Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009 (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii) -- Australia's Craig Alexander and Great Britain's Chrissie Wellington defended their titles today at the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Alexander added a second consecutive World Championship title to his resume, while Wellington added a third. Wellington's overall time of 8:54:02 broke the course record set in 1992 by Ironman icon, Paula Newby-Fraser.
Alexander demonstrated his tenacity against an impressive men's field consisting of some of the best athletes in the sport including Chris Lieto (USA), Andreas Raelert (DEU), Andy Potts (USA) and former Ironman World Champions, Normann Stadler (DEU), Chris McCormack (AUS) and Faris Al-Sultan (DEU). Local Hawaii athlete John Flanagan led out of the swim with only a three second lead on Potts. The two remained in close proximity through mile 16 of the bike until relative newcomer and youngest male competitor, Philip Graves from Great Britain, took the lead. Second place finisher, Lieto, known as a strong cyclist and runner, took the lead at the turnaround in Hawi and held on to it until he was overtaken by Alexander at mile 21 of the run. Graves secured the Timex Ironman Watch Bonus during the bike, while Lieto earned the bonus during the run. The top five professional men's results are listed below:
1. Craig Alexander, AUS 8:20:21
2. Chris Lieto, USA 8:22:56
3. Andreas Raelert, DEU 8:24:32
4. Chris McCormack, AUS 8:25:20
5. Rasmus Henning, DNK 8:28:17
Wellington dominated the competitive women's field today consisting of Ironman and 70.3 Champions such as Tereza Macel, Mirinda Carfrae, Yvonne van Vlerken, Sandra Wallenhorst and Virginia Berasategui, in addition to Ironman World Champion and Olympian, Michellie Jones. Wellington held the lead by approximately 15 minutes throughout the 140.6-mile course, ranking 22nd among the entire field of male and female professional athletes. Carfrae, in her debut at the Ford Ironman World Championship and the full-distance, broke Wellington's 2008 run course record with a time of 2:56:51. Wellington's speed in today's event allowed her to claim both Timex Ironman Watch Bonuses. The top five professional women's results are listed below:
1. Chrissie Wellington, GBR 8:54:02
2. Mirinda Carfrae, AUS 9:13:59
3. Virginia Berasategui, SPA 9:15:28
4. Tereza Macel CZH 9:23:43
5. Samantha McGlone, CAN 9:30:28
The event saw an estimated 1,770 athletes officially start the race in an attempt to conquer the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run on the Big Island of Hawaii. Weather conditions for the 31st anniversary of Ironman were hot, with temperatures reaching well above 90 degrees Farenheit during the bike and run portions. Competitors represented more than 48 countries and all 50 states and ranged in age from 20 to 80 years old.
The Emmy Award-winning Ford Ironman World Championship broadcast will air on Dec. 19, 2009, from 4:30 – 6 p.m. EST. Check local listings and ironman.com for additional details.
For complete race day coverage and results from the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championship, visit Ironman.com.