Van Lierde Wins Kona
Belgium's front-runner takes his first title
A six-year Australian winning streak ended Saturday when Belgium’s Fredrik Van Lierde won the GoPro IRONMAN World Championship in Kailu-Kona, Hawaii, while on Sunday, Mirinda Carfrae carried Australia through with her second world title.
After American Olympic swimmer Andy Potts had to pull out of the triathlon early because of a nerve injury, Australian defending champion Pete Jacobs became the expected front-runner, but in the bike split it was American Andrew Starykowicz who pulled ahead, completing the fastest split of the day at 4:21:50.
During the run, Van Lierde overtook six-time Australian champion Luke McKenzie and came in first at 8:12:29.
“I tried to be smart, and it worked,” says Van Lierde, who perfomed none of the fastest splits of the day but showed a consistency that put him in front.
Luke McKenzie came in second with 8:15:19, while Germany’s Sebastian Kienle came in third with 8:19:24.
On Sunday, Australian Mirinda Carfrae ran the women’s field at a record-setting 8:52:14. She also set the run course record with a time of 2:50:35, carrying on an eight-year winning streak by Australian men and women. Since her first race at Kona, Carfrae has finished no worse than third.
“I just had one of those days where you don’t hurt,” Carfrae said. “I didn’t know I had a performance like that in me.”
Great Britain’s Rachel Joyce and Liz Blatchford came in second and third, respectively, with 8:57:28 and 9:03:35.