Tomas Rodriguez Hernandez beats Mexican best time and wins Ironman Texas

Tomas Rodriguez Hernandez wins Ironman Texas (Picture: Triathlon Today)

He may not have been the most famous triathlete, but from now on many will know him: the Mexican Tomas Rodriguez Hernandez has just won Ironman Texas and he did so in such an impressive way that he also set the fastest Mexican time ever on a Long Distance.

It was the Dutch Menno Koolhaas who led the race during the swim: he swam well and dictated the pace in a stylish manner. It was nice to see that the Dutchman had many big names following him directly, but also immediately hurt a number of favorites. When Koolhaas was the first to emerge from the water after 48:04 minutes, he was followed by Florian Angert, Ognjen Stojanovic, Matthew Marquardt and Simon Shi; then a small gap fell to the second group. Next favorites out of the water included Braden Currie, who went to his bike in tenth and was then 56 seconds behind, immediately followed by Patrick Lange in eleventh position. Robert Kallin followed in sixteenth at 1:06 minutes, while Matt Hanson in 35th had suffered more damage (+5:36) and Joe Skipper in 41st faced a monster deficit of more than eight minutes.

In the first kilometers of the bike it was painful to see that a large number of athletes were drafting; however, while the jury was riding next to it and the RaceRanger equipment clearly indicated that athletes were riding too close to each other, no penalties were giving in this phase. Meanwhile, American Marquardt started an impressive show, as he rode away from everyone on his own and quickly saw his lead increase to more than a minute.

While Marquardt managed to keep the pace blisteringly high at the front of the race and stayed ahead for a long time, he was joined about halfway by Kallin, who was also biking very strongly. In the same phase, a large group (positions 6-16) formed in the chase, including big names such as Lange and Currie. Yet this group lost more and more time to the leaders on the bike.

In the meantime, Marquardt was clearly on the hunt for something spectacular, because in the final phase of the bike part he pulled away from Kallin again, eventually returning solo to the lead in T2. Kallin followed in second place, 1:36 minutes behind, while the Frenchman Clement Mignon, who had made an impressive catch-up while biking, returned in third place at 7:34 minutes. Angert came in fourth in T2 (+9:38) and then Hernandez followed in fifth at about thirteen minutes. The group with Lange then entered the transition zone fourteen minutes behind.

Initially it seemed that Marquardt was heading for victory, but halfway through the marathon it turned out that Hernandez was making up time very quickly and had already advanced to second place. Despite being thirteen minutes behind at the start of the marathon, he overtook Marquardt and took over the lead in the race after 27 kilometers. In the meantime, Marquardt cracked and was overtaken a few kilometers later by an unleashed Lange, who in turn was owning the run with a strong marathon and therefore advanced to second place.

In the final kilometers, the Mexican Hernandez managed to keep his back straight and not break it; he ran to an impressive victory in a time of 7:42:38. Hernandez also immediately became – by far – the fastest Mexican ever on a Long Distance, as the fastest Mexican time until today was 8:04. Lange came close and eventually finished second in 7:44:14. Mignon finished third in 7:48:37.