This race Frederik Van Lierde didn’t just win this race for the third time. He also broke his own course record from last year (8:21:51) with a finish time of 08:08:59.
Mary Beth Ellis led the race from the very beginning and brought it to the finish. She also set a new race record and broke Tine Decker’s from 2012 (09:16:05) in 09:12:54.
The ninth edition of Ironman France (its precursor, the Nice Long-Course Triathlon, started in the early 80s) started under perfect conditions. 2,571 athletes started their 226km along the Côte d’Azur and up to the hinterland of Nice at 6.30am Sunday morning. The pros went into the race 5mins ahead of the rest of the field.
The swim was completed in two loops in the Mediterranean Sea. First out of the water was Clemente Alsonso-Mckernan (ESP) but in T1 he was overtaken by Frederik Van Lierde (BEL). Out on the hilly and technical bike course with an altitude difference of 1,800m, Van Lierde kept his speed. For the first 30km it was still Alonso who was behind him but then Bart Aernouts (BEL) fought his way to the second position and didn’t give it away anymore.
On the top of the mountains the weather got chilly and foggy whilst rain made its way to the Promenade des Anglais. But the Tour de France tourists and Ironman fans were along the course and pushed the athletes up to the mountain tops. Aernouts and Alonso lost some time and a gap of about 10mins between the first one and the first followers appeared.
On the women’s side it was mostly the same. Mary Beth Ellis (USA) was the first who made her way out of the water and onto the 180km of the bike. First it was Lucie Reed (CZE) who followed her and then the group of Jeanne Collonge (FRA), Delphine Pelletier (FRA) and the age-grouper Catherine Faux (GBR) changed their positions regularly behind Ellis.
Van Lierde made it to T2 in 05:24:20. With a gap of 8:16mins Aernouts followed him on the marathon, the age-grouper Antonio Colom Mas (ESP) and Alonso on third and forth position. On the marathon Aernouts speeded up and filled the gap – but never reached Van Lierde closer than with a 2mins difference. At the end it was him who could keep Van Lierde’s pace whilst the others fell more and more behind.
The Belgian Van Lierde finished the race in 8:08:59 and was 13mins faster than last year. Second was Bart Aernout – so a double Belgium victory – in a time of 08:12:28.
Mary Beth Ellis ran the marathon on her own as well and it was Faux, Collonge and Pelletier who tried to follow her but the gap of 10 minutes Ellis and the follower group could not be closed. Ellis also set a new race record and finished in 09:12:54. Jeanne Collonge made it in 09:20:51. Third was Delphine Pelletier in 09:22:37 with Catherine Faux – Outlaw winner in 2011, 2nd in her age-group at Kona in 2012 – taking fourth.
Male Top 5:
1 Van Lierde, Frederik (BEL) +00:00 08:08:59
2 Aernouts, Bart (BEL) +03:29 08:12:28
3 Alonso-Mckernan, Clemente (ESP) +26:53 08:35:52
4 Clerbout, Bruno (BEL) +34:18 08:43:17
5 Beyeler, Nicolas (SUI) +41:54 08:50:53 (1st Age grouper)
Female Top 5:
1 Ellis, Mary (USA) 09:12:54
2 Collonge, Jeanne (FRA) 09:20:51
3 Pelletier, Delphine (FRA) 09:22:37
4 Faux, Catherine (GBR) 09:22:51 (1st female age grouper)
5 Ribes, Lisa (USA) 09:36:43