CLEARWATER BEACH — When Michael Raelert staggered across the finish line to win his second consecutive Ironman World Championship 70.3, the first person the German triathlete looked for was his brother Andreas.
Andreas, a world-class triathlete himself, was cheering on his younger brother from the postrace finish chute. The two found each other immediately and shared an emotional, celebratory embrace.
"I was like, 'Where is he?' He's the man of the day," Michael said. "He's the guy behind me. I definitely wanted to give him a hug and say, 'Hey, you're a good brother.' "
Andreas, 34, decided not to compete in Saturday's event in Clearwater, instead focusing more on full-distance Ironman events. In October, Andreas placed second overall at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
Saturday, he coached his brother to victory.
"I would say 50 percent of this victory is (Andreas')," Michael said. "Fifty percent is my effort, but the other 50 percent is all his credit. He helped me physically and mentally through this race. He's a good trainer. He's a good coach, a really good brother and naturally an incredible athlete."
POLE POSITION: IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan finished ahead of fellow Brazilian Vitor Meira by 143 points in the IndyCar series point standings this season, but on Saturday, Meira got a small measure of revenge.
Albeit in a different sport.
Both men competed in the triathlon, and Meira, 33, beat his IndyCar competitor by nearly 20 minutes.
Meira, who competed in his first triathlon in 2001, needed 4 hours, 47 minutes, 18 seconds to complete the course.
Kanaan, 36, clocked in with 5:06:43.
Meira placed 112th in the 30-34 age division; Kanaan was 182nd in the 35-39 division.
Quick steps: Saturday's race marked the final time the event will be in Clearwater. After five years in the bay area, it will move to Las Vegas. … Only 36 athletes failed to finish with 1,564 starting the race. … Zephyrhills' Robert Kniss, 38, had the fastest time among bay area competitors. Kniss finished in 4:27:27, 58th in his men's 35-39 division and 300th overall. St. Petersburg resident Jennifer Hutchison, 43, was the top local among female racers, finishing in 5:09:03. She was 39th in her 40-44 age division, 1,115th overall.