It’s 2 from 2 for Ali Brownlee.
He’s only been in long-course racing for a matter of weeks but he’s already showing the sort of dominance we’ve seen for years in standard triathlon.
The Bahrain Endurance triathlete proved himself a serious contender for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship by winning the North American pro championship and securing an automatic qualification. The double Olympic champion put together a 23:18 swim, 2:01:39 bike, and 1:14:49 run for a new course record of 3:41:58, more than three minutes faster than Jan Frodeno’s record set in 2014.
“The swim was good, went out pretty quick with Ben Kanute and he can really swim. It was perfect for me,” said Brownlee.
“I got out on the bike, I just wanted to ride my own race and didn’t get caught, which is obviously what you’re waiting for. The run was okay, I got through the first six miles pretty easy and didn’t want to actually kill myself, but Lionel was coming up pretty quick at the end.”
While the race ended with a win, he says he still has more to learn to race the half distance better. “About my nutrition, I couldn’t get enough and I felt like I didn’t have enough fluid and salt at the end of the road so I had to back off a bit. The good thing about it for me, after the Olympics it’s really nice to have a slightly different challenge.”
Another Bahrain Endurance team member, Holly Lawrence took away a wire-to-wire win and at one point in the race held a seven-minute lead over the rest of the field thanks to her swim and bike efforts of 24:56 and 2:17:46 respectively. While the other athletes started to make up time on the run, it was not nearly enough to challenge the Ironman 70.3 world champion for the top spot.
While Lawrence made the win look easy, it was anything but that for her. She said, “That course just lands you on your ass, it’s so tough. You get out on the run and you’re like, ‘Oh crap, I forgot how hilly it was!’ I just kept it really steady until that last downhill.”