In hot Malaysia, Josh Amberger and Ashleigh Gentle took victory at Ironman 70.3 Langkawi. The couple, who married each other late last year, thus provided a double celebration within the family.
Amberger immediately recorded the fastest swim time, coming out of the water after 23:15 minutes to head for his bike. He was then followed within ten seconds by Kurt McDonald, Mike Phillips and Antony Costes, and then there was more than a minute and a half between them before James Teagle and Matt Kerr, among others, came out of the water. On the bike, Amberger, Phillips and McDonald then stayed together for 90 kiometers, but it was especially surprising when Costes eventually lost more than five minutes and returned fourth in T2. Already at the start of the half marathon it was clear that three men would compete with each other for the medals.
An exciting run then ensued, with the three front runners evenly matched for quite a while. Most notably, actually, Amberger was the first man to leave a gap of about 20 seconds – after about nine kilometers – but not much later he passed both Phillips and McDonald again. In the closing stages, he still saw his lead increase significantly, eventually winning in a time of 3:50:47. Phillips was second at 1:36 minute and McDonald third at 3:46 minute.
Like her husband, Gentle started the race very strong. It may have been France’s Julie Iemmolo who came out of the ocean first after 25:18 minutes, but Gentle followed at only three seconds and saw that Lottie Lucas and Amelia Watkinson were also able to keep up. On the bike, these four women stayed together while the rest of the field was already riding at more than 15 minutes.
During the run it was very briefly Watkinson who took the lead, but not entirely surprisingly it was Gentle who took the lead within two kilometers and did not relinquish it either. Her lead grew steadily to eventually win in a time of 4:10:17. Watkinson was second at 5:47 minutes behind and Lucas third at 10:41 minutes behind.