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Craig Alexander and Liz Blatchford, crowned champions at Ironman 70.3 Geelong

The traditional Ironman 70.3 Geelong, just outside of Melbourne Australia, attracted a world class field and saw Craig Alexander continuing his great 2015 season by using his experience to make his move at the right times during the race. On the women’s front, it was a very tight race in between the top 3 athletes, with less than ninty seconds in between them

The Men’s race

The swim was dominated Estonian Marko Albert, a former ITU swim superstar and one of triathlon’s strongest swimmer, he managed to open a ten second gap to a pack which included most of the main contenders such as James Seear, Sam Appleton (21:44) Casey Munro (21:48), Paul Ambrose (21:49), Luke Bell (21:51), Jamie Huggett (21:52), Craig Alexander (21:55), and Mark Bowstead (22:04).

Early onto the bike, Alexander, Bowstead and Appleton made a break away from the pack and managed to increase their lead to almost 3 minutes over the chasing pack, by the time the trio reached transition 2. Bowstead had the fastest bike split in 2:09:12.

Once on the run, Alexander and Appleton managed to drop Bowstead and then it was a shoulder-to shoulder dispute for 18k, whereupon the 3-time Ironman World Champion and 2-time Ironman 70.3 World champion showed the upstart his heels. Crowie had the day’s best half marathon split in 1:12:25. His total finish time was 3:46:26 with a 17 seconds margin over Appleton and 3:48 over third-place finisher Bowstead, who ran 1:17:13.

Craig Alexander who have more than once announced his retirement from Ironman racing, seems to be back full on into a winnig streak, he defended his 2014 Geelong victory and added to a solid start of the 2015 season which included a win at the Port of Tauranga Half and a 4th at Auckland 70.3.

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Crowie took home his second win of the 2015 season
Crowie took home his second win of the 2015 season

The Women’s race

Rebekah Keat, coming back from an injury showed  it didnt stop her swim training as she lead the swim in 23:44, she was followed closely by Liz Blatchford in 23:45, and Gina Crawford in 23:53, the trio had a 2 minute gap on the chase pack that included Madeline Oldfield, Kate Schultz, Sarah Crowley and Renee Baker.

The trio remained to together onto the bike as no one managed to break away, they all got into transition 2 within 20 seconds of each other and it was then a 21k run race that would define the race. The next group of athletes were 2 minutes down and had Stephanie Jones, Sarah Crowley, and Marie Sorrell.

Keat attacked early onto the run and opened a one minute gap to Blatchford by the 10km mark, but Blatford showed that she is now a very experienced long course athlete and slowly reeled Keat in to take over the lead in the final kilometer. Liz  crossed the line first in 4:19:34 with a 29 seconds margin on runner-up Keat. Sarah Crowley made up for a 25:52 swim and 2:30:48 bike split with a women’s fastest 1:21:15 run to pass Crawford and take 3rd place, 1:18 back of Blatchford. Crawford finished with a 1:26:50 run that brought her to the line in 4th place, 1:20 back of Crowley.

Results

Men

1. Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:46:26
2. Sam Appleton (AUS) 3:46:43
3. Mark Bowstead (NZL) 3:50:14
4. Jeffrey Symonds (CAN) 3:52:21
5. Marko Albert (EST) 3:54:48
6. Paul Ambrose (AUS) 3:55:36
7. Casey Munro (AUS) 3:57:53
8. Nick Baldwin (AUS) 3:59:37
9. Jamie Huggett (AUS) 4:02:08
10. Leigh Stabyrla (AUS ) 4:02:53

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Women

1. Liz Blatchford (AUS) 4:19:34
2. Rebekah Keat (AUS) 4:20:03
3. Sarah Crowley (AUS) 4:20:52
4. Gina Crawford (NZL) 4:22:12
5. Stephanie Jones (USA) 4:26:37
6. Katy Duffield (AUS) 4:27:55
7. Marie Sorrell (NZL) 4:32:53

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