Yes, 2015 has already shown brilliant performances and results from HIG/PT athletes but this past weekend always feels like the start of the season. The weekend brought a mix of races, with great results.
Oceanside 70.3, typically pulls a strong field on both the men’s and women’s side and this year was no exception. Heather Wurtele returned as reining champ and proved she will be a force at the 70.3 distance again this year with a solid runner-up finish. Both she and Heather Jackson made successful attempts to chase down run leader Holly Lawrence (GBR), but Wurtele ran out of race course to pass the super fit Heather Jackson, who has also won on this course. Husband Trevor Wurtele is also showing great form this early in the season with a 7th place finish in 3:56:19.
Pro Women’s Podium
1. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:14:47
2. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:16:07
3. Holly Lawrence (GBR) 4:16:59
4. Alicia Kaye (GBR) 4:20:01
5. Angela Naeth (CAN) 4:21:33
IM Africa Championships proved to be an awesome event. Being a regional championship event there were big points on the line here for Kona. The men’s field showed several quality names including 2013 IM World Champ Freddie Van Lierde and the always fast Ivan Rana. Rana threw down the fastest IM time in 2014, but did not back it up in Kona so we were excited to see what he could do in South Africa. Although not the day he wished for, Rana still managed an impressive 2nd place behind Van Lierde. Rana was out of the water with the front group, fell back on the bike but ran the fastest marathon (2:48:44) of the day to finish in 8:30:45.
1. Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) 8:16:35
2. Ivan Rana (ESP) 8:30:45
3. Bart Aernouts (BEL) 8:35:59
Although a race like Xterra Costa Rica will never receive the attention similar to an IM event, Lesley Paterson’s race story should certainly be recognized. Both Lesley and her “student” Mauricio Mendez traveled to beautiful Costa Rica to battle it out in the heat. Mendez has already showed great form this season with a 2nd (Xterra Philippines) and 3rd (70.3 Monterrey) so his competitors knew he was one to watch. Paterson on the other hand has not raced healthy in over a year. Unfortunately this race was no different. The day prior to the race, Lesley fell off her bike and tore a ligament in her left shoulder. Most people would pull the plug on the race but we’re talking about a super human here. With very little range of motion in her left arm she managed a slower than normal swim, but still respectable considering the situation. Even though her arm could not hold full pressure on the bike she surged hard and picked all but one competitor off on the bike. It took Lesley until the mid-way point on the run to pass Emma Garrard, who admitted she “simply couldn’t match Lesley’s pace on the run”. Paterson, injured or not, proved she is back in action this year. She finished on top of the podium with a 2:44:43 time.
Pro Women’s Podium
1. Lesley Paterson (GBR) 2:44:43
2. Emma Garrard (USA) 2:46:22
3. Sara McLarty (USA) 3:10:32
The men’s race was very tight between Josiah Middaugh, Rom Ackerson and Maurio Mendez. Race favorite Middaugh only caught Mendez towards the end of the bike which made for an interesting run as each of them are strong runners. Neither Middaugh or Mendez could catch race leader and eventual winner Ackerson, but they kept it tight. Mendez finished 3rd only 12 seconds behind Middaugh, who only finished 53 seconds behind Ackerson. Mendez has started the year strong with 3 podium finishes.
1. Rom Akerson (CRC) 2:19:04
2. Josiah Middaugh (USA) 2:19:57
3. Mauricio Mendez (MEX) 2:20:09