiting for a large group of chasers to come out of the water.
While Sebastian Kienle started to catch up on the bike and at first quickly got closer – later he lost more time – Phillips and Currie stayed together for almost the entire bike course. Only in the closing stages did Phillips ride away and take the lead solo: back in T2 he had a lead of almost three minutes over Currie and 7:31 minutes over number three, Matt Burton. Kienle followed in fourth at more than fourteen minutes, which was a big disappointment for the German former world champion.
During the run, the first two positions did not change anymore; Phillips and Currie managed to hold on. Behind them there was an interesting battle for the bronze medal: first Burton ran third, then Kienle and finally Jan van Berkel. Van Berkel eventually managed to claim third place. Phillips won the race in 7:56:05. Currie was second in 7:59:17 and Van Berkel third in 8:10:22.
Women’s race – Dutch power
In the women’s race, the race unfolded slightly different: Visser came out of the water in sixth place with a big gap – fastest swimmer was Rebecca Clarke with 50:35 minutes and Visser followed at more than six minutes – and then started pushing on the bike. Soon she rode to third place, where Visser was joined by Meredith Kessler. After seventy kilometers, however, Kessler was unable to keep up and had to let the Dutchwoman go.
Visser then needed some time before she could join Clarke and Hannah Berry, who were leading the race at that point. Only in the last thirty kilometers did Visser pass them, eventually going into T2 with a lead of one minute.
Throughout the marathon, Visser, Berry and Clarke remained consistently running in the same position. Visser kept expanding her lead and did not have to worry about victory. She claimed that after 9:05:44. Berry was second in 9:08:33 and Clarke third in 9:10:11.
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