Sanders sets new standard at Ironman Arizona

Lionel Sanders has set a new Ironman record time, going 7:44:29, breaking Marino Vanhoenacker's previous record time by almost 80 seconds.

| November 21, 2016 | NEWS

Photo >Paul Phillips

After disappointing days at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and Ironman World Championship, Lionel Sanders had talked about skipping Ironman Arizona and focusing on 70.3 events until he could improve his swimming.

Sticking to the original plan turned out to be a good call - Sanders ripped through the course in Tempe, Arizona today in an impressive 7:44:29, breaking the previous Ironman record held by Marino Vanhoenacker (7:45:49) set at Ironman Austria in 2011.

Race details

Coming out of the water with a large deficit isn’t a new experience for Sanders and in Tempe he found himself over eight minutes in arrears and 16th overall before he even reached his bike in transition. But that didn't mean a thing once Sanders put the hammer down on the flat, fast Tempe course. When he dismounted his bike he was in second place and had recorded the second fastest Ironman bike split ever recorded in an Ironman race (4:04:38).

By mile two of the run, Sanders not only eliminated the two and half minute gap to the leader coming off the bike, but managed to grab the lead and build up a one-minute advantage. This was a sign of things to come. From there, Sanders ran at just over 2:40 marathon pace and kept it up for another 24 miles. It wasn’t until late in the race that it was apparent that Sanders was not only going to destroy the course record, he was running dangerously close to eclipsing the fastest ever Ironman race finish time held by Marino Vanhoenacker when he recorded a 7:45:58 at the 2011 Ironman Austria. In the end, Sanders bettered the Ironman record by 1:29, finishing Ironman record breaking time of 7:44:29 for the win.

The men's podium was exactly the same as a year ago, with Brent McMahon (7:50:15) and TJ Tollakson (8:02:30) taking second and third behind Sanders.

Kessler goes wire to wire

In the women’s race it was USA’s Meredith Kessler who dominated the day with her wire-to-wire win. She had over a three-minute lead coming out the water and a similar gap coming off the bike. Yvonne van Vlerken put in a couple of surges through the marathon, but was unsuccessful it getting any closer than two minutes to Kessler.

Kessler took her third straight women's title in Arizona in 8:48:23, followed by van Vlerken (8:51:27) and Malindi Elmore (8:57:22).

Place

Name

Country

Swim

Bike

Run

Total

1

Meredith Kessler

USA

49:31

4:44:24

3:09:40

8:48:23

2

Yvonne van Vlerken

NLD

58:04

4:40:40

3:08:43

8:51:27

3

Malindi Elmore

CAN

1:01:01

4:51:06

3:00:52

8:57:22

4

Ruth Brenna Morrey

USA

1:05:35

4:53:13

2:57:45

9:02:28

5

Leanda Cave

GBR

53:14

4:58:51

3:13:30

9:10:41

Author >Kevin Mackinnon

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Place

Name

Country

Swim

Bike

Run

Total

1

Lionel Sanders

CAN

53:45

4:04:38

2:42:31

7:44:29

2

Brent McMahon

CAN

48:21

4:18:20

2:40:17

7:50:15

3

TJ Tollakson

USA

49:40

4:11:59

2:56:43

8:02:30

4

David Plese

SLO

53:57

4:20:46

2:45:17

8:04:29

5

Giulio Molinari

ITA

49:35

4:15:07

2:58:25

8:06:47

Author >Kevin Mackinnon

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