Meredith Kessler (USA) was unstoppable today at Ironman 70.3 Vineman, leading from start to finish and recording both the fastest swim and run splits. Confirming she is possibly one of the toughest and most resilient athletes in the sport, Kessler’s victory today comes after being struck down and knocked unconscious at the Ironman 70.3 Eagleman triathlon just last month.
Kessler made the decision to race despite an extremely rough past month, having sustained contusions to her ribs and moderate brain trauma along with the usual ‘gravel rash’ associated with bike accidents. The decision was obviously not an easy one, with Kessler reporting “Thank you to pals, family, Purple Patch and sweet AK who respected my gut to race this weekend and believed in the power of positivity as much as I do.” Purple Patch is the training squad coached and mentored by Matt Dixon, based in San Fransisco. There was a strong Purple Patch contingent at Vineman on the weekend with tremendous results, including Kessler’s victory, fourth place pro female Emma-Kate Lidbury, fifth place Linsey Corbin and second place pro male Tim Reed. In addition Purple Patch athletes took first overall amateur female and second overall amateur male.
Heather Jackson continued what is turning out to be an amazing season, adding another second place to her existing three wins and two second place finishes. Jackson just returned from a two week season break which she spent in Bend, Oregon, mountain biking with her fiance. Jackson reported “I’m super excited to have earned second place in a really tough field after just coming from a two week mid-season break. Vineman is one of those iconic races I didn’t want to miss. It’s a challenging course and always brings a world class field so it was a perfect way to kick off my lead-in preparation for World Championships.”
For Texan Amy Marsh it was a case of deja vu finishing in third place as she did in 2012. Marsh was on the hunt for KPR points to
qualify her for Kona, and it looks like she may well have booked her ticket. Behind Marsh was another Purple Patch athlete in Emma-Kate Lidbury, who sounds to have had a tight battle with the third placed Texan. Lidbury reported “Never thought I could hurt that much in a vineyard – you put me in the hurtbox good and proper @amycmarsh – great racing with you!”
Vineman was the final Ironman 70.3 event in the July cut off date for professional qualifying in the World 70.3 Championships in Las Vegas on September 9. The top twenty eight females as of 14th July 2013 will automatically qualify, with the remaining seven slots to be announced on August 11th.