With the news coming out recently indicating that this year would be the final edition of Ironman Mont-Tremblant – the focus is going entirely to the 70.3 – the pressure to win was perhaps bigger than ever. American Rachel Zilinskan got the job done today, after a race in which several women alternated several times at the front of the race.
It was Zilinskas herself who came out of the water first after 51:00 minutes; she then had a 1:51 minute lead over her compatriots Meredith Kessler and Sarah Crowley, while France’s Manon Genet came out of the water in fourth place at nearly four minutes.
Even though Zilinskas saw her lead increase a little bit in the first kilometers on the bike, it was Crowley who took over the lead moments later: halfway through – so after 90km on the bike – Crowley was riding with a 2:30 minute lead over Kessler and Zilinskas, but that was immediately the moment the race began to tilt once again. With about forty kilometers to go on the bike, Kessler and Zilinskas passed Crowley again and in the meantime American Dede Griesbauer had also joined in.
Yet even this situation did not last; in the last thirty kilometers, first Zilinskas went off on her own, but eventually it was Griesbauer who caught her back and arrived first in T2. Kessler then followed in second at 37 seconds and Zilinskas had dropped back to a deficit of almost two minutes. Crowley returned fourth and was 2:45 minutes behind the leader.
During the run, Kessler quickly passed Griesbauer and for a long time it looked like she would win the race. However, halfway through the run Zilinskas began to rapidly make up time from her two-minute deficit and after 25 kilometers she had even turned that deficit into a lead of almost a minute and a half. From then on, Zilinskas ran with an ever-increasing lead to take the day’s victory at Ironman Mont-Tremblant.
Zilinskas won the race in 9:12:06. Kessler finished second in 9:20:52 and Genet, who caught up with some women during the marathon, finished third in 9:23:59.