ST. GEORGE – Southern Utah played host to athletes from 22 different countries at this year’s Ironman 70.3, and competitors said it was the perfect day for a triathlon.
Canadian Olympian Brent McMahon won the competition with an overall time of 3:51:10. Californian Meredith Kessler won for the women with an overall time of 4:17:11.
“I’m thankful that it worked out today, but every race is different,” Kessler said. “Now it’s a good stepping stone for things to come this year.”
Organizers said the presence of the professional athletes on the course made this year’s event more competitive and faster paced. But for most of these athletes, the biggest competition is with themselves.
“It’s the difficulty of having a goal, having times you want to get, working towards it,” said Spencer Woolston, who is a competitor from Highland. “It’s like why people climb Mount Everest, you know, it’s a big daunting thing that just keeps you going.”
This year’s St. George Ironman 70.3 is considered a half-race, and organizers said that attracted more athletes. For many, it was their first time running through the red rocks, and it doesn’t appear to be their last.
“It was beautiful,” California athlete Chris Berg said, “Gorgeous day, challenging course, fun competition, great host venue. Loved it.”
Many athletes described the course as challenging, with lots of hills and curves. But they said a challenge is what they were looking for.
The event offered a total prize purse of $75,000 and 75 coveted slots to the 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, which takes place this fall in Nevada.
The top five professional men’s competitors were:
1. Brent McMahon CAN 3:51:10
2. Kevin Collington USA 3:53:38
3. Andy Potts USA 3:54:21
4. Ivan Vasiliev RUS 3:55:08
5. Denis Vasiliev RUS 3:55:59
The top five professional women's competitors were:
1. Meredith Kessler USA 4:17:11
2. Svenja Bazlen GER 4:18:46
3. Heather Wurtele CAN 4:20:26
4. Annabel Luxford AUS 4:23:09
5. Kelly Williamson USA 4:23:13