It was also a great day for British long course racing, with David McNamee and Lucy Charles (in her first professional Ironman outing) both taking third place. McNamee once again displayed his strong running credentials by chasing down Olympian Ivan Rana, putting in an impressive 2:51 marathon split. Charles as expected was far in front of her competition on the swim, recording a 47:11 split and emerging with only three of the pro men in front of her.
Charles was unable to fend off strong cyclist Bracht, who came onto the marathon course in pole position. Alexandra Tondeur (BEL) recorded a 3:10 marathon time to run past Charles and finish second, only 2mins from Bracht and agonisingly close to running her down for the victory.
It looked to be business as usual in the men’s race for Jan Frodeno, who was first out of the water; however an issue with his helmet visor cost the Ironman world champion 3mins in transition, allowing his competition some advantage going onto the bike course.
The German made up for lost time by also putting in the second fastest bike split of the day (4:58:33) and it appeared to be set up for another Frodeno victory. With Thomas minutes behind, the gap closed and the the second half of the marathon saw him pull away from Frodeno to pull off a shock victory. Frodeno’s marathon split of 2:50:03 was more than 3mins slower than Thomas’ 2:46:56.
Commenting after the race, Thomas said: “It’s an amazing feeling to win here today, I’m dedicating it to my wife and son for putting up with me during the last six months of preparation!”
Frodeno commented: “Obviously coming second is never going to make me happy but coming back off an injury it feels good to cross the line injury-free. And I’ve now booked my place for Kona so I can’t complain.”
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Temperatures were high throughout most of the day, however the notorious wind over the Lanzarote lava fields was calmer than in some previous years. Almost 1,900 triathletes crossed the finish line of the race’s 25th edition.