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Vernay Three Peats, Wellington Goes Sub 9 at Ironman Australia

The first Ironman race and second of four WTC events this weekend took place today in Port Macquarie, Australia. Again, Patrick Vernay and Chrissie Wellington win down under and defend their titles at Ironman Australia.

It was a tough day for Patrick Vernay of New Caledonian who gave it all he had in the very late stages of the run to pass Pete Jacobs for the lead and his 3rd consecutive Ironman Australia title. Jacobs finished in 2nd place while Port Macquarie's Tim Berkel who just this past November won the Ironman Western Australia title finished in 3rd place.

Even with a lackluster women's field today in Port Macquarie, Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington of Great Britain gives it her all and goes sub 9 hours with a time of 8:57:10 to defend her Ironman Australia title and finished 11th overall. AMAZING! Wellington's fast time was still 2 minutes shy of the course record of 8:55:08 set by Lori Bowden in 2000. This is the second time that Wellington has gone sub 9 hours in an iron distance event. Wellington's main competition of the day was with former Team TBB teammate and 2008 Ironman World Champion savior Rebekah Keat. Michellie Jones withdrew from the race before the start due to illness. Keat did all she could to hang with Wellington, but Wellington's bike and run speed was just too much.
2009 Ironman Australia Results:

     Men          Women  
1 - Patrick Vernay 8:24:53    1 - Chrissie Wellington 8:57:10
2 - Pete Jacobs 8:29:03    2 - Rebekah Keat 9:21:33
3 - Tim Berkel 8:31:43    3 - Caroline Steffen 9:38:44
4 - Jimmy Johnsen 8:33:43    4 - Abigail Bayey 10:01:27
5 - Maik Twelsiek 8:34:10    5 - Sarah Pollett 10:04:23

According to the live coverage from Ironman.com, Australia's Trent Chapman is today's first age grouper (30-34) home, finishing in a time of 8:47:33. He breaks the age group's course record of 8:49:16, which has stood since 1993. His time today makes him the eighth fastest finisher of the day.

Additional Race Coverage:
2009 Ironman Australia Race Coverage and Athlete Tracker [via Ironman.com]
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