Sarah True led for much of the day, but collapsed with 750 meters of the finish line, which opened the door for fellow American Skye Moench to take the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt.
June 30, 2019 | NEWS|
It looked like Sarah True was on her way to moving one step up on the podium from her debut runner-up finish at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt last year, but the American Olympian collapsed just 750 m from the finish line, which opened the door for her countrywoman Skye Moench to take the win.
True led the way out of the water, but was only a few seconds ahead of Ironman rookies New Zealand's Amelia Rose Watkinson and Switzerland's Imogen Simmonds, with Moench, Germany's Daniela Bleymehl around five minutes back and Canadian Jen Annett, traditionally a fearful cyclist, almost seven minutes down starting the bike.
True would lose time to a bunch of the women, in part because of a mechanical issue on the bike - through the halfway point of the ride she was almost seven minutes down, but would ride herself back to the front, finishing the 185 km bike just a second behind Moench, with Simmonds a few seconds behind and Bleymehl also in striking distance 26 seconds behind starting the run.
True immediately moved to the front and at the end of the first lap led Moench by almost two minutes, with Simmonds another 23 seconds behind. By this point Bleymehl had dropped out as the temperatures skyrocketed - reports were that the temperatures were 38 degrees C and one thermometer we saw at the finish line registered 42 degrees in the sun.
By 20 km into the run True's lead was up to over four minutes on Moench, with Simmonds at 6:10 behind and Watkinson and Annett around 19 minutes out of the lead.
Into the last lap True's lead was up to seven minutes, but the American was struggling in the heat (as you can hear in the interview above) and started to weave across the road. Heading into the last kilometer of the marathon True was really starting to struggle and she would eventually collapse and be taken off the course.
Moench maintained her steady paced into the line to take the title, with Simmonds hanging tough to nail second and the other Kona spot. That put Annett in third - a podium finish, but not enough to get the Kona slot she was hoping for.
This was Moench's second appearance in Frankfurt after a seventh-place finish a year ago.
"I expected more from myself than last year," Moench said after the race, explaining that she was going to be happy with a runner-up finish. "I was running in second all day – I was pretty happy with the day and that would have got me a Kona slot. Then the lead biker came back and said 'You’re running in first now – Sarah didn’t finish the race.' You don’t want to win a race like that …"
Moench said that she didn't really notice the extreme heat until the end of the bike ride. During the run she "took full advantage of everything they had to offer," to ensure she stayed hydrated and as cool as possible.
Ironman European Championship | Men
June 30, 2019 | Frankfurt, Germany
3.8 km Swim
185 km Bike
42.2 km Run