Swiss pair win tough 15th edition of Ironman Switzerland in Zurich. Ronnie Schildknecht wins his 5th consecutive Ironman Switzerland title while Karin Thürig defends and wins her third Ironman Switzerland title. In doing so Thürig validates her one Ironman requirement for her trip to the starting line in Kona this October.
Schildknecht was the marked man and pre-race favorite, winning the last four Ironman races but he had to contend with Mathias Hecht and others. Clemente Alonso was first out of the water followed by Hecht, winner of Ironman St. George. Hecht then took over the lead out on the bike course and pulled away from the field. Hecht managed to get a up to 4:30 gap on the field but on the second loop on the bike Schildknecht slowly stating eating away at the gap. Hecht's lead into T2 was down to 2:30 on Schildknecht but it was Schildknecht who was on fire out of T2 running very fast. Schildknecht caught up to fellow Swiss rival Hecth and eventually passed him out on the run course, finishing the day with a 2:48:06 marathon time. He finishes the day with his 5th Ironman Switzerland title in a time of 8:19:51. Alonso who ran a 2:41:57 marathon passed Hecht on the run course and finishes in second place, while Hecht hangs on for third.
Ronnie Schilknechts said: "This is my most impressive victory in Zurich. On the first 60 Kms on the bike I did not feel good. Mentally I was really down because I was not able to ride as hard as I normally can. During the second Lap on the Bike I recognized that I'm getting closer to Mathias. When I came to the second transition I knew that I will win."
2011 Ironman Switzerland Results:
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Thürig, the defending Ironman Switzerland champ was back to face off with Amy Marsh and Erika Csomor for the title and possibly one more victory on her home turf. It would be tough for Csomor who last week had raced Ironman Austria and finished in second place. Thürig who is 39 will retire from racing at the end of this season. Marsh was first out of the water in 55:46, five minutes ahead of Csomor and seven minutes ahead of Thürig. Out on the bike course Thürig made up the deficit and managed to turn the tables around with her 4:51:19 bike split. Out of T2 Marsh was only 3:50 down on Thürig at the start of the marathon. The burn for one last Ironman Switzerland title must have propelled Thürig to a 3:06:41 marathon and a win over Marsh who finished the day in second in 9:11:36. Csomor from Hungary has a solid run, faster than Marsh but the deficit from the bike was too much, she finishes the day in third place with a 9:36:59.
- 2011 Ironman Switzerland Race Coverage and Athlete Tracker [via Ironman.com]
Photo credits: Ironman
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