On Sunday he put it to good use, winning his first-ever Ironman by riding away from everyone as he scorched the bike course in 4:33 (a new course record), and then managed to keep all the challengers at bay throughout the marathon. In the process, he set a new overall course record by four minutes: 8:33:11.
Second place went to another Iron-rookie, Olympian Ryan Bolton, who had this to say of his day: "Steve Larsen was just an animal on the bike. I really thought at some point he'd blow up on the run, but he just didn't. But I felt pretty good the whole way. It ended up going well."
Bolton, who won this year's half-Ironman in St. Croix, lost time to Larsen on the bike but was closing fast, running a 2:49 marathon compared to Larsens 2:56. But Larsen had such a margin coming off the bike his ride was more than 20 minutes faster than the rest of the fields that the deficit was a hard one to cover. In the end, Bolton finished in 8:41:53, and his marathon set a new course record.
Behind Bolton was defending champ Cameron Widoff, in 8:55. Austrias Norbert Domnik finished in fourth with an 8:56, and Japans Hideya Miyazuka came home fifth in 9:05.
The womens race figured to be a showdown between American Joanna Zeiger and Canadian Heather Fuhr, and it did not disappoint. Zeiger, fresh off a third place at ITU Worlds just a week earlier, came off the bike well clear of Fuhr.
But Fuhr, in a style she has perfected in recent years, blasted the marathon, running a 3:01 compared to Zeigers 3:10. It was good enough to allow Fuhr to pass Zeiger in the final kilometers and run home with the win, her first this year, in 9:31:10 a new course record by 14 minutes.
Zeiger, proving shes a threat at virtually any distance, was just two minutes back, in 9:33:11. In third was Laura Drake, in 9:51:55, with Andrea Fisher in fourth in 10:01:58 and Lauren Maule in fifth in 10:09:07.
July 29, 2001, Lake Placid, N.Y.
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Steve Larsen (Davis, Calif.) 8:33:11
2. Ryan Bolton (Boulder, Colo.) 8:41:52
3. Cameron Widoff (Boulder, Colo.) 8:55:06
4. Norbert Domnik (Austria) 8:56:49
5. Hideya Miyazuka (Japan) 9:05:48
6. Pierre Lavoie (Canada) 9:07:30
7. Mike Neill (Canada) 9:10:39
8. Eric Bean (Fremont, Calif.) 9:16:40
9. Simon Malo (Canada) 9:16:50
10. Todd Wiley (Doylestown, Pa.) 9:18:32
1. Heather Fuhr (Canada) 9:31:10
2. Joanna Zeiger (Baltimore, Md.) 9:33:11
3. Laura Drake (Atlanta, Ga.) 9:51:55
4. Andrea Fisher (Austin, Texas) 10:01:58
5. Lauren Maule (Arlington, Texas) 10:09:07
6. Donna McMahon (Farmingdale, N.Y.) 10:38:50
7. Amy Farrell 10:15:35
8. Kirsten Black 10:25:20
9. Marketa Myatt (CAN) 10:25:58
10. Christine Dunnery 10:30:41
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