No­cera, Goetz cap­ture Iron­man Mary­land

For­mer wins men’s race in 6:59:24, lat­ter first woman to cross in 8:14:27

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

CAM­BRIDGE — Chris No­cera wasn’t the first per­son to cross the fin­ish line Satur­day at Iron­man Mary­land, but he was the fastest per­son to fin­ish.

No­cera, an en­gi­neer from Stam­ford, Con­necti­cut, won the en­durance triathlon — make that biathlon — with a marathon run of 2 hours, 50 min­utes, and 59 sec­onds to over­take all fron­trun­ners in time for his first Iron­man ti­tle.

Due to un­safe wa­ter con­di­tions and course flood­ing, the swim at Iron­man Mary­land was can­celled and the bike course was mod­i­fied

to a dis­tance to 100 miles. In­stead of a typ­i­cal wave start, race or­ga­niz­ers opted for a time-trial start for the bi­cy­cling seg­ment.

None­the­less, 40 cov­eted age-group qual­i­fy­ing slots for the 2017 Iron­man World Championship in Hawaii were still up for grabs, in­spir­ing the top triath­letes to com­pete for a top fin­ish.

Over 2,000 triath­letes from 35 coun­tries and 49 U.S. states com­peted, in­clud­ing 236 reg­is­tered par­tic­i­pants from Mary­land. The ages of com­peti­tors ran from 19 to 88.

An Iron­man triathlon usu­ally con­sists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bi­cy­cle ride, and a marathon 26.22mile run, raced in that or­der and with­out a break.

No­cera, com­pet­ing in the 30-34 age class, trailed five other ath­letes af­ter the bi­cy­cling por­tion with a time of 4:04.48, but passed them all in time dur­ing the run to win his first Iron­man, fin­ish­ing in 6:59:24.

“I had a PR [per­sonal record] day; I mean I felt great,” No­cera said. “I’m a lit­tle sore now ob­vi­ously, but I ran and biked really well. I’m prob­a­bly even in the three dis­ci­plines, but I grew up as a run­ner so my run is prob­a­bly my strongest. It [the bik­ing] wasn’t too bad. There was def­i­nitely a cross­wind kind of all day, but for down here you kind of expect the wind, so this was pretty mild. I was sur­prised. … I couldn’t ask for any­thing more. Any­time you win an Iron­man you’ve got to be ex­cited about it. I PR’d on the run by prob­a­bly over 20 min­utes, so I’m really happy with the day.”

Ja­cob Wis­sum (35-39), of Den­mark, com­pleted the bike ride sec­ond in 3:59:03 and fin­ished third over­all with a time of 7:04.48.

Wis­sum crossed the fin­ish line at Long Wharf Park first, but he had started the race ear­lier than No­cera.

“It was a good race for me; I kept it pretty steady all the way,” Wis­sum said. “I pushed it hard on the bike to be­gin with be­cause it was a time trial, so I needed to get a solid lead, and then I kept my pace in the run.”

Wis­sum ad­mit­ted that drop­ping the swim­ming seg­ment prob­a­bly helped his over­all place­ment.

“I’m def­i­nitely not the best swim­mer, but I think it was the right de­ci­sion,” Wis­sum said. “I think maybe the vast ma­jor­ity of the ath­letes would be fine, but you have to think about the other 10 per­cent, so I think it was fair enough.”

John Kelly (30-34), of Rockville, sprinted to the fin­ish line and placed sec­ond over­all among male ath­letes with a time of 7:04:06.

“It was a tough bike with the rain and the wind,” Kelly said. “I was wor­ried so much about get­ting a flat with the wet roads. The swim is my weak­est part but who knows if it would have helped or hurt me ver­sus the other top guys. If noth­ing else it makes me dis­ap­pointed that I spent all those hours in the pool this sum­mer for naught be­cause that’s the least en­joy­able part of train­ing for me. … I’m hop­ing I got a Kona spot to­day, which means I won’t be back here next year but be off in sunny Hawaii.”

Lisa Goetz (35-39), of Toronto, Canada, also ad­mit­tedly not the best swim­mer, ral­lied with a run of 3:28:41 to over­take six ath­letes and crossed the fin­ish line first as the top fe­male ath­lete. Goetz, com­pet­ing in her fifth Iron­man and win­ning her first over­all ti­tle, rode the bike cir­cuit through the wa­ter­front town and Black­wa­ter Na­tional Wildlife Refuge in 4:41:55. She fin­ished the over­all race in 8:14:27.

“Lucky for me there was no swim and a short­ened bike,” Goetz said. “Run­ning is my best, bik­ing I’m good, swim’s my worst. I could see the girls with the pacer bikes ahead of me, so each lap I was get­ting closer and closer, and then the last stretch there I passed first and sec­ond, so that was a bit of a mo­ti­va­tor.”

Ash­ley Forsyth (35-39), of Philadel­phia, placed sec­ond over­all among fe­males with a time of 8:21:53, and Jen­nifer Zopp (30-34), of Ma­hopac, N.Y., placed third in 8:23:54.

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Lisa Goetz, of Toronto, Canada, crosses the fin­ish line as the fastest fe­male ath­lete at Iron­man Mary­land, Satur­day in Cam­bridge.

PHOTOS BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Iron­man Mary­land over­all win­ner Chris No­cera, of Stam­ford, Con­necti­cut, is shown here with sup­port from vol­un­teers Ray­mond Mo­race, left, and Mark Forsyth af­ter No­cera fin­ished with the fastest time Satur­day in Cam­bridge.

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