Lake Stevens, WA – Sunday’s Ironman 70.3 event, held at Lake Stevens, a small town 40-minutes north of Seattle, began eerily. The small community was enveloped in a layer of fog so thick one couldn’t 15-ft ahead, let alone swim bouys placed approx. every 100-yards. The chill in the air and 50-degree temperatures also left participants wondering what this race would hold. After a short delay the fog began to lift, and the athletes were off. The 2009 field included a long list of professional men, Becky Lavelle a world class racer, ITU star Samantha Warriner, 2x ITU World Champion & 2006 Ironman World titlist Michellie Jones, 2008 Ironman Coeur d’Alene Champion Heather Wurtele, 3x XTERRA champion Melanie McQuaid and Ironman Hawaii 5th place finisher Linsey Corbin, along with over 1,000 age-groupers fulfilling dreams of qualifying for the 70.3 World Champs, setting a pr, or just finishing.
Becky Lavelle set the pace from the gun start with a race best swim of 25:58. Wurtele and Jones emerged over 2-minutes back, and McQuaid 4-minutes off the race leader. Wurtele proved to be the dominating factor on the bike course, putting over 3-minutes into Lavelle, Jones and McQuaid. On the run Lavelle and Wurtele, two of the lankiest runners in the sport, paced off eachother. Wurtele looked strong but lack of promised nutrition on the course was her detriment. She raced strong, preparing to pick up the pace in the final 5k. Unfortunately Wurtele bonked with 1.5mi to go; Lavelle outran her for the win. Jones raced in no man’s land, pushing to reach the two leaders ahead and conscious of the strong racers behind her. She maintained position for 3rd on the podium. Congrats Heather!