Kiwi Kris Gemmell had a dream debut at the Ironman 70.3 distance, winning the event in a sharp time of 3.50.56 ahead of strong competition, including South African and Team TBB member James Cunnama and Aussie 'fish' Pete Jacobs.
Gemmell led out of the water, which is not surprising given the speed needed to be competitive in ITU racing. The big question was whether he had the strength on the bike of his competitors. His 2:05:06 bike split that kept him in the top 3 heading into transition would suggest he certainly did!
On the run Gemmell pulled back the lead at the 10k mark, and ran a solid 1:13:40 for the half marathon to take the win just over a minute clear to Cunnama, with Pete Jacobs taking 3rd.
Just one week earlier Gemmell took out the OTU Oceania Championships in Wellington. For Gemmell, it was not just the change in distance he had to adjust to – “and no relaxing waiting for a start time in the afternoon as with my ITU races – we were up before the sun!”
In the womens race it was Mary Beth Ellis of the US that took the win after running compatriot Amy Marsh down. Michelle Wu from Australia over came a very slow swim to take third place. 70.3 World Champion Jodie Swallow had been in the lead on the bike but made a planned withdrawal before the run due to a bone bruise on her heel.
Ironman 70.3 Singapore
1. Kris Gemmell (NZL) 3:50:56
2. James Cunnama (RSA) 3:51:45
3. Pete Jacobs (AUS) 3:54:25
4. Patrick Vernay (NCL) 3:55:50
5. Faris Al-Sultan (GER) 3:56:13
6. Hideo Fukui (JPN) 3:56:32
7. Christian Kemp (AUS) 3:57:00
8. Scott Nyedli (GBR) 3:58:25
9. David Dellow (AUS) 4:00:08
10. Balazs Csoke (HUN) 4:02:38
1. Mary Beth Ellis (USA) 4:21:06
2. Amy Marsh (USA) 4:22:32
3. Michelle Wu (AUS) 4:25:31
4. Maki Nishiuchi (JPN) 4:31:11
5. Rachael Paxton (AUS) 4:36:52
6. Kirsten Molloy (AUS) 4:37:48
7. Rachael Smith (4:41:17) 4:41:17
8. Emma Ruth Smith (GBR) 4:43:56