Ambrose and Keat take Kentucky and Marques takes fifth.....
Kevin Mackinnon recaps the day that saw Paul Ambrose and Rebeka Keat win Ford Ironman Louisville
Born in Great Britain but raised in Australia, Paul Ambrose (pictured being interviewed by Mike Reilly, photo courtesy Action Sports International) helped to make it feel like a day for the Aussies as he captured his first Ironman title today while Rebekah Keat, who has always called Australia her home claimed her second official Ironman title. Both used stellar bike splits to ride away from their competition to take the race run in Louisville's hot and humid conditions.
Even at 5AM this morning the temperature here in Louisville was 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius) – and it only warmed up from there. The athletes swam in the 84 degree waters of the Ohio River – the last time that speed suits will be allowed in an Ironman event – and then took on the challenging bike course as the temperature and humidity steadily rose.
After exiting the water about three-minutes behind swim leader John Flanagan (a former winner of the Waikiki Rough Water Swim in his home town of Honolulu), Ambrose gradually took control of the race thanks to the day’s fastest bike split that put him over 12 minutes ahead of Denmark’s Martin Jensen and Australian Jason Shortis entering T2. Shortis would eventually walk much of the run due to stomach issues, while Jensen remained in second position for the entire marathon. Max Longree, in his first major race since getting hit by a car three days before last year’s Ford Ironman Arizona race, ran his way to third.
Paul Ambrose 26 GBR 48:39/ 4:31:36/ 3:05:09/ 8:29:59
Martin Jensen 27 DEN 48:39/ 4:44:43/ 3:03:36/ 8:41:54
Max Longree 29 GER 1:00:14/ 4:49:09/ 2:55:28/ 8:50:10
Patrick Evoe 33 USA 56:07/ 4:48:06/ 3:03:40/ 8:53:14
Sergio Marques 30 PRT 57:30/ 4:53:07/ 3:08:56/ 9:05:04
Keat, fresh off a win at an Ironman distance race two weeks ago, also used the day’s fastest bike split to arrive at T2 well ahead of her competition. With a nine-minute lead over Caitlin Snow (who chose not to do the run today) and a lead of about 14 minutes over Americans Kim Loeffler and Bree Wee, an obviously fatigued Keat held on through the run. Loeffler quickly moved into second place and tried to chase down the Australian leader. Having dealt with stomach issues early in the day, Loeffler’s charge for the front eventually stalled at the 20-mile point of the marathon, at which point Keat, who was suffering calf-cramps, cruised in to take the title with an 11-minute-plus cushion. Wee held on for third, while age group athlete Whitney Henders took fourth overall, just ahead of Denmark’s Lisbeth Kristensen.
Women's top five:Rebekah Keat 30 AUS 55:36/ 5:08:25/ 3:23:50/ 9:33:15
Kim Loeffler 38 USA 1:04:29/ 5:13:25/ 3:21:08/ 9:44:23
Bree Wee 31 USA 55:32/ 5:22:21/ 3:26:17/ 9:50:35
Whitney Henderson 30 USA 66 57:53/ 5:19:53/ 3:39:32/ 10:04:29 (AGE GROUP)
Lisbeth Kristensen DEN 49 56:11/ 5:22:31/ 3:46:45/ 10:12:06
Over 2,500 athletes competed at today’s race.