Anja Beranek of Germany produced a dominating performance to claim her first Ironman title in Switzerland yesterday. The reigning Ironman 70.3 European champion exited the water in second place, almost 6 minutes behind Celine Scharer. Beranek went on to reel in Scharer, never looking back and riding to the fastest bike split of the day.
23 year old Celine Scharer of teamTBB finished second in her Ironman debut, a very impressive result for the young up and coming star from Switzerland. Fifteen years ago Scharer raced her first triathlon, the Ironkids race in Zurich, and yesterday she returned to compete in her first Ironman. Scharer was brought on to teamTBB in 2013 and publicly advertised her goal to complete an Ironman;
I am looking forward to racing my first season as a part of teamTBB. My goal is to finish my first Ironman.It would be fair to say this goal was well and truly achieved on her home soil yesterday.
Scharer has spent her triathlon career to date racing short course, until coach Brett Sutton recently suggested the tough young Swiss star was racing the wrong distance. With a host of role models to learn from within her team, including Caroline Steffan, Mary-Beth Ellis, and Olympic Champion Nicola Spirig, it’s no surprise that Scharer has thrived on the team. Yesterday she proved that she is no longer the “baby” of the squad, demonstrating that she will be a force to be dealt with over the Iron distance.
Hungary’s Erika Csomor, perhaps the pre-race favourite, lost time on both the swim and bike legs to start the marathon 17 minutes behind the leader. Despite this Csomor’s experience shone through with a strong run to bring her back up onto the podium by a clear six minutes over Belgium’s Sofie Goos.
Emma Pooley, World time trial Champion and Olympic silver medalist finished an incredible fifth place in her first Ironman. Pooley has shifted her focus to triathlon and many were watching her with interest in Zurich. A strong bike was expected, and only eventual winner Anja Beranek rode faster, three and a half minutes faster which is quite impressive. Although it Pooley’s run that had most intrigued to see what she could produce, and a 3:29:15 was certainly respectable on debut. Pooley is a great role model for women’s sport, and we welcome her to the sport of triathlon and look forward to watching her progress over the coming years.
Australian Rebecca Hoschke produced the fastest run of the day in a time of 3:15:25 – a solid effort after losing over 15 minutes to Celine Scharer in the swim, and struggling on the technical Swiss bike course. Hoschke finished in seventh place, and awoke to a lovely surprise on Monday morning; an invitation to the Ironman World Championships in Kona this October. What makes this achievement so special is the fact that Hoschke holds down a demanding career in town planning in her home town of Sydney Australia, has already qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Vegas, and won her first Ironman title and Australian Championship in Port Macquarie earlier this year. An inspiring example of someone balancing a full life whilst racing as a professional triathlete.
Switzerland, along with Ironman Lake Placid were the final races before the announcement of the July qualifiers for the professional field at the Ironman World Championship in Kona this October. We will publish a list of confirmed qualifiers once an accurate list can be sourced.