7am on Saturday the 18th of May and 1800 athletes of different nationalities, sizes, ambition and level gathered on the start line of the 22nd Ironman Lanzarote. Race conditions were near perfect other than light rain which cleared up as the leaders exited T1: The wind was low though no doubt in higher parts of the course it picked up, the sun was shining and by the afternoon the clouds had completely cleared leaving hot conditions for the athletes as they began their marathon.
Faris Al-Sultan of Germany took a strong win in the men’s field with the only sub five hour bike split. Faris has, as he admitted in the race press conference, had a bad start to the 2013 race season with no results. Faris said that heat would not be an issue for him, he was pleased with his performance in South Africa 70.3 until a niggle during the run phase forced him to retire. He is keen on finally racing and bringing something good to the finish line, he certainly did just that! He finished in a total time of 8:43:40.
Miquel Blanchart took second place in his first official ironman, just under ten minute behind the leader. Kirill Kotsegarov of Estonia finished in third place.
It was her first time on the course for Germanys Kristin Möller but she did not disappoint. A winner of Ironman UK and Wales, the conditions Lanzarote have to offer are far from those of the UK. But Miller proved she’s up there with the best of them – able to overcome the notoriously tough course with the fastest bike and run splits, securing a significant win in a time of 9:37:34
Heleen bij De Vaate of France finished second, with Saleto Castro of Spain who is comparatively younger than her professional competitors at 26, was first lady out of the water in 54:46, and executing solid performances in the bike and run she went on to finish 3rd.
Despite having felt in good shape and expressing confidence about the race in the press conference, Great Britain’s 15 times ironman champion Bella Bayliss and one of the race favorites sadly retired during the latter stages of the run.
The notorious course here in Lanzarote took many victims throughout the day who did not finish professionals and age group athletes alike. The heat, wind and mountainous course is not one for the faint hearted or underprepared. Many smiles, tears and stories were told at the finish line, between competitors families and friends. See you next year for the 2014 Ironman Lanzarote. Check out the photos from the event here!