Top athletes look back at Ironman 70.3 St. George

(Photo: Talbot Cox)

Triathlon fans enjoyed some hard racing at Ironman 70.3 St. George this weekend. That was especially true in the men’s race where there was an exciting battle between four pro athletes. Canada’s Lionel Sanders and America’s Sam Long eventually took off for a sprint finish, with Sanders running to gold. In the women’s race it was Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf who claimed the win after pulling away from her competitors on the bike. We have a look at the race through the eyes of some elite participants and go through the highs and lows of Ironman 70.3 St. George:

Magnus Ditlev – third place

For a long time during the race it seemed like rising star Magnus Ditlev would take home the title, but in the final kilometers he had to let the more experienced Sanders go. On the bike the Danish athlete made a big move, staying in the lead for a vast part of the 90 km. On the run he remained in the front for a long time, too. And, even when the big-name chasers caught him, he hung in there. “This is probably the most epic thing I’ve ever experienced! Third place yesterday at Ironman 70.3 St. George North American Championship and what a battle out there on a tough and honest course. Stuck to the game plan all way through and executed to the absolute best of my ability on all three disciplines. Super stoked and honored to share the podium with Lionel Sanders and Sam Long. Thanks for the battle guys!”

Text continues below picture

Sam Long – second place

America’s Sam Long was capable of doing what only very few athletes can: giving Lionel Sanders a hard time on the run. He may not have taken the win, but given his emotional reaction right after the finish, it’s clear that Long is satisfied with his performance. However, he also picked up some lessons. “It was all aboard the ‘Sam Train’ up Snow Canyon yesterday,” he writes under a photo of himself in the lead during the bike leg. “I suppose I should be a ‘pack rat’ a bit more…but then I’d risk getting a penalty. Besides as Sebi (Sebastian Kienle) always says: if it’s hurting me, it’s killing them.” But Long wasn’t the only one doing the hard work: “Although, I was very impressed with George Goodwin, Lionel Sanders and Andreas Dreitz splitting the work…and of course Magnus Ditlev up front. I think a 20-meter draft zone or some other type of rule change is needed,” he adds.

Text continues below picture
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sam Long (@samgolong)

Daniela Ryf – winner

A few days ago Daniela Ryf announced she had split with her long-time coach Brett Sutton and will now coach herself. This weekend she showed that she’s quite capable of coaching herself by taking home a big win: “What a day! Super happy with my performance at Ironman 70.3 St. George. A beautiful sunrise, stunning bike course and brutal run course, facing top contenders on a future world championship course. Couldn’t have asked for more.”

Text continues below picture
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Daniela Ryf (@danielaryf)

Jeanni Metzler – second place

“My smile says it all!” South-Africa’s Jeanni Metzler wrote on Instagram after she managed to create some excitement in the women’s race by getting to within 3:30 of Daniela Ryf. Since Metzler ran quite a lot faster than Ryf in the first part of the half-marathon, it looked as if she would catch the Swiss just before the finish line. Eventually Metzler’s pace dropped and Ryf ran off. “Thrilled to lay it all out there today and fight for second place behind the champ, Daniela Ryf. I am proud of my performance in a world-class field here at Ironman 70.3 St. George. Also, I learned a lot and can’t wait to be back here for the World Championship later in September.”

Text continues below picture

Holly Lawrence – sixth place

“Not my day today.” During the swim America’s Holly Lawrence – who set the previous course record at Ironman 70.3 St George in 2019 – fell behind and even though she tried her best on the bike, she was not able to fight her way back to the front of the race. “I knew it’d be a tough day on this course and such a stellar field, congrats to all the girls out there today;  especially Daniela Ryf who put on a class show. I had what I think was an asthma attack in the swim and probably panicked and made it worse – that was for sure an unexpected start and made for a terrible swim coming out onto the bike much further back than I normally would. I had an average bike and run (got myself into 4th then died in the last couple miles) finishing in sixth place. Thanks for all the cheers, I’ll be back in September St. George!”