Boulder Colorado, home to a large majority of triathlon’s superstars in the summer months, today saw many of these athletes go head to head in their own backyard. Those that fly in often struggle, for the altitude hits them unexpectedly hard, leaving them gasping for air and struggling to get enough oxygen to their hard working arms and legs. Despite this a very talented women’s field assembled, going head to head for ultimate bragging rights in the endurance centre of the USA.
Fireworks were always set to go off with 2012 Ironman 70.3 and Ironman World Champion Leanda Cave, and 2011 Ironman 70.3 World Champion Melissa Hauschildt headlining a talented field of athletes. Although it was Aussie Melissa Hauschildt who took control of the race, after chasing down the super fish of the sport in Amanada Stevens, Leanda Cave and Amy Marsh.
Amanda Stevens (USA) led out of the water in 24:49 with Cave hot on her heels, and with Marsh a further minute back. Stevens’ raced to her strengths and showed no intimidation of the current World Champion, putting in a strong bike to ride away from Cave. Despite this Stevens’ impressive ride was not strong enough to hold off eventual winner Hauschildt, who steamed past, recording the fastest female bike split of the day by over 5 minutes, to arrive first into transition two. Stevens’ 2:17:45 bike was second fastest behind Hauschildt’s 2:12:16, with Uli Bromme’s (USA) third fastest 2:18:49 making up for a slower swim, but not quite enough to land her on the podium. Bromme finished in fourth a couple of minutes ahead of South Africa’s Jeanni Seymour.
Hauschildt found herself alone on the swim, something the strong bike/runner would like to change in the future. It was straight to work on the bike, catching and passing Cave 18km into the bike, although Steven’s put up a bit of a fight being able to hold Hauschildt off until the 41km mark. Whilst battling some tough cross winds Hauschildt spend the time to pick up fluids for the remainder of the bike, and lost her lead to Stevens, although not for long. Regaining her lead once again Hauschildt rode away from her competition to never be seen again. Leading into Vegas Hauschildt’s preparation has been focused on remaining injury free, and she now plans on “putting a little more focus back on my run. We have been neglecting it a little, I’m still running but the main focus has been on biking and swimming; to make sure I am healthy and injury free for Vegas.”
Despite this lack of run focus it was complete domination by the former steeple chaser Hauschildt, running away with the victory and a lightening fast 1:22:38 half marathon. Hauschildt’s lead continued to grow throughout the run, showing no sign of struggle, leaving the final podium positions to be battled out by Steven’s and Cave. Current world champion Cave won this battle, passing Stevens in the late stages of the run to claim second position.
Despite Hauschildt’s impressive run of 1:22:38, it was 49 year old age grouper Colleen De Reuck of Boulder Colorado who posted the fastest half marathon of the day, in 1:21:48. De Reuck is a long distance runner from South Africa, who became an American citizen on 11 December 2000, and has competed at four Summer Olympics; 1992 Barcelona Games (9th in the women’s marathon), 1996 Atlanta Games (13th in the 10,000m track event), 2000 Sydney Games (31st women’s marathon) and 2004 Athens Games (39th women’s marathon). De Reuck won her age group in Boulder and finished 15th overall, very inspiring for a mother of two at 49 years of age.