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Ford Ironman World Championship ~ Top 3 Men and Women

The 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship was a record-breaking day.  Craig “Crowie” Alexander and Chrissie Wellington dominated the course in near-perfect conditions.

Alexander, who won the event in 2008 and 2009, added a third Ironman World Championship title. Finishing in 8:03:56, Alexander broke the course record, set in 1996 by Luc Van Lierde, by 12 seconds. He is only the fourth person in the history of the race to win three times and the first person ever to earn Ironman World Championship 70.3 and Ironman World Championship titles in the same year.  Alexander excelled over an impressive men’s field, including last year’s runner-up, Andreas Raelert (DEU), as well as Pete Jacobs (AUS), Dirk Bockel (LUX), Timo Bracht (DEU) and Chris Lieto (USA). 

After withdrawing from the 2010 Ford Ironman World Championship due to illness, Wellington returned to Kona to defend her course record against a women’s field that included last year’s champion, Mirinda Carfrae (AUS), as well as Caroline Steffen (CHE), Leanda Cave (GBR), Rachel Joyce (GBR) and Julie Dibens (GBR). Carfrae showcased her skill as a runner, challenging Wellington up until the finish line while breaking her own run course record with a split of 2:52:09.  Wellington secured her fourth Ironman World Championship title when she crossed the line in 8:55:08. 

Ford Ironman World Championship.  Competitors ranged in age from 18 to 81 years old.  Over 1,850 athletes representing more than 50 countries and nearly all 50 states started the 2011.  A look at the top 3 Men and Women:

Craig “Crowie” Alexander 

Australia • 08:03:56 

The 38-year-old Aussie, who won the event in 2008 and 2009, added a third Ironman World Championship title to his resume, finishing in 8:03:56.  He broke the course record, set in 1996 by Luc Van Lierde, by 12 seconds. Alexander is only the fourth person in the history of the race to win three times and the first person ever to earn Ironman World Championship 70.3 and Ironman World Championship titles in the same year. His race featured a 51:56 swim split, 4:24:05 bike split and a 2:44:03 run split. 

Pete Jacobs 

Australia • 08:09:11 

Pete Jacobs has had a string of successes in the seven years he has been a professional triathlete.  With two top ten finishes under his belt from the 2009 and 2010 Ironman World Championship events, including the third-ever fastest marathon in last year’s race, the 30-year-old was poised to return to Kona to make the podium. Despite a challenge from Andreas Raelert at the end of the run, Jacobs celebrated his first top-three finish with his best time yet: 8:09:11. 

Andreas Raelert 

Germany • 08:11:07 

Andreas Raelert, 35, made his Kona debut in 2009, finishing third overall. In 2010 he returned to the Ironman World Championship and battled Chris McCormack on the run, ultimately earning a second-place finish with a time of 8:12:17.  Raelert had another impressive year on the course, remaining with the lead group throughout the race and finishing again in the top three with a time of 8:11:07 – his fastest overall time in Kona thus far. 

Chrissie Wellington 

Great Britain • 08:55:08 

After withdrawing from the 2010 Ironman World Championship due to illness, Chrissie Wellington, 34, returned to Kona to defend her course record and add another title to her resume.  Despite a slower-than-usual swim split of 1:01:03, she started chiseling away at the gap on the bike with a split of 4:56:53, paving the way for her domination on the run.  Wellington passed Caroline Steffen in the Natural Energy Lab of Hawai`i and then moved to the lead with defending Ironman World Champion Mirinda Carfrae close on her heels. She took home her fourth Ironman World Championship title with an overall time of 8:55:08, just a minute shy of breaking her own course record set in 2009.

Mirinda Carfrae 

Australia • 08:57:57 

Mirinda Carfrae, 30, has seen successes on the International, Ironman and Ironman 70.3 circuits.  The 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Champion made her Kona debut in style in 2009, finishing second with a record-breaking 2:56:51 marathon.  In 2010, she shattered her own run course record with a time of 2:53:32 and made her way to her first World Championship title. This year, Carfrae yet again broke her own course record for the run with a time of 2:52:09.  She challenged Wellington up through the last few miles of the race, running as close as just over two minutes behind her and finishing with her best time in Kona to date of 8:57:57. 

Leanda Cave 

Great Britain • 09:03:29 

Leanda Cave, 33, has been a professional triathlete for ten years with many celebrated podium finishes on the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 circuits, including second and third place finishes at the Ironman World Championship 70.3.  In only her second appearance at the Ford Ironman World Championship, Cave had an impressive day that featured a 53:54 swim split, a 4:58:41 bike split and a 3:06:36 marathon that secured her spot in the top three with an overall time of 9:03:29.


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