Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ironman World Championship 70.3 winner shatters course record in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — German Michael Raelert, competing for the second time at the Ironman 70.3 distance, won the World Championship on Saturday, shattering the course record by more than six minutes with a time of 3 hours, 34 minutes, 4 seconds.

"I didn't expect to be so fast," the 29-year-old triathlete said after winning the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run. "When I got off (on) the run, I felt a little wobbly. But as the race went on, the better I felt."

Race organizers said more than 10,000 people turned out to watch the Ironman 70.3 series season-ending event, which drew more than 1,500 competitors from 57 countries.

Raelert, whose older brother Andreas finished second last year, said he had hoped just to finish in the top 10.

"These are the best triathletes in the world," said Raelert, who had a 5-minute, 16-second-mile pace on the run. "On the bike, I had to fight not to be left behind. On the run, I hoped I just didn't cramp up."

Friday night, race officials moved the swim from the Gulf of Mexico to the sheltered waters of Clearwater Harbor. Estonia's Marko Albert was the first man out of the water with a time of 21:59. But Albert didn't hold on to his lead very long; Colorado's Brian Fleischman emerged from the transition area into the bike leg first. But by Mile Marker 10, the lead had switched again when Illinois native Andrew Starykowicz took off in front.

"It was hard to make any headway on the bike," said 2008 U.S. Olympic team member Matty Reed, 34, whose third-place finish (3:37:50) also broke the course record. "We were in a big pack; it was hard to break away."

The lead switched several more times during the bike ride, with defending champion Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand briefly moving in front at the 40-mile mark.

But Bozzone, 24, couldn't hold it. He said he still hasn't recovered from last month's Ironman in Kona, Hawaii.

"Deep down I could still feel it in my legs," he said. "This sport is hard."

Starykowicz led into the second transition, but the 6-foot-4 Reed emerged first and hit the road running at a fast pace. But 2 miles into the third leg, Raelert made his move.

"I couldn't believe it when I ran past Matty Reed," Raelert said. "I kept saying to myself, 'Now what do I do?' "

Raelert went on to run a sizzling 69-minute half-marathon, finishing 2:40 ahead of Daniel Fontana of Milan. Fontana, 33, was a member of the Italian Olympic team in 2008 and Argentina's Olympic Team in 2004. "Michael was just too fast," Fontana said. "I made a push but couldn't keep up."

Julie Dibens, a 34-year-old native of Great Britain who lives in Colorado, also made history by becoming the first woman to break four hours in a 70.3 race.

Dibens finished with a time of 3:59:33, more than four minutes ahead of her nearest competitor.

"I knew I had a good lead," she said. "But I didn't want to give up until I crossed the finish line."

Amanda Stevens and Sarah Groff, both of Colorado Springs, were the first women out of the water, one second apart. But by the end of the bike, Dibens had a 2:52 lead, which she was able to build on during the run.

"At that point you are just racing against yourself, just doing the best you can, hoping not to blow up," said runnerup Mary Beth Ellis, 32, of Boulder, Col. She finished in 4:03:49.

Joanna Zeiger, last year's winner, was in great shape heading into the bike, but 40 miles into the race she crashed at an aid station. She was transported to a hospital, where she had X-rays.

Results weren't available.

Ironman World Championship 70.3 winner shatters course record in Clearwater 11/14/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 14, 2009 10:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has



    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  3. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater


    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.
  5. Bucs' O.J. Howard ends big day with BP, first pitch for Rays


    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard is known for his athleticism at 6-foot-6, 251-pounds. As an outfielder, he took his Autuaga Academy High School baseball team to the state tournament in Alabama as a junior.

    On Monday, after a little instruction from Steven Souza, Jr., the left-handed hitting Howard started making …