It was the Williamson/O’Donnell show again as Kelly Williamson and Tim O’Donnell took out Ironman 70.3 Texas, two weeks after their wins at Ironman 70.3 San Juan. Despite the hype surrounding Lance Armstrong (finished 7th), these two stepped up to the plate again.

At the Ironman 70.3 Texas race, New Zealander, Anna Cleaver, claimed the fastest swim time at her first race back for the year, closely followed by Nina Kraft. However, an old hip injury flared up on the bike, so her time at the front was short lived, unfortunately clocking up a DNF.

Kelly Williamson, fresh from her win in San Juan hit the front early in the bike and was determined to “bury” herself. Her run is a thing of beauty, but she has learnt that she can’t run a 1:15, but ride 10mins slower, so losing time on the bike in this race was not an option for the Texan. Williamson held the lead on the bike for almost half of the 90km bike course, only to be overtaken by Amy Marsh and Anja Beranek who entered T2 almost simultaneously. But it was Yvonne Van Vlerken, who with the help of her manager/training partner, Tommy Vonach, and her neighbour, outstanding biker, Chris Lieto, had spent some time changing her bike fit, who ended up with the fastest bike split of the day, 2:23:09.

Williamson was here to win and powered ahead on the run, with no one in site being able to challenge her. However, after cramping on the bike, she was only too aware that anything could happen over a 21.1km run, and had some low moments, continually having to back it off and making sure she wasn’t getting “greedy” on the run. Crossing the line in a total time of 4:13:27, and running a 1:18:04 half marathon, Williamson claimed another 70.3 win, and the US Pro Championship title.

Yvonee Van Vlerken, who had changed coaches six weeks ago, and is now training with Siri Lindley was ecstatic with her 2nd place – “it’s so awesome to be back, and nice to race again”. Making up time from the swim on the bike course, and running a solid 1:23:49 pushed her across the line in 4:18:47. She was followed by Amy Marsh in third with a time of 4:20:16.

The men’s race was focussed on Lance Armstrong in the lead up to the event. However, while the hype surrounded the 7x Tour De France champion, the men who have consistently proven to be outstanding triathletes, certainly laid down the law of racing hard. Tim O’Donnell backed up his win in San Juan, with another in Texas in a time of 3:47:40. Sebastian Kienle followed just 23 secs back, and Ronnie Schildknecht was in third, 3:48:49. The top men were within minutes of each other, and Armstrong, who is on a steep learning curve when it comes to race tactics and even nutrition came in 7th, with an extremely respectable time of 3:54:32. Armstrong is an amazing athlete, and it’s fantastic that he is drawing a lot of attention to the sport. But let’s not forget the brilliant athletes who continue to impress with their outstanding performances.

Women’s Results:

1st – Kelly Williamson 4:13:27

2nd – Yvonne Van Vlerken 4:18:47

3rd – Amy Marsh 4:20:16

4th – Caitlin Snow 4:22:03

5th – Margaret Shapiro 4:25:27

Men’s Results:

Tim O’Donnell 3:47:40

Sebastian Kienle 3:48:03

Ronnie Schildknecht 3:48:49

Michael Raelert 3:50:08

Stephane Poulat 3:52:35


Thanks to Dave Erickson and Kevin MacKinnon for their insights and coverage.

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