Sam Long may be undergoing a period of many changes – he recently said goodbye to his coach and on top of that he is becoming a father – but the American pro athlete seems to be feeling on top of his game: he has just won Ironman 70.3 Boulder, making it good for his third victory in a short period of time. In the women’s race, the win went to Taylor Knibb, who led from start to finish and proved supreme.
Less than a month ago, Sam Long won Ironman 70.3 St. George and Ironman 70.3 Gulf Coast within a span of less than a week and now he adds Ironman 70.3 Boulder. It’s not even a surprise anymore that Long had a lot of positions and time to make up after the swim – he came out of the water in eighteenth place and was 2:19 minutes behind fastest swimmer Braxton Bokos at the time – and that he managed to do so very quickly on the bike. In his chase for the leader, no one could catch up with him – including big names like Lionel Sanders, Chris Leiferman and Sam Appleton – and so Long was already entering T2 with a comfortable lead of almost four minutes over Leiferman, Sanders and also Matthew Sharpe.
During the run, Long’s lead was no longer in danger anywhere, and only the battle for silver and bronze was exciting. Sanders, Sharpe and Leiferman stayed together almost to the end, until Sharpe had to let go in the final kilometers. Sanders and Leiferman in turn had to sprint for second place; something Sanders did the best. Long won the race in 3:33:23, Sanders was second in 3:38:13 and Leiferman third in 3:38:14.
There was even less excitement in the women’s race than in the men’s. That was thanks to Taylor Knibb, who was so strong that she effectively gave no one a chance to give her a hard time. During the swim, Knibb did have some support from Lauren Brandon, but on the bike that was over immediately and Knibb went on her own adventure. That went so well, that once back in T2, Knibb’s lead had already increased to nearly seven minutes over Holly Lawrence and nearly 10 minutes over Brandon.
Not surprisingly, Knibb then did not relinquish the victory. She won the race in 3:56:34. Lawrence finished second in 4:04:39 and Jeanni Metzler, who experience a great run, third in 4:05:26.
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