Courtney Atkinson continues his winning streak and Caroline Steffen defends her title at Ironman 70.3 Philippines

Ironman 70.3 PhilippinesCourtney Atkinson (AUS) was up against stiff competition at Ironman 70.3 Philippines including Ironman world champions Pete Jacobs (AUS) and Chris McCormack (AUS) as well as Kiwi star Cameron Brown (NZL), David Dellow (AUS) and fellow ex-short course racer Brent McMahon (CAN).

Atkinson was out of the water first in 23:50 with Jacobs on his toes, the pair edging ahead of the competition, while McMahon pulled the rest of the field along in his wake over two minutes later.

Atkinson soon dropped Jacobs on the bike, going on to secure a 2:12:38 bike split – the day’s fastest at over 25mph – and an advantage of over three minutes on his pursuers.

Josh Rix, who had moved up from eighth to second thanks to his 2:13:34 bike time led Brown, Dellow, McMahon, Jacobs and McCormack onto the run.

Atkinson made a fast start to the run, adding to his advantage while McMahon and McCormack managed to distance the other contenders.

Half way around the run course, Atkinson was still going strong with a four-minute lead over McCormack, who dropped McMahon only for the Canadian to race back up and overtake.

Behind them, Jacobs and Dellow were starting to up the pace and with 5km to go, they’d moved up to second and third on the course.

Atkinson stayed in control to end Jacobs’ three years of dominance at the race by crossing the line in 3:58:07 with a 1:18:40 run split, continuing his middle-distance winning streak in the process.

Jacobs finished in 3:59:09 clocking the day’s fastest run split of 1:15:37 on the way to second place. Dellow claimed third in 4:02:22 ahead of McCormack and McMahon.

In the women’s race, Caroline Steffen (SUI) showed she’s going well in the lead up to Kona by putting up a strong title defence at the race and going even faster than her 2012 course-record breaking time.

Steffen left the water in 26:31 with a 41-second lead on Bree Wee (USA) and then pushed incredibly hard on the bike course to bridge up to some of the pro men.

Steffen’s blistering 2:18:15 bike split gave her a buffer of more than 10 minutes to Wee at the start of the run while Belinda Granger (AUS) was next to rack her bike.

Steffen showed she’s graduated to become one of the sport’s top runners by increasing her lead over the half marathon course. She set the day’s fastest run split of 1:27:29 to take victory in 4:16:12.

Wee put in a strong 1:28:44 run to claim second in 4:27:49 while Granger rounded out the podium in 4:33:50, six minutes ahead of Jacqui Slack (GBR).

Top 5 Men
Atkinson, Courtney (AUS) 3:58:07
Jacobs, Pete (AUS) 3:59:09
Dellow, David (AUS) 4:02:22
McCormack, Chris (AUS) 4:03:15
McMahon, Brent (CAN) 4:04:05

Top 5 Women
Steffen, Caroline (SUI) 4:16:12
Wee, Bree (USA) 4:27:49
Granger, Belinda (AUS) 4:33:50
Slack, Jacqui (GBR) 4:39:31
Torres, Monica (PHL) 4:52:08