A little over 2,700 athletes lined up this morning for the 2012 Ironman Texas. The Woodlands race has quickly become one of the most popular events in the series. We saw Eneko Llanos win this race last year and his 8:08 time set the bar high. The course today began with a 2.4 mile swim in Lake Woodlands, a 112 mile bike ride through the rolling east Texas farmland and then a 26.2 mile run inside the Woodlands.
Going into the race, Ironman Canada champ Jordan Rapp was one of the pre-race favorites, along with 70.3 Timberman winner Rasmus Henning. Mathias Hecht, winner at the IM St. George last year, was another strong podium contender.
The swim saw a five man lead group exit the water. Brandon Marsh and Joe Umphenour both registered 48:48 splits. Ironman Korea champ Balazs Csoke had a 48:50 and Hecht registered a 48:54. Henning rounded out the top five with a 48:55 split.
At the end of the 112 mile bike ride, Hecht had the lead, setting a bike course record of 4:18:17. ITU Long Distance champ Rapp was the second man into T2, posting a 4:25:43. Two-time Olympian Henning was a close third with a 4:30:55 bike split. Jozsef Major and Marsh rounded out the top five with splits of 4:24:54 and 4:35:39 respectively.
Around mile 14, Rapp took over the lead and he retained it from there. Jordan Rapp won the 2012 Ironman Texas with an overall time of 8:10:44. His run split was 2:46:55. Justin Daerr ran a 2:48:33 to take second with an overall time of 8:22:15. Hecht ran a 3:11:29 to hold onto a podium spot with an overall time of 8:22:58.
Men’s top 5:
1) Jordan Rapp (Thousand Oaks, California) – 8:10:44
2) Justin Daerr (Boulder, Colorado) – 8:22:15
3) Mathias Hecht (Switzerland) – 8:22:58
4) Jozsef Major (Scottsdale, Arizona) – 8:27:19
5) Brandon Marsh (Austin, Texas) – 8:30:18
A talented women’s field made their way to Texas. Ironman Canada champ Mary Beth Ellis had a great season in 2011 and already has notched a win at the 70.3 Singapore this year. IM Brazil champ Amy Marsh and 70.3 Florida winner Caitlin Snow were both strong favorites for the podium.
Ellis swam a 53:32 to have a slim lead heading into T1. Marsh and Tami Ritchie both registered a 53:33. Brazilian Sandra Soldan was close behind with a 53:37. It took nearly two more minutes to see Snow round out the top five with her 55:32 split.
Throughout the bike ride, it was Ellis and Marsh essentially together. Marsh posted a 4:45:51 to finish the stage in first. IM Regensburg champ Ellis rode a 4:45:52 and was the second into T2, two seconds behind Marsh. 70.3 Cancun champ Christie Sym was in third after a 4:58:48 bike ride. A 5:08:54 put Caitlin Snow in fourth and Charisa Wernick rode a 5:07:33 to round out the top five.
It didn’t take Ellis long to establish a lead once the run began and once she did, the lead grew. Mary Beth Ellis won the women’s title with an overall time of 8:54:58. Her run split was 3:11:09. Caitlin Snow blazed through a 2:51:46 run to take second with an overall time of 9:01:32. Marsh ran a 3:20:13 to hold on to third place with an overall time of 9:04:00.
Women’s top 5:
1) Mary Beth Ellis (Superior, Colorado) – 8:54:58
2) Caitlin Snow (Brockton, Mass.) – 9:01:32
3) Amy Marsh (Austin, Texas) – 9:04:00
4) Corinne Abraham (Great Britain) – 9:18:39
5) Charisa Wernick (Carlsbad, California) – 9:27:43