In closely fought races today, Tyler Smith and Erica Hawley produced solid enough results over the sprint distance world cup of 750 meter swim, 20km bike and 5km run.
In both the male and female events there was little to separate two large groups of athletes coming into T2 and in the end it came down to who had the fastest run.
Erica was well placed after a 9 min 49 secs swim that saw her enter T1 with a large group of athletes. She then matched the pace of the large leading pack to enter T2. Erica’s run time of 18 min 33 secs was respectable but the top 27 competitors all went under 18 mins.
Erica’s finishing time of 1hr 00 mins 24 secs left her just 1 minute off a top ten finish as in this shorter racing there are fine margins between competitors. Overall though the University of Boulder student can take confidence from this race.
Meanwhile Tyler Smith’s race followed a similar pattern, as he too emerged from the water with a large group in a time of 9 mins 09 secs and then rode the 20km in 27 min 22 mins to enter T2 with a large group just 20 secs short of the leading group. Once again the run proved decisive as the winner, David Castro of Spain, ran 14min 31 secs with Tyler clocking 15 min 44 secs to finish in exactly 54 mins overall. Tyler was just over 1 min out of a top 10 finish.
With so many athletes seemingly evenly matched now on the swim and bike, run times are proving crucial and it will take run times of around 17 min 30 secs ( Erica) and 15 mins flat (Tyler) if they are to be in contention for top ten finishing at this level of competition.
For most triathletes at the Ironman World Championships a top 10 finish in your age group is quite an accomplishment, but for Karen Smith, who has won her age group and finished 3rd ( as well as other top ten finishes) at these championships, anything less than a podium this year was always going to be below her expectations.
Going into the race Karen looked lean and well prepared and had a quiet confidence and a podium place looked well in her grasp.
Karen produced her fastest swim in these championships with a 1 hr 5 min 56 sec clocking for the 4km . She then kept pace with the leading group of cyclists in her 50-54 age group to finish the bike in again her fastest time in this event, 5 hrs 18 mins 56 secs, and in 3rd place. Feeling strong going into the run she was confident of at least a top 3 finish but she could not have anticipated the stomach troubles that beset her after the first few kilometers of the run which got progressively worse and in the end left her unable to hold down nutrition and forced her to walk. Karen’s final run time of 4 hrs 29 mins 12 secs was well below her expected time of between 3 hrs 30 mins to 3 hrs 40 mins which would have given her 2nd or 3rd place on the day. Her finishing time of 11 01 43 was good enough for 7th place out of 69 competitors in her age group but left Karen wondering what might have been.
I wouldn’t surprised if Karen is at the starting line next year.
Last Saturday 13th October I was privileged to once again be in Kona for one of the most iconic sporting events of the year, the Ironman World Championships, to support Karen Smith and Tyler Butterfield.
Leading up to these championships Tyler had produced some solid results which must have given him confidence going into this year’s event. Tyler exited the 4km swim in 50 mins 27 secs and was well positioned on the bike with a group of strong cyclists towards the front of the race.
Holding the pace with the group of athletes around you is critical in this event but there is a fine line between riding in a group and being penalised for drafting. Often marshalls will pick riders from a group fairly randomly when others in the group are also drafting. In the end Tyler was oe of three in his group that got penalised 5 minutes and crotically that penalty has to be served out on the bike course which meant that Tyler lost touch with the group. That meant that realistically his chances of a top 10 finish were gone and despite a very respectable ride of 4 hrs 31 mins 27 secs bike time it did not match the times between 4 hr 16 and 4 hr 20 of the group.
Tyler looked very relaxed on the run ( chatting with spectators and other competitors) and (although he might dispute this) looked like had he been in the mix for a top ten finish of the bike that he could have produced an even faster run than the 3hrs 3 mins 58 secs. In the end his time of 8 hrs 30 mins 38 secs ( 29th male professional) left me wondering what might have been had he not incurred that bike penalty.
I hope that Tyler feels that he has some unfinished business in Kona.
Rough seas and rip currents meant that on day two of the Carifta Games all but the 16-19 aquathlon ( swim / run) age group events had to be reduced to a run only. This decision affected a number of the Bermuda team which contained some strong swimmers who might well have medalled had the swim gone ahead. However the team did not disappoint.
Leading the way again was Jasmin Hasselkus with the already very highly rated youngster taking her second gold medal of these championships in the girls 11-12 age category. Having posted the fastest run in winning yesterday’s 11-12 girls triathlon, Jasmin started the run as a clear favorite and she held off the competition in a tight finish to win the 1.25km in 4 min 42 seconds just two seconds ahead of Annh Noyon of Guadaloupe. Bermuda’s Daria Desmond became Bermuda’s second medallist of the day as she finished a further second back to take the bronze medal.
The cancellation of the swim was very disappointing for Taylor White and Myeisha Sharrieff who had trained hard just for for the aquathlon, but they shook off the disappointment and threw themselves into it.
Tommy Marshall profited from the run only format to narrowly miss out in the boys 13-15 run over 3.75km finishing 4th.
Bermuda came an impressive second in the overall team category with 43 points, after a very strong Guadalupe team with 100 points, with Trinidad and Tobago 3rd with 23 points. Considering the Bermuda team had no participants in the 16-19 triathlon and no males in the 16-19 aquathlon, it was a very strong performance and bodes very well for the future. There were 12 countries competing.
5th – Taylor White
6th Zoe Hasselkuss
10th – Liana Medeiros
12th – Myeisha Sharrieff
15th – Amber Simons
4th – Tommy Marshall
6th – Nick Pilgrim
9th – Caleb Ingham
16th – Brian Desmond
18th – Nico Davis
Bermuda came second in the overall team category with 43 points, after a very strong Guadalupe team with 100 points, with Trinidad and Tobago 3rd with 23 points. Considering the Bermuda team had no participants in the 16-19 triathlon and no males in the 16-19 aquathlon, it was a very strong performance and bodes very well for the future. There were 12 countries competing.