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Kriat Wins 1st, Morrison 3rd Ironman 70.3 St. Croix Titles

im703stcroixpromoimg.jpgThe other Ironman 70.3 Series race to take place this weekend was on the tiny island of St. Croix in the Caribbean. The island features one of the toughest courses out there with its famous climb "The Beast", a 600-foot climb in a stretch of highway 7/10 of a mile with an average grade of 14 percent. Catriona Morrison from Great Britain knows this course well; her experience is what helped her propel to her third Ironman 70.3 St. Croix title today. On the men's side, Maksym Kriat from the Ukraine finished in 5th place last year but this he is crowned the 2011 Ironman 70.3 St. Croix champ.

Morrison had to contend with the reigning Ironman World Champion Mirinda Carfrae and Angela Naeth who always is a close second on most of the Ironman 70.3 races she does. Amy Marsh was first out of the Christiansted Harbor today, just under a full minute ahead of the rest of the women including Carfrae and Morrison. Morrison conquered "The Beast" and moved into a commanding lead on the bike, she would hold that lead heading into T2. It was up to Neath and Carfrae to play catch up, but Morrison's lead on the bike and strong run made it difficult for the pair to stop her from claiming her third consecutive Ironman 70.3 St. Croix title. Naeth ran a 1:26:16 to take second place with a 4:32:07 finish while Carfrae took third with a surprise 1:27:48 run split.

2011 Ironman 70.3 St. Croix Results:
Christiansted, St. Croix

Pro Men Results Time
Pro Women Results Time
Maksym Kriat 4:11:43
Catriona Morrison 4:29:28
Luke Bell 4:11:59
Angela Naeth 4:32:07
Richie Cunningham 4:15:50
Mirinda Carfrae 4:36:01
Patrick Evoe 4:15:51
Leslie Patterson 4:39:09
Alessandro Degasperi 4:16:24
Kate Major 4:41:33

The men's race was up for grabs as defending champ Terenzo Bozzone and previous winners Tim O'Donnell and Craig Alexander where off doing other races. That made the day interesting in the men's race which goes down to the wire, with 16 second gap between Kriat and Luke Bell. Australian Luke Bell let the men out of the water closely followed by Romain Guillaume, Richie Cunningham and Maksym Kriat. Bell continued his lead on the bike all the way into T2. He rode a 2:23:02 which only gave him a small 1:30 lead on Kriat heading out for the run. Kriat slowly ate away at Bell's lead with his 1:20:56 run split on the day, which led to the pair running side by side for a good portion of the run to the finish line. Bell's 1:22:45 was good for second place while Richie Cunningham earned a third place podium spot with 1:24:44 run.

Additional Race Coverage:
- 2011 Ironman 70.3 St. Croix Athlete Tracker [via Ironman.com]
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