Sarah Crowley and Eric Lagerstrom break the tape at IM 70.3 Santa Cruz

(Archive photo: Instagram Sarah Crowley, PTO)

He led the men out of the water and across the finish line: America’s Erik Lagerstrom was on a roll at Ironman 70.3 Santa Cruz. Canada’s Matthew Sharpe (+0:46) and America’s Dylan Gillespie (+1:26) took second and third. In the women’s race, it was Australia’s Sarah Crowley who claimed the victory. Crowley shared the podium with America’s Mirinda Carfrae (+4:46) and America’s Sonja Catano (+5:28), who took second and third respectively.

Already after the swim, Lagerstrom was in the lead. The only person that managed to stay with him was Sharpe, who was right in his feet. The next group – with O’Donnell – exited the water at 40 seconds. Former pro cyclist Ruben Zepuntke (GER) was 10th out of the water (+1:39). Once in the saddle, Zepuntke soon moved up. In the end, Zepuntke was first to rack his bike back in T2, enjoying a buffer to Lagerstrom of nearly two minutes.

While Zepuntke may have been the strongest cyclist of the day, Lagerstrom was a far stronger runner. Within 5 km, Lagerstrom closed the gap and took over the lead. From behind, O’Donnell and Sharpe moved to second and third, while Lagerstrom continued to win the event.

In the water, Crowley had to deal with three women in front of her. It was Brazil’s Pamella Oliveira who was first out of the water. Approximately half a minute later, America’s Rachel Olson and America’s Hannah Sakaluk followed in second and third place. Crowley was 1:42 minute behind the race leader at this point. About halfway through the bike part, Crowley took over the leading position, but Oliveira managed to stay with her.

On the run, it was done for Oliveira, as Crowley took off strong. Meanwhile, Carfrae and Catano started to move up to try to earn a podium spot. Nobody was getting in between Crowley and the victory, though. Crowley won the race in 4:12:14 hours, well ahead of Carfrae and Oliveira.