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Spain’s Victor Del Corral runs sub 2:40 while the Netherlands’ Yvonne Van Vlerken slashes course record at Ironman Florida

Ironman Florida 2013 - Victor Del Corral

Victor Del Corral ran one of the fastest ever Ironman marathons (Photo: FinisherPix)

Victor Del Corral (ESP) and Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) both recorded some of the fastest times ever seen in North America on their way to Ironman Florida titles. Del Corral finished with a winning time of 7:53:12, while Van Vlerken defended her title with a course-record time of 8:43:07.

The pro men entered rough waters of the Gulf of Mexico at 6:50, with Olympians Filip Ospaly (CZE) and Axel Zeebroek (BEL) immediately securing the lead. Americans Tim O’Donnell and Andrew Starykowicz made some headway over the first lap of the two-loop swim, but, in the end, the initial leaders were first and second out of the water. Pedro Gomez (PRT) and Starykowicz were 1:45 back, with a large pack including Daniel Fontana (ITA), O’Donnell, and others 1:55 back.

As expected, it didn’t matter what position Starykowicz came out of the water. He blazed out of T1 and in the defending champion’s own terms, he came to Florida after a disappointing race in Kona to “get everything I can out of my body.” Once out on the bike, the Wauconda, Illinois native did just that, leaving the rest of the field to chase.

Starykowicz’s domination was so complete that many surrendered the day to him long before the marathon even began. By mile 15 he’d taken the lead, and from then on he continued to dig into his own course record (4:04) mile by mile. By the halfway point he’d extended his lead to almost 10 minutes, and he hit T2 18 minutes ahead of a large pack including Kirill Kotsegarov (EST), Fontana and others. His 4:02:17 was good for a new global Ironman bike standard.

Once out onto the run, the only remaining question was whether one of the short-course athletes behind him could chase him down. Spain’s Victor Del Corral turned out to be up for the challenge, narrowing his deficit to Starykowicz at a blistering pace of a minute per mile. Fontana went with him making for one of the most exciting races Florida has seen for some time. At mile 24.5, the pass came, and Del Corral soared to the victory on the pride of one of the fastest marathons in Ironman history: 2:37:29. Starykowicz’s 7:55:22 was good for a personal six-minute PR and a second place finish, while Filip Ospaly finished third in 7:58:44, rounding out a full sub-8 hour men’s podium.

Ironman Florida 2013 - Yvonne Van Vlerken

Yvonne Van Vlerken smashed the course record at Ironman Florida (Photo: FinisherPix)

In the women’s race, rookie pro Haley Chura (USA) dominated the swim as she did last month in Kona, exiting the water over four minutes ahead of the next closest competitors. Chura held her own on the bike, maintaining her lead until mile 40, when Austria’s Lisa Huetthaler overtook her. By mile 60, defending Ironman Florida Champion Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) had ridden her way into second and, by mile 70, she and Dede Griesbauer (USA) had made a mark at the front of the women’s race.

Van Vlerken set out on the run with Huetthaler hot on her heels, but quickly took the race by the reigns. By the half marathon point she had harnessed a lead of almost 10 minutes, her chasers unable to keep up the pace. With a solid 3:01:55 run, Van Vlerken defended her title with an overall time of 8:43:07, shattering her own 8:51:35 course record. Ashley Clifford (USA) ran her way into second, with Erika Csomor (HUN) taking third.

“I did a crazy schedule this year,” Van Vlerken said at the finish line. “I think I quite deserve a break now.” Before the race, Van Vlerken said she was immensely satisfied with her season, and considered this race “just like dessert.”

Ironman Florida Men’s Results:

  1. Victor Del Corral ESP 07:53:12
  2. Andrew Starykowicz USA 07:55:22
  3. Filip Ospaly CZE 07:58:44
  4. Daniel Fontana ITA 08:05:48
  5. Pedro Gomes PRT 08:08:34

Ironman Florida Women’s Results:

  1. Yvonne Van Vlerken NED 08:43:07
  2. Ashley Clifford USA 08:49:03
  3. Erika Csomor HUN 08:56:41
  4. Simone Braendli CHE 09:00:40
  5. Mareen Hufe GER 09:03:15