Denmark’s Rasmus Henning won the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon on Saturday with a last-gasp effort to overtake Team Abu Dhabi’s Faris Al-Sultan.
Henning’s time of 6:21:44 was a full 18 minutes faster than the previous course record held by Eneko Llanos, who came home in third, 31secs down on Al-Sultan.
The strength of the field and the cooler than usual conditions all played a part in a race where all top 10 of the men’s elite field and the top five women all broke the previous course records.
“It feels awesome,” said Henning post-race. “I needed this confidence boost because I’d been starting to doubt whether I’d ever come back on top – it’s been such a long time. This is really important to me and I’m looking towards the rest of the season.”
In the women’s race, GB’s Jodie Swallow led the field out of the swim in 58:53 with a nearly two-minute lead over the rest of the field. But on the bike she was joined at the head of the field by Butterfield, Canada’s Angela Neath and Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen with Melissa Rollison just behind, but in contention.
Butterfield led into T2 with a 1:43 lead over Neath, and she held on to the gap to take victory in 7:00:22.
“Honestly, I came here to try and win this race but when it comes to the day you never know what might happen,” said Butterfield, reflecting on the race. “This year boasted such a strong women’s line-up but I knew if I had a good day out on the course it meant I was in for a great chance.
At the end of the day you want to get the best out of yourself and I’m glad I pushed myself today and won it. I’m so motivated by winning this race because when I came down here that was what I had planned for exactly.”
3km swim/200km bike/20km run
1 Rasmus Henning, DEN 6:21:44
2 Faris Al-Sultan, UAE 6:22:11
3 Eneko Llanos, ESP 6:22:42
4 Andreas Boecherer, GER 6:24:38
5 Frederick Van Lierde, BEL 6:25:12
1 Nikkie Butterfield, AUS 7:00:22
2 Angela Neath, CAN 7:03:00
3 Caroline Steffen, SUI 7:04:29
4 Melissa Rollison, AUS 7:05:00
5 Rachel Joyce, GBR 7:06:25