Five-time World Champion, Australian Craig Alexander, has taken out the 2013 Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens title over three-time champion, and compatriot, Luke Bell, and Canadian Elliot Holtham who took third. The seemingly unstoppable Meredith Kessler from the United States took the women’s title in a dominating display, over Canadian Melanie McQuaid and Australian Kate Bevilaqua, who took her second podium finish in recent weeks.
Kessler won today’s race in an emphatic display of power and skill. Kessler exited the water in 25:18, ahead of Tenille Hoogland (+0:27) and a chase pack consisting Madison Mackenzie, Melanie McQuaid, Jeanni Seymour, Caroline Gregory, and Kate Bevilaqua who were about 2:15 back.
Onto the bike, three-time Xterra World Champion Melanie McQuaid was the only one riding in the same postcode as Kessler, and took a 7-second lead into T2 after a race-fastest 2:26:42 bike ride. After duking it out on the bike, these two held comfortable 10+ minute leads on the rest of the field after the bike leg.
Kessler took control on the run and built a 32-second buffer after only 5km. With her race-best 1:21:24 run, Kessler crossed the line in 4:18:05, some 5 minutes ahead of McQuaid who faded somewhat in the last 16km of the run. West Australian Kate Bevilaqua rounded out the podium with a solid 1:25:49 half marathon.
Allen Gardner was first out of the water in 22:29, with Australians Paul Matthews and Luke Bell 25 and 29-seconds back, respectively. A further minute back was the main pack containing the likes of Guy Crawford, Matt Lieto, Elliot Holtham and Craig Alexander.
Onto the bike, Bell took the lead and by mile 16 had established a 43-second advantage over Alexander, who lead Holtham, Matthews and Lieto. Alexander kept the pace high and, with Holtham, rode up to Bell. The three then rode away from the rest of the field and entered T2 together, Alexander still in the lead. Lieto, Matthews and Crawford all fell off the pace entering transition 4:24, 5:57 and 6:21 down, respectively.
Onto the run course, Alexander , Bell and Holtham took off together and were running within a second of each other after 8km. By the half-way mark, the torrid pace was too much for Holtham who fell back 11-seconds in arrears of the Australian pair.
Bell and Alexander continued the battle into the run, and by 16km Alexander had built a 35-second lead over the Ironman Australia champion, which he held to the finish line. Holtham held on to finish third, almost four minutes back.
With an equal-best bike split and a race-fastest 1:12:49 half-marathon, Alexander reminded us why he is one of the most feared competitors in long-course triathlon.
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– Steve Crossman (@crosso_s)