Top favorites Pieter Heemeryck and Lucy Buckingham win first edition Ironman Knokke-Heist

Pieter Galant wins Ironman Knokke-Heist (Picture: justin galant / insta heemeryck)

They were favourites beforehand and they lived up to their role as favorites: at the first edition of Ironman Knokke-Heist, Pieter Heemeryck and Lucy Buckingham won. For the Belgian Heemeryck this meant a victory in his own country and Buckingham dominated the race from start to finish.

So the women’s race, with a superb starting field and thus great competition, was won by Britain’s Lucy Buckingham. She finished after 4:13:57 and showed throughout the day that she was of a different level. Already during the swim the British top athlete took the lead in the race, during the bike ride her lead only increased and during the run she had enough of a gap to secure her victory. It still got exciting, though, because in the closing stages her compatriot Lizzy Rayner came even closer, eventually finishing in 4:14:06, only nine seconds short. Frenchwoman Emilie Morier finished third in 4:15:31, staying just ahead of Dutchwoman Diede Diederiks, who finished fourth in 4:15:55.

In the men’s race, home favorite Pieter Heemeryck triumphed. After his disappointment at the Ironman World Championships in Nice, where he dropped out last week, he made up for a lot today by crowning an otherwise successful season with a victory at home. Heemeryck definitively decided the race during the run and eventually won in a time of 3:39:45. German Wilhelm Hirsch was second in 3:40:54 and British Harry Palmer was third in 3:43:08.