Sebastian Kienle and Corinne Abraham crowned Ironman European Champions in Germany

Corinne Abraham (Bert Stephani)

Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team member Corinne Abraham has come back from injury to take third in Lanzarote and now first in Frankfurt (Photo: Bert Stephani)

Perfect conditions at this year’s Ironman European Championships in Frankfurt meant course records were ripe for the picking and with a strong field to contend the title, the pro race was set to be an exciting battle in both male and female divisions.

2008 Olympic champion Jan Frodeno (GER) began his Ironman debut race by coming first out of the water in 45:39, just ahead of Ironman World Champion Frederik Van Lierde (BEL).

Reigning Ironman 70.3 World Champion Sebastian Kienle (GER) was four minutes in lieu after the swim, but was soon closing the gap with his trademark bike speed.

Frodeno had an unlucky day, puncturing three times during the bike leg, which put him well behind his storming compatriot.

Kienle dropped all his pursuers to set a new bike course record of 4:12:14, beating Andreas Raelert‘s 2010 time by over eight minutes. The German eased onto the run with more than five and a half minutes in the bank over Van Lierde and 17 minutes’ advantage on Frodeno.

Frodeno pushed hard to reduce his deficit to Van Lierde and managed to take four minutes out of the world champ, but there was no catching Kienle, who smashed the run in 2:49:35 – a new PB – to take the win on his birthday in a course record time of 7:55:14. Van Lierde took second five minutes later while Frodeno’s astonishing 2:43:14 run saw him take a hard-earned third in his first Ironman.

In the women’s race, Jodie Swallow (GBR) pushed hard from the start, clocking a 47:22 split that was two minutes quicker than men’s victor Kienle. Mary Beth Ellis (USA) was close behind Swallow and the pair traded turns in the lead on the bike to further distance their challengers, which included Gina Crawford (NZL) and Amy Marsh (USA) at around two minutes down.

Like Kienle, Corinne Abraham (GBR) was well behind the leaders out of the water but bossed the race on the bike. The Brit scythed her way through the field, picking off rivals to move from ninth and seven minutes down to third, just 90 seconds behind Swallow by T2.

Just as on the bike, Abraham proved unstoppable on the marathon, taking the lead just after the halfway point and going on to put serious time into the competition.

Swallow faded while Crawford ran into second with Liz Lyles (USA) smashing through the course to move from 10th to third – 90 seconds behind the Kiwi – with eight kilometres left to run.

With a buffer of four minutes, Abraham had nothing to fear from the podium battle behind. Her 3:04:38 run saw her cross the line as European Champion – and serious Kona contender – in 8:52:40.

Lyles managed to pass Crawford to take second, while the Kiwi held on for third place.

Top 3 Men

1. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 7:55:14
2. Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) 8:00:25
3. Jan Frodeno (GER) 8:07:05

Top 3 Women

1. Corinne Abraham (GBR) 8:52:40
2. Liz Lyles (USA) 8:56:36
3. Gina Crawford (NZL) 8:58:06