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Official 2008 St. Croix 70.3 Half Ironman Results

Ok this will be short and sweet since the IMAZ videos are taking up time. Barry Siff (super nice guy, runs the whole 5430 series in CO) wrote this report for ironmanlive.com I will have a post at some point about the new ironman.com site. It is pretty poor and spotty right now, but hey that’s something that I myself am dealing with here on iwilltri.com so I think we need to give them a few weeks before we can go and do a full review of that site.

As far as St. Croix, Mirinda and Crowie are showing why they have become two of the few triathletes that you can pretty much be podium at any and every single 70.3 they enter. Quite simply, they can handle the swim and bike and then destroy people on the run, time and time again. Bree Wee gets on the podium during her rookie pro season, and my man Faris gets a top 5 after finishing so-so at St. Athony’s.

Here is my video interview with Mirinda from 2007 at the Spirit of Racine.

Over here is my video interview with Craig Alexander before the 2007 Lifetime Fitness Triathlon
4 AL-SULTAN, FARIS 04:10:15
5 AMBROSE, PAUL 04:12:02
6 CIGANA, MASSIMO 04:12:29
7 LOVATO, MICHAEL 04:14:15
9 LESSING, SIMON 2/6/10 04:17:49
10 EVOE, PATRICK 52/11/11 04:17:49

2 KRAFT, NINA 04:36:33
3 WEE, BREE 04:36:45
4 STEWART, TYLER 04:46:31
5 HART, FELICITY 04:47:13
6 WILSON, CYNTHIA 04:47:19
7 NORTON, TARA 04:50:18
8 LOVATO, AMANDA 04:56:13

Ironman 70.3 St. Croix 2008: 2006 Revisited
Barry Siff Reports on this year’s Ironman 70.3 St. Croix
Published Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ironman 70.3 St. Croix 2008: 2006 Revisited Just two years ago, before anyone knew who Mirinda Carfrae was, she came to the beautiful island of St. Croix, ran away from the likes of fleet-footed Lisa Bentley and previous three-time Champion Joanna Zeiger, set the St. Croix course record, and has gone on to become the Foster Grant Ironman 70.3 World Champion.

Also, in 2006, Craig Alexander returned to his “favorite holiday” spot, and won the race for his second time. Now, 2008, these two Aussies each had the fastest run splits of the day en route to victory once again; but, it was a battle most of the way.

Women’s Race
As expected, Julie Dibbens, last year’s Champion, was first of the water (27:32), followed surprisingly closely by first year pro, Bree Wee, Nina Kraft, Felicity Hart, and Carfrae, 40 seconds back. Dibbens, who holds St Croix’ swim, bike and course records, seemed to look flat out on the bike course, and withdrew from the race early, well before the infamous “Beast” at mile 21 (as of the filing of this report, no official word yet on her reason for withdrawing).

Nina Kraft showed she is still one of the strongest athletes in the sport at age 40 by leading the women up one of the toughest hills in the sport of triathlon – the Beast – and winning the prime there. Carfrae, Wee, and Hart were close behind. What started out as wonderful conditions early on in the morning turned into a moderately windy bike ride with some heavy rain on the backside of the Beast. Kraft, Carfrae, and Wee worked together (legally), while Hart (Great Britain) made a move at roughly 25 miles to take the lead. Her 2:37:23 bike split on this very challenging course brought her into T2 with nearly a two minute lead on Carfrae, who rode a 2:38:50.

But, like in 2006, the 27 year-old who splits her time between her native Australia and Boulder, CO (under the tutelage of former World Triathlon Champion, Siri Lindley), ran out of T2 like a sprinter. There was little doubt what would follow; and, sure enough, with a 40:20 split on the first loop of the run, she had comfortably taken the lead. Her run time of 1:26:38, although four minutes slower than her still-standing record of 1:22 in 2006, was good enough for a three-minute victory over a very impressive Nina Kraft showing.

“I forgot how tough this race was,” said Carfrae at the finish line. “Lucky my run legs were still there.” The young and extremely likable Champion gave thanks to the “sensational and supportive crowds of St. Croix,” and noted that her ultimate goal this year remains to repeat at Clearwater in the Foster Grant Ironman70.3 World Championship. Watch for “Rinny” in Kona in ’09, however!
Men’s Race

The men’s race was likewise up for grabs until “Crowie” (Alexander) put the burners on – as usual – in the run. Bryan Rhodes of New Zealand took the swim prime by four seconds over four-time World Triathlon Champion, Simon Lessing. Close on their heels were Frederik Van Lierde (no relation to Luc), 2005 Ironman World Champion Faris Al-Sultan, and Alexander. Paul Ambrose had a spectacular bike ride, bridging the gap to the leaders, and leading everyone to the bottom of the Beast; but, Richie Cunningham, who finished second here last year, took an inside corner on of the many turns on the Beast, saw that he had quickly gained a bit of an advantage, and went for the prime at the top … successfully. A very tight pack of five followed, including all the big names.

The biggest move of the day, though, took place at roughly 30 miles of the bike course when 2-time Ironman Austria Champion, Marino Vanhoenacker, raced by Cunningham, Alexander, Al-Sultan, and Lessing. Only Ambrose was ahead. The Belgian was a minute down at the top of the Beast, after a disappointing swim (two minutes back). “I was pushing hard, but felt very comfortable. Before I thought it would be just a run race; but, I caught them on the highway, and thought ‘OK, I’ve gained two minutes in the first 40K, maybe I should push through and get another two minutes into them, and that’s what I did.” In fact, Vanhoenacker’s time of 2:19:10 broke the seven-year-old bike course record, doing so in less than perfect conditions. He still arrived in T2 a minute behind Ambrose, who also nearly broke the course bike record, but 3:30 up on Cunningham, Alexander, Lessing, and Al-Sultan.

Like Carfrae, however, Alexander flies out of T2 noticeably faster than his competition; and, made up the 3:30 in the first 5 miles of the run. His 1:15:59 was nearly four minutes faster than any other male pro, and provided him with a three-minute victory over Vanhoenacker, followed by Cunningham, Al-Sultan, and Ambrose.

Side Notes

With the second best swim, fifth fastest bike, and third fastest run, 28 year-old Bree Wee is one to watch this year. Her 9:47 in Kona last year was the fastest ever for a female age group athlete, and she has taken on triathlon now full-time (she was a school teacher), along with being a Mom to her 22-month-old child.

Richie Cunningham left nothing out on the course, and had to be attended to immediately in the medical tent, where Al-Sultan visited him and said “I made you run for your money.” Cunningham smiled… and closed his eyes.

The St. Croix CEO Challenge Champion was Shane Macherowski, who won in 5:15, earning him a trip to the Ironman World Championship in October. Eleven CEO’s came to St. Croix to compete.

Craig Alexander has now won this race four times, tying himself with legendary Mike Pigg, who came to the island, racing – and winning the Sprint race. It was Lucy Alexander’s third birthday today … Craig and Neri’s wonderful daughter.

Over 700 athletes competed today in St. Croix, well up from 2007. $50,000 in prize money – 28 Kona age group slots – and 50 Ironman 70.3 slots will be awarded at the Awards Ceremony at the Divi Resort this evening. If you’ve never been to the St. Croix 70.3, consider it next year. With 20 years of history, this is truly one of the sport’s classic destination events.

Barry Siff, owner of 5430 Sports, is a Race Director, writer, and triathlete, living in Boulder, CO with his wife, Jodee, and dog, Jackpot.

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May 4, 2008 at 8:32 pm
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