New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty and the USA’s Meredith Kessler win Ironman New Zealand in Taupo.
ITU star Bevan Docherty proved he had the legs to move up to Ironman with a powerful course-record win at Ironman New Zealand, while rising superstar Meredith Kessler led from start to finish in a dominant performance.
Ending the 10-year dominance of local hero Cameron Brown, fellow Kiwi Docherty came out of the water second in 45:44, 10 seconds behind Estonia’s Marko Albert, but nearly two minutes ahead of countryman Terenzo Bozzone and almost five-minutes ahead of Brown.
Albert and Docherty raced from the front, the latter pushing hard in his first Ironman. By 135km, Bozzone and Brown were seven minutes behind Docherty, who managed to power away from Albert to reach T2 with over three-minutes’ advantage having posted the fastest bike time of the day – 4:35:06. Brown came in third another eight minutes behind.
Docherty continued his Ironman education on the run, pacing out fast, but having to walk for a short spell before supping coke and going on to finish in 8:15:35, a new course record. Albert held on to second in 8:25:30, while perennial champ Brown was third in 8:34:28.
The women’s race provided a domineering performance from the USA’s Meredith Kessler, the winner of last year’s race, which was truncated to 70.3-distance following horrendous weather.
Kessler was first from Lake Taupo, swimming with the pro men to clock a 47:37 split – fourth overall – for the 3.8km course. New Zealand’s Gina Crawford was next to transition, looking to make up four minutes over the bike course.
Determined to stay ahead of Crawford, Kessler pushed the pace on the bike course, recording the day’s fastest split – 5:04:44 – and boosting her lead to nearly eight minutes. Kiwi Candice Hammond was another 15 minutes back, a solid 5:15 bike putting her into podium contention after a slower swim.
Crawford narrowed the gap during the marathon, but couldn’t quite catch Kessler, whose strong cycling legs ultimately ensured victory in 9:17:10. Crawford was second in 9:20:54, with Hammond third in 9:35:52.
Top 3 Men
- Bevan Docherty (NZL) 8:15:35
- Marko Albert (EST) 8:25:30
- Cameron Brown (NZL) 8:34:28
Top 3 Women
- Meredith Kessler (USA) 9:17:10
- Gina Crawford (NZL) 9:20:54
- Candice Hammon (NZL) 9:35:52
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