Oakley's Michael Weiss Victorious In St. George
Oakley’s Michael Weiss emerged from a field of nearly 2,000 and became the first Austrian man to win an Ironman title at the inaugural Ironman at St. George, Utah on Saturday. Oakley’s Caitlin Snow finished third in the women’s event.
Weiss, who competed as a mountain biker at the 2004 Olympic Games, turned to triathlon in 2008 when he failed to make Austria’s Olympic team. His rise to the top level of the sport has been a rapid one – last year he finished second overall at Ironman 70.3 Monaco , 25th overall at the Ford Ironman World Championship and now, just two years after he entered the sport, has an Ironman title.
After trailing swim leader Luke Bell by almost five minutes, Weiss quickly moved through the field during the challenging bike here in St. George. By the start of the second lap of this incredibly scenic course, Weiss started to pull away from the rest of the men’s field. He would come off the bike with a lead of almost seven minutes (after a 4:43 bike split) and followed that up with the fastest run split of the day, a 2:58 marathon, that put him 12 minutes ahead of Durango, Colorado’s Ben Hoffman.
In the women’s event, Oakley’s Caitlin Snow had a third-place finish with a time of 10:07.26. Snow mentioned that the course was a lot more challenging than she expected.
“That was 15-20 minutes slower than my average time at Ironman,” the 28-year old said. “I couldn’t believe how tough the course was. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Just look around. It’s an extremely beautiful area, but you can see why it was difficult.”
Unlike many of the athletes, Snow didn’t arrive in St. George until Wednesday. And though she trained back home, this particular course was certainly surprising, particularly the 2.4 mile swim at Sand Hollow Reservoir where she said the water was “freezing” which impacted her race early on.
1. Michael Weiss (AUT) 8:40:08
2. Ben Hoffman (USA) 8:52:54
3. Chris McDonald (AUS) 8:54:42
4. Kirill Kotsegarov (EST) 8:58:18
5. Clemens Coenen (GER) 9:02:13
1. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 9:35:25
2. Meredith Kessler (USA) 9:46:58
3. Caitlin Snow (USA) 10:07:26
4. Gina Crawford (NZL) 10:11:50
5. Kathleen Pallardy (USA) 10:20:45