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New Ironman 70.3 Champions Crowned in Clearwater

It was a record setting day at the 3rd running of the Ironman World Championship 70.3 race in Clearwater, Florida. Terenzo Bozzone and Joanna Zeiger are the newly crowned 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Champions. They blazed the hot and sunny course today and along the way set new course records at the same time. Bozzone and Zeiger stormed the Ironman 70.3 Series circuit this year and finished the year with multiple Ironman 70.3 titles.

After not making the 2008 New Zealand Olympic team Bozzone changed his focus, he set out to race back-to-back Ironman 70.3 races. He was successful out of the gate taking 1st, 2nd, and 1st in the three initial races, starting with a win in Boise. He also was victorious at the Kansas and Vineman races. After his initial successes he set his sight on the Ironman 70.3 World Championship title and today he did everything he had to do to get the win and lower the course record by two minutes. Andreas Raelert an ITU racer from Germay moved up fast through the field on the run to finish in 2nd place ahead of Richie Cunningham and Oscar Galindez. Raelert was closing in on Bozzone with his 1:10:53 run split, the fastest of the day, but just ran out of real estate in catching him.

Zeiger has been all over the racing circuit racing everything from Olympic Distance races to Ironman this year. Along the way she ended up winning three Ironman 70.3 Series races (Eagleman, Vineman, Muskoka) and the 5430 Long Course Triathlon. This was her first time in Clearwater and came in as the pre-race favorite. Today she was in front or near the front all day along with Mary Beth Ellis, Becky Lavelle and Julie Dibens but turned it up a notch on the run to pull away and take her first Ironman 70.3 World Championship Title. She lowers the course record set by Mirinda Carfrae last year by three minutes. Zeiger will only get to celebrate her World Championship victory for a day or two since she needs to now get ready for racing Ironman Arizona in two weeks. Nina Kraft who has had 2 DNF's (Hawaii and Florida) in her last 2 races raced well today and finally crossed a finish line, she was in 7th place out on the run but moved up to finish in 5th place.

2008 Ironman World Championship 70.3 Results:

     Men          Women  
1 - Terenzo Bozzone 3:40:10*    1 - Joanna Zeiger 4:02:48*
2 - Andreas Raelert 3:40:42    2 - Mary Beth Ellis 4:04:07
3 - Richie Cunningham 3:41:47    3 - Becky Lavelle 4:07:32
4 - Oscar Galindez 3:42:29    4 - Julie Dibens 4:09:10
5 - Reinaldo Colucci 3:43:24    5 - Nina Kraft 4:15:32
     * = New course record        

Defending Ironman 70.3 Champion Andy Potts finished the day in 6th place, not bad after having a very successful Ironman World Championship race in Kona four weeks ago. Last year’s victory gave Potts his ticket to race in Kona this year. On the women's side defending champion Mirinda Carfrae finished the day in 12th place.

Craig Alexander decided to take it easy and continue savoring his Ironman World Championship victory and did not race today.

Erika Csomor crossed the finish line with a handful of happy birthday balloons that she received at the end because it was her birthday today.

I mentioned Joe Bonness last week after he won the 50-54 Age Group title at Ironman Florida in a nice time of 9:13. Now a week later it seems like he just missed backing it up with the 50-54 Ironman 70.3 Age Group title here in Clearwater. He finished in 2nd place today with a time of 4:22:05, just under three minutes behind Joachim Doeding of Brazil.

Brian Doan and Heather Thomson from Tri-The-World Awareness Challenge are racing in their 16th and last Ironman 70.3 Series race of the year. They embarked on their awareness challenge 8 months ago, to race 16 Ironman 70.3 races in 11 countries, on 4 continents in 8 months. The pair from Ontario, Canada have flown over 140,000km to get to all of their races in the last 8 months. Just getting here involved each swimming 28.5km, biking 1350km and running 316.5km which is 1695km (1053 miles) of racing. Congratulations on your guys on your amazing feat!

Rick and Dick Hoyt who were inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame in Kona this year and Sister Madonna Buder who is 78 years young all finsihed the race today.

Additional race coverage of the Ironman World Championship 70.3 race:
- Terenzo Bozzone wins in Clearwater
- Joanna Zeiger claims the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3
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Alexander Defends, Carfrae Wins Ironman 70.3 Newfoundland Titles
Galindez and Bentley win Inaugural Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island