South Africa's Kyle Buckingham and American Amber Ferreira battled through a day of difficult weather conditions along with a challenging course to come out on top and win their first career IRONMAN titles at the 16th edition of IRONMAN Lake Placid.
Tomas Martinek (CZE) exited the waters of Mirror Lake first (48:24), and shadowing him the whole way was Balazs Csoke (HUN) who trailed by just 4 seconds. Meanwhile Buckingham sat back in fourth (52:04), just 3:41 down.
Once on the bike, the stormy weather hit but that didn't stop the 2013 IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 Age Group World Champion from getting after his first career pro title. Csoke led the first lap of the hilly bike, but Buckingham increased his effort over the second half of the course and rode a race best time of 4:43:47 to enter T2 first. Csoke came in 2:56 later, followed by Jonathan Shearon (USA).
Running the marathon, Buckingham seem to get stronger and steadily ran away from the rest of the men's field. He put together a 2:57:49 final 26.2-mile run and finished in 8:38:43 to claim his first ever-professional IRONMAN title. Csoke held on for second (8:51:26), and Shearon clinched third (8:59:22).
"I started triathlon five years ago and IRONMAN was my first ever race, and this is my first ever win now so I am over the moon," said an elated Buckingham, who is contemplating a Kona appearance in October. "It was tough, the course was hard. The wind, the rain made it a bit tough on the bike, and then on the run the hills killed me."
1. Kyle Buckingham ZAF 8:38:43
2. Balazs Csoke HUN 8:51:26
3. Jonathan Shearon USA 8:59:22
4. Ryan Cain CAN 9:05:19
5. Vinny Johnson USA 9:09:56
Ferreira, who finished third at IRONMAN Texas, quickly rode to the front to take control of the women's race. By the halfway mark she held a 4:36 lead over Darbi Roberts, and 6:04 over Thomas. At the completion of the 112 miles, she led the race by 5:30 over Kim Schwabenbauer, and 8:56 over Kristin Lemos.
With strong runners like Schwabenbauer, and Lisa Roberts in hot pursuit, Ferreira ran a career best IRONMAN marathon (3:08:35) to secure the women's title in 9:31:28. Schwabenbauer finished second (9:38:14), and Roberts took third (9:40:04) with a 3:07:31 run.
"I've never led an IRONMAN before so this was new territory," said Ferreira, who plans on tackling IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant next in the quest for Kona qualification. "I knew the girls behind me (Kim Schwabenbauer and Lisa Roberts) were definitely capable of running sub three marathons so I was just running scared the whole time. But I felt amazing."
1. Amber Ferreira USA 9:31:28
2. Kim Schwabenbauer USA 9:38:14
3. Lisa Roberts USA 9:40:04
4. Kristin Lemos USA 9:50:26
5. Jessica Jones Meyers USA 10:06:53
Adverse weather affects the Age Group race
Thunder and lightning in the area forced race officials to cancel the second loop of the swim for the Age Group athletes. The official age group results will include one loop of the swim, the bike, T2, and the run. T1 time will not be included. The 60 available IRONMAN World Championship age group qualifying slots will be allocated based on overall time and placing within each age group.
Photo credits: Liz Kreutz