Another Win For Alexander
There are only four men who have ever managed to repeat as Ford Ironman World Championship. The fourth joined the exclusive group today – Craig Alexander managed to do what has been so difficult for others today with a convincing win today, beating a truly world-class field in the process as he ran his way to his second successive win here at the Ford Ironman World Championship.
Alexander was the first to acknowledge, though, that his impressive achievement was one of the hardest things he’s ever done. To win this race he had to overcome Chris Lieto’s 12-minute lead off the bike, which he did thanks to a 2:48 marathon.
The day began with two early breakaway swim leaders, American’s John Flanagan and Andy Potts. Those two were eventually joined on the bike by a huge group – at times the main group of men’s leaders included almost 20 men.
Lieto broke away from the rest of the field during the bike ride today, content to ride with the leaders through the early stages of the ride. When he did make his move, though, the American flew away from the field, using the descent from Hawi to open a gap that he extended along the typically challenging last 40 miles of the bike ride along the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway.
By the end of the ride, Lieto was well clear of the rest of the field, although it looked like 2007 Ford Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack, who had overcome an unusually disappointing swim to surge into third place overall off the bike might be the man set to pose the biggest challenge to the American as he came off the bike behind two Germans, Maik Twelsiek and 2005 Kona champion Faris Al-Sultan.
Early in the run it looked like McCormack would be the man to move to the front, but it was Alexander, who found himself a running partner in the form of Andreas Raelert, who would steadily move towards the front of the race. By the time they were in the Energy Lab, Lieto’s lead was down to four minutes. That’s when Alexander decided it was time to go – he easily pulled away from Raelert and started to chase Lieto. The lead dropped by almost a minute per mile until Alexander took the lead for good shortly after exiting the Energy Lab. Lieto gallantly tried to go with the Australian defending champ, but simply couldn’t match Alexander’s incredible pace as he ran towards his second straight title.
Lieto hung tough for second, an impressive race for the American. With Raelert following up his second place finish in Clearwater and win at Ford Ironman Arizona last November with a third place finish here today. McCormack managed a 2:55 marathon, despite having to stop and walk for parts of the marathon and claimed fourth ahead of Denmark’s Rasmus Henning, who’s incredible fifth place finish came despite a broken hand that was operated on just a few weeks ago.
In the end, though, there was no one who could stop Craig Alexander’s incredible drive to the finish line and impressive step into Ironman history. Today he added his name to those of the greats in our sport – Dave Scott, Mark Allen and Tim DeBoom – by winning the Ford Ironman World Championship two years in a row.
1 08:20:21 1 Alexander, Craig Cronulla NSW AUS 50:57 4:37:33 2:48:05 Oakley
2 08:22:56 24 Lieto, Chris Danville CA USA 51:07 4:25:11 3:02:35 Oakley
3 08:24:32 54 Raelert, Andreas Drage NS GER 51:00 4:38:01 2:51:05 Oakley
4 08:25:20 15 McCormack, Chris Burraneer NSW AUS 52:51 4:32:45 2:55:59
5 08:28:17 32 Henning, Rasmus Birkerod DNK 51:06 4:37:07 2:55:33 Oakley
6 08:28:52 28 Bracht, Timo Eberbach GER 54:30 4:33:49 2:56:27
7 08:29:55 79 Bockel, Dirk Munsbach LUX 50:50 4:37:29 2:57:42 Oakley
8 08:30:15 161 Jacobs, Pete Sydney NSW AUS 50:03 4:38:41 2:57:14
9 08:30:30 7 Potts, Andy Colorado Spr CO USA 47:45 4:46:07 2:52:15
10 08:31:44 11 Al-Sultan, Faris Al-Ain ABU UAE 50:53 4:33:40 3:03:11 Oakley
11 08:34:45 30 Bozzone, Terenzo Auckland NZL 50:55 4:37:25 3:02:47 Oakley
12 08:35:10 14 Twelsiek, Maik Lemgo NRW GER 52:54 4:28:34 3:09:27 Oakley
13 08:37:29 8 Hecht, Mathias Willisau LUZ SWI 50:54 4:37:32 3:04:47
14 08:37:55 2 Llanos, Eneko Vitoria-Gast ARA ESP 51:06 4:37:17 3:05:03
15 08:38:38 25 McKenzie, Luke Tweed Heads NSW AUS 50:51 4:37:29 3:06:19