For Joe Skipper, it didn’t matter that Ironman Lake Placid was the last race where qualifying slots for the World Championships Ironman in Nice were up for grabs – the Brit had already qualified – but it didn’t stop him from racing to the max as well as taking the win at the strongly-contested race.
During the swim, the main focus was on Josh Amberger; the Australian world-class athlete went very fast, coming out of the water after 49:44 minutes and then had a lead of nearly two minutes over a first chasing group. Skipper, however, was much further back; he may have been ninth after the swim, but he was more than four minutes behind. He was surrounded at that point by Matt Hanson, Adam Feigh, Simon Bernier Lalonde and Hunter Lussi.
While Amberger was quickly overtaken on the bike by men like Lukas Schnodewind, Ben Hoffman and Cody Beals, it was certainly Skipper who had started to catch up and was riding pretty fast to the front. After just over fifty kilometers on the bike, his gap was already reduced to a minute and not much later Skipper took over the lead in the race. Initially, several men were able to follow the new leader, but after a hundred kilometers only Amberger stayed with Skipper, so the two went on to lead the race as a duo.
Skipper and Amberger stayed together for a long time on the bike and saw their lead over the rest of the pro field grow bigger and bigger, but in the closing stages of the bike Skipper still made up the difference; he left Amberger behind to return to T2 on his own. When he got there, he had a 1:22 minute lead over Amberger, 2:43 minutes over Hoffman and 6:13 minutes over the number four at the time: Michael Weiss. The always strong running Matt Hanson followed in fifth and was nearly 10 minutes behind Skipper.
During the marathon, Skipper actually stayed steady in the lead for the entire 42 kilometers, even though his lead did not become comfortably large anywhere. The Brit had to keep pushing, despite the tough conditions: it was hot and the humidity was high. Amberger had a harder time with that, as he in turn saw Hoffman and Hanson pass him, thus completing the podium in the end.
Skipper took the victory in 8:03:46. Hoffman finished second in 8:06:06 and Hanson third in 8:09:51.