Australian Chris “Big Sexy” McDonald has won the 2011 Ford Ironman Louisville in a time of 8:27:36 from Americans Patrick Evoe and Justin Daerr. This was the fifth running of the event and the second time it has been won by McDonald. Last years winner Australian Paul Ambrose did not finish the event, pulling out after feeling ill, and saying that it was one of those days when everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
McDonald was the inaugral winner of Ironman Louisville in 2007. His recent run times over the 70.3 distance have shown that he is getting some really good speed back and today’s result is testiment to the work he has been putting in.
A delighted McDonald said “I don’t think words can describe this feeling, I had a point to prove to myself … and I’m back.” The swim had been led by Paul Ambrose and Romain Guillaume who established a four minute lead over McDonald, with Patrick Evo, Justin Daerr, Dave Harju and Ivan Albano a further few minutes down.
McDonald was able to catch Ambrose on the bike, with Guillaume dropping back a couple of minutes, however both Ambrose and Guillaume were to pull out on the run, leaving McDonald to bring home the bacon in front of his wife and parents with a 2:55:22 run split on a very humid day. Only Evoe ran faster with a 2:52:26 split.
In the woman’s race Nina Kraft from Germany led at every stage of the race to come home in 9:38:14, also her second win at this event, holding off a fast finishing Jackie Arendt, with Stephanie Jones rounding out the podium.