TEMPE, Ariz. (November, 15, 2015) – Lionel Sanders (CAN) and Meredith Kessler (USA) showed toughness and determination as they battled a competitive professional field and a rainy race day to claim victories at the 2015 IRONMAN® Arizona triathlon presented by Waste Management. Sanders pulled off a brilliant run with a finish time of 7:58:22 while Kessler was dominant from the start line to the finish tape with an impressive time of 8:44:00.
The day began with Marko Albert (EST) running up the steps of Tempe Town Lake first with Brent McMahon (CAN) right on his heels, just seconds back. The chase pack of six professional men, over two minutes back from the leader, contained Drew Scott (USA), Andrew Starykowicz (USA), TJ Tollakson (USA), Kevin Collington (USA) and Maik Twelsiek (DEU).
Once out on the bike, Starykowicz, true to form, hammered his way to the front of the race. The American overcame a two-minute deficit and stormed to the lead within the first eight miles of the bike course. By the end of the 112-mile course, Starykowicz had laid down a 4:03:35 bike split that was over 10 minutes faster than anyone else in the field. The race best bike split netted Starykowicz leads of +12:43 on Tollakson, +14:43 on Sanders and +14:48 on Twelsiek.
It was apparent from the start of the run that Starykowicz was beginning to falter, opening up opportunities for the rest of the field. In contrast, Sanders was flying and making his way to the front at a blazing rate. Around mile 17, Sanders took the lead from a struggling Starykowicz. Behind the new leader, McMahon was also moving fast, and putting down the fastest run of the day. Sanders’ blistering pace on the run netted the Canadian the win with a finish time of 7:58:22. McMahon would grab second in 8:00:57, while Tollakson, who was close to the front of the race all day, would finished third in an impressive 8:04:17.
Top five professional men’s results:
SWIM BIKE RUN FINISH
- Lionel Sanders CAN 00:54:04 04:13:38 02:47:07 07:58:22
- Brent McMahon CAN 00:47:08 04:23:32 02:46:25 08:00:57
- TJ Tollakson USA 00:49:14 04:16:23 02:54:45 08:04:17
- Andrew Starykowicz USA 00:49:12 04:03:35 03:09:04 08:05:56
- Jordan Rapp USA 00:52:34 04:15:49 02:55:28 08:08:05
The women’s race began with Meredith Kessler (USA) exiting the lake first with Sarah Haskins (USA) in her shadow five seconds back. The pair reached their bikes and had Julia Gajer (DEU), Amanda Stevens (USA) and Christina Jackson (USA) just over two minutes back.
Kessler was all business on the bike as she pulled away from Haskins right away and started building her lead early on. Throughout the bike course, Kessler established well over a ten-minute lead on Stevens, her closest rival. Gajer, Melanie McQuaid (CAN) and Michelle Vesterby (DNK) followed Kessler and Stevens into transition, but were looking at deficits ranging from 12:22 to 17:03 to overcome.
Kessler was never under any real threat throughout the run, but had Stevens running just a bit faster than her throughout the course. It wasn’t until late in the race that Stevens managed to get within ten minutes of Kessler, but by then it was too late. Kessler went on to successfully defend her title with a win in 8:44:00. Stevens claimed second with a time of 8:52:31 and Gajer finished off the podium in9:03:15.
Top five professional women’s results:
SWIM BIKE RUN FINISH
- Meredith Kessler USA 00:48:25 04:42:13 03:08:58 08:44:00
- Amanda Stevens USA 00:51:07 04:50:10 03:06:39 08:52:31
- Julia Gajer DEU 00:51:05 04:52:06 03:15:06 09:03:15
- Darbi Roberts USA 00:51:41 04:56:59 03:12:00 09:05:10
- Michelle Vesterby DNK 00:52:52 04:54:34 03:19:45 09:11:31
One of more than 40 events in the global IRONMAN Series, the 2015 IRONMAN Arizona triathlon presented by Waste Management led athletes along a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run throughout Tempe and its surrounding areas. Athletes began their day with a single-loop swim in Tempe Town Lake. Once out of the water, participants embarked upon a flat, triple-loop bike course through the Sonoran Desert. The double-loop run course wound around Tempe Town Lake and through Papago Park before an electric finish back at Tempe Beach Park. The event offered a total professional prize purse of $100,000 and 50 coveted age-group qualifying slots to the 2016 IRONMAN World Championship, taking place on October 8 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.
Full results for the IRONMAN Arizona triathlon presented by Waste Management can be found at http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/arizona/results.aspx
The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Recognized for excellence through distinguished events, world-class athletes and quality products, IRONMAN has grown from a single race to a global sensation with more than 250 events and five unique brands: IRONMAN®, IRONMAN® 70.3®, 5150™ Triathlon Series, Iron Girl® and IRONKIDS®. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
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