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Hoffman & Lyles Get First Wins at Ironman Wisconsin

Sunny and cool race conditions in Madison led to some record-breaking performances at the 11th Ironman Wisconsin triathlon.

Ben Hoffman

Hoffman's record-breaking day
Approximately 2,500 athletes entered Lake Monona and Colombia's Andres Castillo Latorre was the first to make it on shore in 49:01. Following him were Austria's Dominik Berger (50:55) and American Ben Hoffman (52:13).

Castillo Latorre continued to lead until the 42-mile mark, at which point Hoffman took control of the race. Hoffman applied the pressure on the rest of the field and, by the end of the 112-mile bike ride, he clocked 4:37:58 to break the old course record (4:42:29) set by Romain Guillaume in 2010. Hoffman's stellar ride gave him a 10:07 lead over fellow Americans Justin Daerr and Thomas Gerlach at T2. Castillo Latorre fell to fourth and was 13:01 behind.

On the 26.2 mile run, Hoffman had his eye on the course record and did not let up. Those behind chased hard, but never got closer than nine minutes to him. Despite some suffering in the closing miles, Hoffman had the second best marathon of 2:56:34 to claim his third IRONMAN title in 8:32:51, breaking Joe Gambles (AUS) old course record of 8:38:32 set in 2010.

"I ran 22 miles really well," said Hoffman who experienced hamstring cramps late in the race. "I wanted that course record and I gave it everything I had. This is not the end of the season, but I need to see how I recover from this race. This was the most enjoyable IRONMAN I've ever done."

Argentina's Eduardo Sturla tried to make something happen during the bike, but when that didn't pan out he decided to dial it back and be patient. It turned out to be a great strategic move. Sturla waited until the run to turn up the effort once again and he ran the top marathon of 2:55:28 to move from sixth off the bike to second overall in 8:46:29. Germany's Michael Goehner moved up a few spots during the run to finish third (8:54:53).

2012 Ironman Wisconsin Results:
Madison, Wisconsin - September 9, 2012

Pro Men Results Time
Pro Women Results Time
Ben Hoffman 08:32:51*
Elizabeth Lyles 09:34:35
Eduardo Sturla 08:46:29
Beth Walsh 09:38:42
Michael Goehner 08:54:53
Charisa Wernick 09:43:54
Justin Daerr 08:55:46
Kathleen Calkins 09:48:13
Blake Becker 08:56:35
Hillary Biscay 09:57:53
* = New Course Record  

Lyle earns her first career Ironman win
Elizabeth LylesHillary Biscay, the 2008 IRONMAN Wisconsin Champion, led all women out of the new one-loop swim in 54:39. But, just behind her were the duo of Australia's Kate Bevilaqua and American Kathleen Calkins (54:46).

On the bike, Calkins set the pace and led for practically the entire ride, padding her lead with every pedal stroke. She completed the bike with the top split of 5:21:37, taking an 11:35 lead into T2. Meanwhile, fellow American Elizabeth Lyles had a strong ride of her own (5:27:29) to come off the bike in second. Biscay arrived into T2 12:11 behind in third position.

Calkins looked good early but the effort on the bike might have taken its toll. Lyles, who took four years off from triathlon to have two kids (from 2008-2011), set her sights on Calkins and ran her down just past the 12 mile mark. Lyles looked good for the win but American Beth Walsh was running well, too. Walsh gave Lyles a scare by closing to within 3:36 at 21 miles, but Lyles stepped on the gas and surged away. Lyles, who turned pro in August, ended up running a 2:59:34 marathon to break the run course record of 3:00:26 (previously set by Germany's Kristin Moeller in 2010) and capture her first IRONMAN title in 9:34:35.

"This is so surreal. I knew I had a strong marathon, but I had not done an IRONMAN since 2006 so I didn't really know how well I would run," said Lyles, the full-time mother of two, who has a stand-alone marathon personal best of 2:50. "I am actually stronger now after the four year layoff because I make the most of the time I have available to train."

Walsh, who turned pro in April, ran a brilliant marathon too (2:59:54) to earn second place in 9:38:42 and the best result of her career as she sets her sights on qualifying for Kona next year. Her teammate Charisa Wernick (USA) took third in 9:43:54.

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Additional Coverage:
- 2012 Ironman Wisconsin Coverage and Athlete Tracker [via Ironman.com]

Photo Credits: Nick Morales

2012 Ironman Wisconsin Picture Gallery