Spain’s Ivan Raña and the United States’ Mary Beth Ellis both produced the goods on the run after falling behind on the bike to take out this year’s Ironman Cozumel in Mexico today.
With names like James Cunnama, Luke Mckenzie, Dirk Bockel, Brandon Marsh, Victor Zyemstev and Eduardo Sturla in the field, few would’ve predicted the 2002 ITU World Champion Ivan Raña would come back from 11th place off the bike with a 2:44:05 marathon to win Ironman Cozumel.
What makes Raña’s victory so impressive is that it was his first attempt at the Iron-distance, so to run through some of the biggest names in long course triathlon to take his first M-dot title certainly announces the former Olympian as an early contender for a tilt at Kona in 2013.
Marsh began the day with a brilliant swim to lead the field out of the water in 50:08. With a strong ITU-background, Raña, as expected, exited the 3.8-kilometre swim safely inside the front pack, 19-seconds down on Marsh in 50:27. Luxembourg’s Dirk Bockel and Australia’s Mckenzie were right up there in the mix, with 50:15 and 50:19 swims, respectively.
Several big names left themselves a huge task on the bike, as Sturla, Patrick Evoe, Ezequial Morales, Michael Goehner and Stefan Schmid all gave up seven or more minutes to Marsh and the lead group.
South African pre-race favourite Cunnama found himself more than two minutes down out of the swim, but he had the likes of Jimmy Johnsen, Michael Lovato and Bert Jammaer around him, so there were no fears there that they would not make the bridge to the leaders up the road.
Onto the bike and it was Bockel who led the field through the first lap, with Mckenzie, Horst Reichel and Edo Van Der Meer three minutes back. Raña was a further minute adrift in 12th place, however, he was clearly comfortable with where he was at, as he continued to ride a handful of minutes back from Bockel for the entire bike leg.
Through the second lap, Bockel had extended his lead, but goal for an end-of-season win would end not long into the marathon as stomach cramps caused him to come unstuck and fall back to 29th place by the halfway mark.
At the start of the run Bockel led pre-race favourite’s Mckenzie by seven minutes, Cunnama and Raña by nine minutes, with Marsh a further 10 seconds down.
Once the pace (and heat) picked up for the run, it was the Raña show, as by the 14-kilometre mark, he and Cunnama had run into first and second place, respectively. However, such was the fire power of Raña’s run speed, he had gained two minutes on Cunnama at the 14-kilometre time check and was looking unchallenged at the head of the field.
Although coming into Ironman Cozumel untested at this distance, Raña held it together for a 2:44 marathon to win in the quick time of 8:15:07. Following home Raña in second place was little-known Dutchman Bas Diederen in 8:22:55, with Bert Jammaer ending his long season on high note, rounding out the podium in third place with a 8:24:51.
- Ivan Raña – 8:15:07
- Bas Diederen – 8:22:55
- Bert Jammaer – 8:24:51
- Anton Blokhin – 8:26:38
- Jimmy Johnsen – 8:29:09
- Mary Beth Ellis – 9:15:38
- Sophie De Groote – 9:15:45
- Sonja Tajsich – 9:21:30
- Michelle Vesterby – 9:23:49
- Kathleen Calkins – 9:25:58
Courtesy of www.firstoffthebike.com