Ben Hoffman and Kaisa Lehtonen take top spots

2016-04-13 06:00
: The swim began at 06:50, and the sea was slightly choppy. Photo: deon ferreira

: The swim began at 06:50, and the sea was slightly choppy. Photo: deon ferreira

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THIS year’s Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship race blew wide open as expected podium finishers were pushed back and the finishing spots were taken by non-anticipated finishes.

Hailing from the United States, Ben Hoffman, in a total time of 8 hours, 12 minutes and 37 seconds, claimed the champion spot. Kaisa Lehtonen from Finland won the top spot for the women in a time of 9 hours, 6 minutes and 50 seconds.

Temperatures on race day were expected to be high, but athletes found the heat quite discomforting.

Thousands of supporters and spectators came out to show their support and the atmosphere was electric.

The swim began at 06:50, and although the sea was slightly choppy, most managed a comfortable swim.

Leading out of the water was Estonian Marko Albert followed by Eric Watson from Bahrain and Dutchman Bas Diederen.

Top three females in the swim exit were Jodie Swallow (UK), Annabel Luxford (Australia) and Dede Griesbauer (USA).

The cycle was dominated by Marko Albert, Eric Watson, Bas Diederen, Mark Oude Bennik (NL) and Christian Kramer (Germany). The women’s cycle was dominated by Jodie Swallow, Annabel Luxford and Kaisa Lehtonen (Finland).

In an unfortunate incident at about half way into the cycle, Jodie Swallow suffered a detrimental fall. After a few minutes, she restarted her cycle, and regained her confidence to get her to a second spot behind Annabel Luxford.

Towards the end of the cycle, Bas Diederen was leading. Following him were Marko Albert, Boris Stein, Tim van Berkel, Ben Hoffman and Kyle Buckingham.

The run started with Diederen and Albert with a lead of thirty two seconds.

Finishing the bike portion of the race and starting the run was Luxford, Swallow, Gossage and Lehtonen.

Just before reaching 2.6km on the run, Swallow decided to withdraw. Following the withdrawal, Luxford retained her lead, and was then followed by Lehtonen and Gossage. Luxford lost some ground as the run got underway and her two chasers caught up quickly.

Towards the end of the run, Hoffman lead right up until the end. Even though Matt Trautman kept his third/fourth during the run, he lost ground four km’s from the end to Albert.

Towards the end of the female run leg, Lehtonen dominated the lead. After the 23km mark, Lehtonen took over the lead from Luxford. The chase pack comprised of Susie Cheetham (UK) and Lucy Gossage (UK).

Lehtonen had a massive lead and took the first place in the women. Following her was Susie Cheetham, with only two minutes behind, and in third place was Lucy Gossage, also with only two minutes in between.

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