Vanhoenacker and Joyce marvelous in Mont-Tremblant

Marino Vanhoenacker takes his 16th Ironman, Rachel Joyce nails her Kona slot at Ironman Mont-Tremblant

| August 20, 2017 | NEWS

Marino Vanhoenacker takes his 16th Ironman title.

Marino Vanhoenacker takes his 16th Ironman title.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

He was the prohibitive men’s favorite, but just because everyone expects you to win doesn’t make it a foregone conclusion. Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) was the second man out of the water (behind Canadian full-distance-rookie Antoine Desroches) but that was the only time he wasn’t in complete control of the sixth running of Ironman Mont-Tremblant.

The Belgian ripped through the bike (4:26:56) and enjoyed a lead of almost 12 minutes on Chris MacDonald (AUS) and almost 19 minutes on Desroches. Vanhoenacker opened up even more of a gap on the run, too, despite slowing over the final half marathon (he looked to be on track to break TJ Tollakson’s 8:16 course record through the first half). In the end Vanhoenacker ran a 2:56 marathon and snagged his 16th Ironman win in 8:21:29.

McDonald hung tough for second, running a 3:04 marathon and finishing in 8:41:47, while Jordan Monnink (CAN), competing in his first full-distance race, rounded out the podium with his 8:51:29.

Chris McDonald, Marino Vanhoenacker and Jordan Monnink.

Chris McDonald, Marino Vanhoenacker and Jordan Monnink.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

Joyce continues her comeback in style

It hasn’t even been a year since little Archie was born, but Rachel Joyce has made the most of her impressive recovery and comeback to pro racing, nailing today’s race and a spot on the Ironman World Championship start list. To do that, though, she raced today in her  third Ironman event in 10 weeks after winning Ironman Boulder and finishing fourth at Ironman Canada.

Earlier this week Joyce talked about how disappointed she was with her race in Canada, where she felt like she didn’t perform to her capabilities, and how she was looking forward to the opportunity to get back on a race course. She put the Canada experience to bed today with a solid all-around performance that nailed her second Ironman victory of 2017.

The women’s race started with a bang when American Lauren Brandon ripped through the swim, passing all the men (the pro women left three-minutes after the men) and coming out of the water with a huge 6:45 lead on a group of three that included Joyce, Darbi Roberts (USA) and hometown hero Magali Tisseyre (CAN).

Brandon continued to power through the bike and was over 13-minutes up on Joyce starting the marathon, who came off the bike just ahead of Tisseyre. Another new mom, Kim Schwabenbauer, had the days fastest bike split to mover herself to fourth off the bike, while Jennie Hansen, who hadn’t finished a full-distance race since her terrible crash in 2014 at Ironman Cozumel, had moved into fifth.

Rachel Joyce wins Ironman Mont-Tremblant.

Rachel Joyce wins Ironman Mont-Tremblant.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

Out on the run course it became obvious very quickly that Brandon wouldn’t hold onto her lead until the end of the race – by the end of the first of the two loops on the run her lead was down to 2:30 on Joyce and 3:30 on Tisseyre. Joyce cruised to the front of the race, but behind her things started to get exciting. Schwabenbauer used the days fastest run to move herself to second and both Hansen and Tisseyre moved ahead of Brandon, too.

Reunited with son Archie, who turns 1 in September.

Reunited with son Archie, who turns 1 in September.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

Kim Schwabenbauer is thrilled to finish second.

Kim Schwabenbauer is thrilled to finish second.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

In the end Joyce was simply too solid for the rest of the women, taking the title in 9:19:08 and getting a big hug from son Archie at the line. Schwabenbauer was just over two minutes behind in 9:21:22, enjoying a big hug from one-year-old Emma once she finished. Hansen was thrilled to round out the top three, while Brandon managed to pass a tiring Tisseyre before the line to take fourth, leaving the Canadian in fifth.

Kim Schwabenbauer, Rachel Joyce and Jennie Hansen.

Kim Schwabenbauer, Rachel Joyce and Jennie Hansen.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon