It was a spectacular day in Kahului-Kona for racing at the 2011 Ironman World Championship. After a grueling day out on the course, Craig Alexander and Chrissie Wellington repeat as champions after a one year absence. Alexander joins a small list of men by winning his third Ironman world title while setting a new Ironman course record with his winning time of 8:03:56. Just four weeks ago he was crowned the 2011 Ironman 70.3 World Champion in Las Vegas. Wellington wins her fourth world title, with a come from behind win two weeks after experiencing a pretty nasty crash while training.
The top 80 professional men and women were on-hand for a shot at the world title, which featured the top 50 male and top 30 female pros from the Kona Pro Rankings (KPR) for the 2011 Qualifying Year.
38 year old Alexander, who previously won in 2008 and 2009 finished this time took control of the race early into the run, after he passed American Chris Lieto. From there he steadily increased his lead while the other men chased him down. It seemed as he was in total control of his destiny until the last miles into the run where he experienced cramping and was seen briefly walking. He dug deep to overcome the pain to make sure he would stay out in-front and win another world title. He finishes his 140.6 mile day with the following splits: Swim 51:56, Bike 4:24:05, Run 2:44:02 for an overall time of 8:03:56. He breaks the 15 year course record of 8:04:08 previously held by Luc Van Lierde of Belgium.
"I went out of my game plan a little bit because Andreas put a hurting on me, so my grimace face was real. You saw last year with Macca, it's not just a physical race here, its tactical and the bar keeps getting raised." said Alexander
Pete Jacobs also from Australia was second in 8:09:11 while Germany's Andreas Raelert was third with a time of 8:11:07.
|*=New Course Record|
In the women's race Britain's Chrissie Wellington had to overcome a not only the pain from the injuries sustained from a recent training accident, but also the 16+ minute deficit she had while out on the bike course. The big deficit on the bike was due to the fact the Julie Diben was flying on the bike on her way to setting a new bike course record of 4:44:14. Wellington, who missed last year's race due to illness slowly made her way through the field women's field after exiting T2, eventually taking the lead from Caroline Steffen. Defending champion Mirinda Carfrae wasn't about to give up and started making the race interesting in the last stage of the run but ran out of real estate. She does set a new run course record of 2:52:09, breaking the record she set last year with her win. Wellington ran her way to the finish line and establishes the second fastest women's time ever with a time of 8:55:08.
"This race means more to me than anything. It's the sweetest victory - I just proved that anything is possible," said Wellington. "I had to dig so deep today. I tried to have faith in my body. To be crowned the Ford Ironman World Champion is the greatest honor."
Carfrae sprinted to the finish line for second place with a time of 8:57:57 while Leanda Cave proved to the world she's a contender with her third place finish, time of 9:03:29.
For their efforts and win, both Alexander and Wellington will received the $110,00 prize for first place.
Some 1,800 athletes took part in today's race including some well known celebrities.
- Mr. Spinerval, Coach Troy Jacobson finishes the day 131 overall with a time of 9:22:29
- Former professional triathlete and owner of Endurance Sports Travel Ken Glah finished his 27th consecutive Ironman World Championship race in just over 10 hours at the age of 48.
- IndyCar race car drivers Vitor Meira and Tony Kanaan conquer the Queen K and the 140.6 mile challenge. Meira finishes in a time of 12:24:02 while Kanaan does it in 12:52:40
- Triple amputee Rajesh Durbal completes another Ironman World Championship race, this time lowering his time by half-hour, faster than last year with a time of 13:49:34
- Tara Costa, a winner in NBC's Biggest Loser TV show completed the physically challenging 140.5 race in a time of 13:56:36.
- Scott Rigsby, the first ever double leg amputee to cross the finish line at the Ironman World Championship race does it again late into the night.
- Not sure if she's a celebrity or an inspiration but either way Harriet Anderson had done it again, conquered the 140.6 mile day in Kona. She crossed the line with four minutes to spare 16:56:01.
- On the men's side 81 year old Lew Hollander does it again, winning the 80+ Age Group, crossed the finish line 16:45:55 ahead of the two other 80 year old's France Cokan and Lyle Roberts.
Photo Credit: Ironman