With a stunning marathon Bart Aernouts (8:20:30) finished 8th at the World Championship Ironman in Kona. Also David McNamee (8:28:05) had a cracking running split to cross the finishline in 13th. A minute behind McNamee, Ronnie Schildknecht (8:29:11) took 15th place. A great team performance by the BMC-Etix p/b Uplace Team. Jan Frodeno (GER; 8:06:30) took his second victory in a row. Sebastien Kienle (GER; 8:10:02) and Patrick Lange (GER; 8:11:14) completed the German podium.
Fantastic 8th place finish for Bart Aernouts
After the swim Aernouts exited the water in 47th place 6’ behind the leading group. He jumped on his bike to start his chase through the field. At the 70k mark he managed to bring the deficit back to 40” to the tail of the leading group. Unfortunally Bart couldn’t close the gap entirely. The Belgian athlete lost time on the leading group during the second half of the bike and entered T2 in 21th place, 5’ behind the top 10. But the BMC Etixx-athlete immediately found his running legs and started reducing the gap. With less than 15k to go Bart entered the top 10. After a stellar marathon time of 2h48min (3rd fastest running split) Bart crossed the finish line in 8th place. Equaling his best perfomance so far in Kona.
Aernouts was very satisfied after the race: “I had an average season so far, to then be able to deliver at the World Championship feels fantastic. For the first time in my entire professional career I didn't manage to win a race this season. I wanted to come to Hawaii and put in a excellent performance here. Even more so because I didn't finish here last season. With this 8th place finish I equal my best performance from back in 2013. Then my 8th place was a surprise, now it feels more as a prove of my capabilities.
The bike was unusual this year. I was part of a big group with strong bikers and the first 60K the pace was excruciating. We closed over 4 minutes to the front of the race. From then on I decided to ride my own pace, otherwise I would have paid the price in the second part on the bike. I knew during the marathon a lot would still be possible. At the start of the marathon I stayed calm and started at my own pace. After 25K I got a sligth dip, but at that point most athletes were suffering. But I got through it and I did manage to pass a lot of athletes and run into the top ten. I am very pleased"
David McNamee 13th, Ronnie Schildknecht 15th, Will Clarke 41th
David McNamee and Ronnie Schildknecht both ran to a strong top 15 finish and highlighted the excellent team performance by the BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team powered by Uplace.
David McNamee’s race started perfectly. He entered T1 in 8th place settling in the big leading group. In the first half on the bike David managed to keep his position in the lead group, but towards the turning point in Hawi he had to let the front group go and settled for his own pace. But David ran well and with the 5th fastest run split (2h49min) of the day he secured a strong 13th place. David added: "I hoped for more going into the race but I am happy and proud to get back in the top 15."
Ronnie Schildknecht had a similar feeling but was very pleased he fought his way in the top 15. "It was a very tough day in the office and a hard fought 15th place. Not what I wanted but I am very happy that I pushed through some very tough moments during the race. Kona is always very special. Now legs up and season break."
Will Clarke didn't have the day he wanted: "It was a crazy hard day out there with super strong competitors and I suffered immensely! My level was off today in all aspects including receiving a 5min penalty. It would have been so so easy and nice to pull out and sit down with my wife and relax when I saw her, but the spectators and Clare wouldn't let me and she sent me back out for another 25k of pain! I'm really proud of myself for choosing the difficult option to keep in the spirit of Ironman that most of the 2500 other athletes do and muscle it round to the finish carpet, rather then pull the plug and go home feeling even worse. That's just not the Ironman spirit!"