On Saturday October 12, 2013 the top male and female pros in the world converged on Kona, Hawaii to compete for the title of Ironman Triathlon World Champion.
It's next to impossible to pick the winners in any Ironman Hawaii race simply because of the depth of the field.
Of course there are always favorites, but the Iron Gods sometimes shun the favorites and a long-shot comes out of nowhere and leads the way to the storied finish line in the Hawaiian village of Kona.
In 2013 there were several top pros being touted as favorites.
Australian star Craig Alexander finished in twelfth place in 2012 while dealing with an injury and was sure to be inspired to claim the top spot on the podium as his pro career winds down.
Fellow Australian Peter Jacobs was attempting to defend his title and Alexander was not the only threat to take it away. Andrew Starykowicz is also in the mix as he has biked one of the fastest every Ironman bike splits. Eneko Llanos of Spain and Sebastian Kienle of Germany also went into the race with plenty of backing.
The swim did not feature any breakaways by individuals among the pro men and a large group entered the first transition together.
It didn't take long for Andrew Starykowicz to take the lead and begin to pull away once they got on their bikes and was over two minutes ahead at the 35-mile mark. He has challenged for the lead by Luke Mckenzie late in the bike, but hung on and was the first one off the bike. It was here that the race got interesting as there were some very fast runners within striking distance.
Luke Mckenzie was not done and came back to regain the lead early on in the run.
However it was Frederik Van Lierde of Belgium who was strongest on all on the run course and passed Luke Mckenzie on his way to victory and he is the Ironman Triathlon World Champion for 2013.
In the pro female category, Mirinda Carfrae, Caroline Steffen and at least a dozen others went into the race with the ability to ensure that Leanda Cave did not repeat as champion.
Haley Chura had a slight lead after the swim but was soon overtaken by stronger cyclists. Amanda Stevens led the race at the 30-mile mark but eight others were close behind.
At this point Mary Beth Ellis who figured highly as a favorite to win a few months ago was over four minutes behind after just recovering from a broken collar-bone.
Rachel Joyce, Jodie Swallow, Meredith Kessler, and Michelle Vesterby were the first four into the bike/run transition.
It was Rachel Joyce taking the lead early on in the run, but it was past Ironman Hawaii champion Mirinda Carfrae of Australia who ran her down to take over the lead at the 15-mile mark of the 26.2-mile run.
The race is still in progress and be sure to check out IronStruck.com for a look at who won the race for the pro women as well as the finish times of all the top male and female pro finishers.