Chris McCormack crossed the finish line to win the Ironman Triathlon World Championship at Kailua-Kona yesterday. McCormack rallied from 11 minutes back to beat Torbjorn Sindballe to the tape.
Australian rallies to win Ironman
KAILUA-KONA » Australia's Chris McCormack rallied with a strong marathon run to win the 140.6-mile Ironman Triathlon World Championship yesterday.
McCormack, known as Macca, was 11 minutes behind leader Torbjorn Sindballe of Denmark at the end of the 112-mile bicycle ride. But the Australian's fast run moved him to the front at the 15-mile mark of the 26.2-mile run.
His total time was 8 hours, 15 minutes, 34 seconds.
The 34-year-old from Sydney crossed the finish line waving an Australian flag and dedicated his victory to his mother, stricken with breast cancer.
McCormack is a five-time winner of the Ironman race in Australia, but he had never won in Hawaii. He finished second last year.
Craig Alexander, also of Australia, finished second in 8:19:04, followed by Sindballe in 8:21:30, two-time winner Tim DeBoom of Boulder, Colo., in 8:22:23, and Marino Vanhoenacker of Belgium in 8:23:31.
Chrissie Wellington of Britain won the women's race in 9:10:00. She took the lead late in the bicycle ride and was in front throughout the run. Her victory came less than two months after she won the Ironman race in South Korea.
A strong marathon run allowed Chris McCormack to overcome an 11-minute deficit and win the Ironman Triathlon in 8 hours, 15 minutes, 34 seconds.
Chris Lieto, of Danville, Calif., led through much of the bicycle ride and had opened a 4-minute lead over Sindballe at the 60-mile mark turnaround.
But Sindballe narrowed the lead to 1:50 by the 85-mile mark and passed Lieto just after 90 miles. Lieto, who passed Sindballe and retook the lead early in the run, finished sixth.
McCormack had closed the gap with the leader to 4:36 by the 7-mile mark of the run and to 3 minutes at 10 miles.
The bike ride took the athletes from the Kailua-Kona pier through barren lava fields and rolling ranch lands to the turnaround at the village of Hawi at the northern tip of Hawaii Island. The bike ride, which ended back at the pier, followed a 2.4-mile ocean swim in the calm waters of Kailua Bay.
Francisco Pontano of Spain was the first out of the water in 51:23, but Linda Gallo of Mountain View, Calif., and Luke McKenzie of Australia were 2 seconds behind. Pontano's time was more than 4 minutes behind the record pace of 46:44.
More than 140 professional triathletes started the race 15 minutes before another 1,700 age-group competitors from 49 states and 45 countries ranging in age from 19 to 78.
The field included most of the sport's top professionals, who vied for $560,000 in prize money, with the first man and woman each earning $110,000.
Defending champions Normann Stadler of Germany and Michellie Jones of Australia competed, but both dropped during the bike ride.
Also competing was Luc Van Lierde of Belgium, who set the course record of 8:04:08 in 1996. Paula Newby-Fraser of Encinitas, Calif., now a race commentator, set the women's record of 8:55:28 in 1992.
Chrissie Wellington of England took the overall women's lead halfway through the bicycle race and took home the title with a time of 9 hours, 10 minutes.
COURTESY IRONMAN TRIATHLON
More than 140 professional triathletes and 1,700 age-group competitors from 49 states and 45 countries went into the water early yesterday for the Ironman Triathlon
Lisa Bentley started the 112-mile cycling portion of the Ironman Triathlon World Championship.
Michael Giehner of Germany gulped from a large stein of beer that was handed to him just after finishing yesterday's race.
Two-time Hawaii Ironman Triathlon winner Tim DeBoom of Boulder, Colo., finished fourth with a time of 8 hours, 22 minutes, 23 seconds.
Frank Farrar, 78, one of the Ironman's oldest competitors, is assisted from the water.
Surfboards, which held back swimmers for the start, were turned forward as racers began to churn the water at the starting gun of the 2.4-mile ocean swim.