Aaron Farlow Celebrates a great win - (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Australia’s Aaron Farlow devastated the field in Copenhagen today with a dominating bike ride that put him in an unbeatable position going on to the run. Tim Berkel was the main challenger to keep in touch with Farlow early on with Jimmy Johnsen sticking with Berkel on the bike. It quickly became obvious that Farlow was in a different gear though as he was averaging over 41km/h almost 2kms more than his competitors. Farlow won in 8:20:09 to take out his 3rd iron distance title in the last year. He now has IM UK, Challenge Wanaka and Challenge Copenhagen to his name.
By the time Farlow ran out of T2 he had built a lead of 9:14 over Tim Berkel with Jimmy Johnsen a further 4:34 back. Lurking just off the radar at this stage was Mads Vittrup-Pedersen who was 13:32 behind Berkel.
On to the run and initially from a spectators point of view it didn’t look like Berkel was struggling. He always takes a while to get going. Last year on this course Berkel averaged 5:15, 4:33 and 4:06 over the first three stages before he got in to a rhythm and eventually ran a 2:46. This year he was running slightly faster at the start but couldn’t get below 4:13 pace and eventually slowed but kept going and to his credit he stayed and ran rather than pull out. Eventually Berkel came home in 3:41:21 for an overall time of 9:07:43.
The issue Tim faced in the race today was gastro, cramps and a general ‘removal’ of what he was consuming during the race.
Farlow was relentless and even though he slowed over the second half of the run (as suggested he may do by his coach on Twitter) he had built up enough of a lead to be able to dictate the final stages of the race. There would have been no point for Farlow to continue to push himself to the limits and damage his body more when he could slow the pace slightly and conserve himself for another day.
Bearing down on the leaders throughout the run was Mads Vittrup-Pedersen who ran almost 18 minutes faster than Farlow for a 2:46:02 marathon. Vittrup-Pedersen was systematically running through the field and picking off those ahead of him one by one.
Vittrup-Pedersen eventually clsoed the nine minute gap that Jimmy Johnsen had at the start of the run to get over the line 18 seconds ahead of Johnsen and take second place. This is the second iron distance podium for Johnson this year after he was 3rd at Ironman Cairns in June.
The women’s race was won by Camilla Pederson. Pederson lead from the start and built a six minute lead by the time she headed out of T2 ahead of Lisbeth Kristensen. Pederson recently came solid second to Caroline Steffen in Vitroia, Spain at the ITU World Long Course Champs. She showed at Vitoria that she is a formidable athlete. Pederson backed that up again today when she was over taken by Kristensen at the 32km mark. Kristensen then built a 38 second lead but Pederson wasn’t done yet.
Pederson dug deep between 34 and 37km on the run and pulled back the lead that Kristensen had created and was again in the lead by the 37.4km mark. She then continued on to eventually finish with an almost 3min gap to second placed Lisbeth Kristensen.
The effort by Kristensen to catch and overtake Pederson was just a bit too much and Kristensen paid for it when Pederson pushed over the last few kms. It was exciting to see this sort of comeback in a long race like this.