Americans Timothy O'Donnell and Kelly Williamson kick-off the 2011 North American Ironman 70.3 season with victories today at the Ironman 70.3 San Juan event in Puerto Rico. The pair both fought off a tough field of professionals for a piece of the $25,000 prize purse and precious Pro Ranking points that go towards qualifying for the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 World Championship races later this year.
O'Donnell who was 3rd at last year's Ironman 70.3 World Championships starts off his season with a win, just like he did last year. Williamson continues her winning ways. Last year she ended the season with two Ironman 70.3 victories and just last month winning the Olympic distance Rev3 Costa Rica triathlon.
O'Donnell and David Kahn lead the men field out of the swim in a time of 23:55. Australia's Luke McKenzie was out in front with O'Donnell on the bike course. Towards the end of the bike McKenzie pulled away and was able to establish a lead on O'Donnell going into T2 with a 2:04:18 bike split. It didn't take long for O'Donnell to make up the difference on McKenzie and take the lead. Paul Amey who was several minute down exiting T2 had a fast run, but it wasn't enough to catch O'Donnell who posted a 1:16::17 run split.
2011 Ironman 70.3 San Juan Results:
San Juan, Puerto Rico
|Pro Men Results||Time||
|Pro Women Results||Time|
On the women's side, last minute race entry Rebeccah Wassner lead the women's field out of the swim, with Nina Kraft and Rebeccah's sister Laurel Wassner right behind, Williamson wasn't far behind. Out on the bike course American Margaret Shapiro and Canadian Magali Tisseyre dominated the bike course with Shapiro entering T2 first with a bike split of 2:19:34. Yvonne Van Vlerken had the fastest bike split of the day on the women's side (2:19:14) but entered T2 in 3rd place due to her slow 29:42 swim time. Willimanson was fifth coming into T2, some 4 minutes down to Shapiro but used her fast run to eventually take the lead and the win, finishing the day with a 1:20:25 run split.
Noteable DNF's for the day include Chris McCormack who finished the bike but not the run. He tweeted later "Calf muscle has flared up again. Had to drop less than 1 mile from home. Out of ITU WCS race in Sydney for sure. Need to get this sorted". On the women's side Yvonne Van Vlerken who was on the run course but was fading.
This is the North American season opening Ironman 70.3 race of the year which this year features over 25 races in the series concluding for the first time with the Ironman 70.3 World Championship race in Henderson, Nevada on September 11, 2011.
Additional Race Coverage:
- 2011 Ironman 70.3 San Juan Coverage and Athlete Tracker [via Ironman.com]