It was a very exciting men’s race with small differences, but in the end Sam Long just won Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells. That means a double party for the American, who also heard yesterday that he was awarded the Challenge Family World Bonus. The women’s race was won by Paula Findlay; she dominated Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells today.
After the swim Sam Long was immediately nearly two minutes behind when he got out of the water together with Jackson Laundry. They were fifteenth and sixteenth at the time but that would not last very long. On the bike, the two worked well together and Long did what he really always does: pushing like crazy and moving up to the front. After only fifteen kilometers, the deficit of Long and Laundry was almost made up and not much later they were leading the race with the two of them. That both Long and Laundry were going fast is proven by the difference with which they came into T2: their lead over the third athlete, Bart Aernouts at the time, was almost four minutes. Aernouts was joined by Lionel Sanders and Justin Riele.
Long and Laundry ran together during the beginning of the half marathon, but after five kilometers Long grabbed a minimal lead, which very slowly grew ever so slightly. Even at the finish his lead was still not large, but big enough for victory. Long won the race in 3:43:34 and Laundry followed 48 seconds later in second. At 1:33 minute from the winner, Aernouts took the bronze. That was a close call, since Sanders followed as fourth, only 9 seconds behind Aernouts.
The women’s race was dominated by Paula Findlay, although she struggled in the closing stages and the race did become exciting. Findlay started the day well, coming out of the water first along with Jeanni Metzler. On the bike, however, she immediately left Metzler behind and went on her own adventure. With success, because when Findlay came into T2, she had a 5:46 minute lead over her first pursuer, Danielle Lewis, and 6:48 minutes over the woman behind her, Tamara Jewett.
What looked like it was going to be an easy half marathon for Findlay, turned out totally different. Both chasers quickly made up time on Findlay, with Jewett running to second place and having the highest running pace. With seven kilometers to go, Findlay’s lead was down to two minutes. It ultimately proved to be just enough for the win, which Findlay claimed after 4:06:10. Jewett finished second just 46 seconds later. Lewis eventually lost time again and finished third at 5:18 minutes.