Lori Bowden logged her fifth win in Penticton, and 35-year-old pro Garrett MacFadyen his first.
It was MacFadyen's first Ironman victory, and it came after he made up the deficit caused by a 1:02:42 swim that left him in 31st place out of the water. He put together the day's fastest bike and run splits to come home first in 8:30:57. Fellow Canadian Jasper Blake, who moved through the field on the run, took second 12 minutes back. Germany's Stefan Holzner was third, less than a minute behind Blake.
Aussie Chris Legh exited T2 with a five-minute lead off the bike. Early on the run, despite having what he called "an easy, controlled race," he started to cough up blood and withdrew from the race.
In a day of drama in the pro race, Bowden overcame a serious deficit at T2 to run herself into first place past Lori-Lynn Leach and fearsome runner Lisa Bentley. Bowden finished 13th overall, one place ahead of two-time Ironman Canada winner Mike McCormack of Canada, who at 42 was returning to racing after years of battling injury.
"As soon as I got on the bike I immediately knew there was absolutely nothing in my legs," Bowden said. "I was patient and just kept hoping they would come around but they didn't. After a very emotional spell, I decided to keep riding, even if it meant a 6-hour ride. I also decided that I would have some fun, no matter what. I started the run in the same frame of mind, just enjoy the race and keep moving. I kept eating my Clif Shots and started to feel pretty fluid and good, especially in comparison to how I felt on the bike. This rates as one of my most treasured wins. I wasn't even in the race for most of the day and the fact that I could keep things together and win is pretty amazing."
Bentley held on for second place, with Leach in third.
Athletes where vying for 100 Kona slots; pros split a $75,000 (Canadian) prize purse.
Ironman North American spokesman Shane Facteau said the swim start surpassed last year's world-record-setting figure with 2,040 athletes taking to the waters of Okanagan Lake, the most ever in an Ironman race. The previous record was set at Ironman Canada last year, with 1,992.
Top 10 results
Ironman Canada: Sunday, August 25, 2002
2.4 miles/112 miles/26.2 miles
1) Garrett MacFadyen (CAN) 8:30:57 (1:02:42/4:36:43/2:48:13)
2) Jasper Blake (CAN) 8:43:01 (51:59/4:57:30/2:51:01)
3) Stefan Holzner (GER) 8:43:54 (53:04/4:44:34/3:02:32)
4) Bryan Rhodes (NZL) 8:44:06 (48:34/4:50:13/3:03:12)
5) Mike Neill (CAN) 8:52:04 (53:48/4:59:30/2:55:14)
6) Yuji Fujiwara (JPN) 8:56:45 (1:01:23/4:59:08/2:53:03)
7) Steve Irvine (CAN) 8:58:04 (53:52/4:54:58/3:06:06)
8) Mike Scheske (CAN) 8:58:16 (59:19/4:53:19/3:02:03)
9) Nigel Gray (CAN) 9:02:48 (53:48/4:55:41/3:10:29)
10) Shingo Tani (JPN) 9:04:42 (53:15/5:00:12/3:08:23)
1) Lori Bowden (CAN) 9:15:52 (57:23/5:18:41/2:56:56)
2) Lisa Bentley (CAN) 9:22:15 (53:39/5:15:15/3:10:14)
3) Mary Uhl (USA) 9:41:26 (53:58/5:21:51/3:22:22)
4) Lori-Lynn Leach (CAN) 9:44:57 (53:07/5:09:19/3:38:54)
5) Donna Kay-Ness (USA) 9:48:49 (57:22/5:12:07/3:35:40)
6) Barb Scatchard (CAN) 9:51:37 (1:02:58/5:16:03/3:30:00)
7) Deanna Frank (USA) 9:53:40 (58:49/5:21:21/3:27:11)
8) Kim Loeffler (USA) 9:54:12 (1:03:18/5:18:37/3:28:16)
9) Krista Johnstone (CAN) 9:58:31 (57:34 /5:15:46/3:40:53)
10) Barbara Buenahora (ARG) 10:00:47 (58:33/5:20:46/3:36:01)
This report originally appeared in the TriBiz Reader, a daily triathlon-news e-newsletter published by Slowtwitch.com.