On Saturday May 3, 2014 an exceptionally strong field of pro triathletes took part in Ironman 70.3 St. George, Utah as the race was billed as the U.S. Pro Championships for the 70.3 distance.
Picking the top finishers in the pro men division was pretty much an impossible task as there were probably a dozen who were quite capable of winning on their best effort.
Marino Vanhoenacker, Jan Frodeno, TJ Tollakson, Andy Potts, Andrew Yoder, and Bevan Docherty were just a few of the male pros who one might expect would be near the front of the pack at some point in the race.
As far as the pro women the field was every bit as strong.
Mary Beth Ellis figured to be the one to catch but Jodie Swallow, Heather Wurtele, Julie Dibens, and Meridith Kessler were all capable of challenging for the win.
When the first swimmers came out of the water after the 1.2-mile swim it was no surprise to see Andy Potts leading the way by a full minute in the race for top spot among the pro men.
However it was Andrew Yoder who cruised into the lead a third of the way into the 66-mile bike course.
Yoder held the lead as the run began, but there were many very fast runners in the field and by the two mile mark Yoder had slipped to seventh place.
Tim Don had the lead at the two mile mark and was followed closely by Joe Gambles and Brent McMahon who were in second and third respectively.
However it was Jan Frodeno who was quickest of all and he went on to win Ironman 70.3 St. George, Utah 2013 with a blistering fast time of 3:45:21.
For the pro women it is normally Jodie Swallow who creates a gap for herself because of her swimming prowess, but in St. George she had plenty of company.
Meredith Kessler actually beat her out of the water by one second and Julie Dibbens and Mary Beth Ellis were right there with the two leaders as well.
The rest of the pro female field found themselves well back of the lead four and had some work to do if they wanted to challenge for the lead.
It was Julie Dibens and Jodie Swallow who started the run course virtually together, but they were followed closely by Meredith Kessler and Mary Beth Ellis.
The pro triathletes raced for Kona Ranking Points as well as an increased prize purse because the race was billed as the U.S. Pro Championship for the 70.3 distance.
Top age-group athletes had the opportunity to win one of 50 qualifying spots to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships that are scheduled to take place in Mont Tremblant, Quebec in the Fall of 2014.
The race was still in progress at press time.
Be sure to drop by Ironstruck.com for a look at how the race for top spot among the pro women unfolded as well as the finish times for the top pro and age-group athletes.