Alistair Brownlee claims last-minute Kona slot with win Ironman Kalmar

Alistair Brownlee takes second at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in 2019. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

He was in charge the entire race and eventually claimed a big victory. After a year full of setbacks, Alistair Brownlee hit back with a big win at Ironman Kalmar. That saw Brownlee take home one of final Kona-slots. After 7:38:48 hours, Brownlee got to break the tape. Silver went home with Belgium’s Pieter Heemeryck, who shows to be getting back in shape and to have figured out this Long Distance thing. With Germany’s Franz Loeschke the podium was complete.

Brownlee was right in the mix ever since the start, because in the feet of Denmark’s Scott Steenberg, Brownlee was second to get back on land. After the swim, a group of seven athletes – among them also Heemeryck and Svensson – reached their bikes within 25 seconds. Initially a lead group of these four men, and Britain’s Thomas Davis, took shape.

100K into the bike part, Davis was first to drop off this group, which left four athletes in front. The distance towards the rest of the field had increased to four minutes. In the second part of the bike leg, Steenberg had to let go too. That means only Brownlee, Heemeryck and Svensson were now left. These three were giving each other a hard time in the final kilometers.

Svensson managed to create a little buffer for himself when T2 came into sight. The Swedish athlete was about half a minute ahead of Heemeryck, who was second off the bike. Brownlee racked his bike right after him in third place.

It took Brownlee eight kilometers to pass both Heemeryck and Svensson and to take over the lead role. Once he did, the gap quickly widened. With 11 km of running in the legs, the British athletes was already three minutes away from his first chaser: Heemeryck. Given the incredible pace that Brownlee ran – 3:49 minutes per km on average – nobody could keep up with him. Heemeryck might have been pulling off a strong run in second place, there was nothing to do about Brownlee anymore.

Brownlee eventually got to run across the line in first place, celebrating his victory. Heemeryck ended up taking second, 7:51 minutes later, while Loeschke had moved up to bronze thanks to a great run (+10:30).