Beals, Lester fastest athletes at Ironman 70.3
CAMBRIDGE — Returning to the scene of his first pro victory, triathlete Cody Beals of Canada repeated as the Ironman 70.3 Eagleman winner Sunday morning.
Before the temperature hit 90 degrees, Beals swam 1.2 miles, biked 56 miles, and ran 13.1 miles through this waterfront town and out into the countryside.
Beals took the lead in the bike portion and added to his lead in the run to finish with a time of 3 hours, 50 minutes, 2 seconds, beating his time last year of 3:51:05.
Over 1,800 athletes from around the world competed in the event, which began with an in-water start at Great Marsh Park.
The triathlon awarded 30 qualifying slots to the 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Australian professional triathlete Carrie Lester won the women’s division with a time of 4:23:03. In a close race for second and third, Beth Shutt, of Brockton, Massachusetts, finished with a time of 4:30:32, 28 seconds ahead of Lauren Capone, of Santa Barbara, California.
Adam Otstot, of Williamsburg, Virginia, finished second overall with a time of 3:56:38, and Thomas Gerlach, of Madison, Wisconsin, placed third in 4:01:0.
Wyatt Collins, of Larchmont, New York, who placed 13th overall, was the first athlete out of the water with a time of 23:25.
Beals, 26, was third in his division and 33rd overall coming out of the water with a time of 27:41. He took the overall lead with a bike split of 2:03:41 and added breathing room with a split of 1:16:21 in the run. His transition times were 1:20 for swim-to-bike and :59 for bike-to-run.
Beals has finished in the top three in nine Ironman 70.3 triathlons, with his two first-place victories both coming in Cambridge.
“I’m absolutely overjoyed to defend here,” said Beals. “It was my first pro win last year and now my second win this year. It’s safe to say I’ll be back next year.”
Beals’ breakthrough race came in 2013 when he won the Ontario Long Distance Championships and he joined the pro ranks in 2014.
He spoke highly of the many volunteers that make the triathlon possible in Cambridge.
“That’s the real unique thing we have here with the whole community rallying behind this event,” he said. “The volunteer support, the spectator support, the organization of this event, it’s all world class, so it’s a pleasure to race here.”
Lester was out of the water in 28:14, fifth in her division. She took the lead in the bike circuit in 2:19:33 and completed the run in 1:32:57. Her transition times were 1:38 for the swim-tobike and 1:21 for the biketo-run.
Lester, 35, competed in her first triathlon in 2004. Five years later, she won both the Age Group Olympic and Long Course Distance World Championships and decided to turn pro. In 2010, she won the Australian Ironman held at Port Macquarie. She has also won five other distance races including Ironman Chattanooga in September, 2015.
Making her Eagleman debut, Lester said she was glad that the early morning temperatures were relatively mild compared to what she had heard about previous races.
“It’s a tough course,” said Lester. “Some of these flatter courses are just as brutal as some of the hillier courses that I’ve been exposed to. It was a tough day. I’m a little bit shocked actually. From the moment I started
the swim I thought I was drowning, and I thought it was going to be a really horrible day, but I just wanted to keep my head strong and here I am.”
Despite her struggle, she said she would like another try at the Eagleman circuit.
“I would certainly love to come and try and do better on this course. It’s a great course. It’s beautiful out there. There was a lot of times I felt like I was over in Europe, in the nice countr yside. It’s a really beautiful course and I’d certainly love to come back.”
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Cody Beals of Canada finishes first to repeat as champion at the Ironman 70.3 Eagleman triathlon Sunday morning in Cambridge.
Carrie Lester of Australia celebrates her victory in the women’s division at the Ironman 70.3 Eagleman triathlon Sunday morning in Cambridge.