Tempe, AZ - In the first fall running of the Ford Ironman Arizona triathlon a number of new course records were established. Perfect weather conditions were certainly a contributing factor to the fast times posted by more than 2,100 athletes over the 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile marathon course.
The men's race was led out of the water by Kieran Doe of New Zealand. With one previous Ironman title under his belt, it began to look like it was going to be his day as he began by breaking the swim course record. However, he was challenged on the bike by Californian Chris Lieto, with the two finishing just two minutes apart off the bike. Doe started to experience injury problems early on the run and fell off the pace quite early.
It was Andreas Raelert, setting both a new run and overall course record, who persevered for the win. Lieto was second and Scarborough, New York-resident Jordan Rapp came in for second. All of the top three pro men surpassed the previous course record set in 2006 by Michael Lovato. It was the first Ironman championship for Raelert of Germany.
Joanna Zieger broke her own swim course record to lead the women out of the swim portion of the race. She continued to build the lead to just over six minutes onto the run. Unfortunately, the Boulder, Colorado, resident was forced to withdraw part way through the run due to illness.
Great Britain's Leanda Cave took the lead and held it through 20 miles into the run when Heleen Bij De Vaate passed her for the lead. Bij De Vaate put her name in the record book, posting a 3:07:56 marathon to better the old mark. It was the first Ironman championship for the Dutch athlete.
Ford Ironman Arizona was held for the fifth time on Sunday, November 23, 2008 in Tempe, AZ. Athletes were competing for a $50,000 pro prize purse and 80 qualifying spots for the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
Top Ten Men
- Andreas Raelert - GER 8:14:16
- Chris Lieto - Danbury, CA 8:19:25
- Jordan Rapp - Scarborough, NY 8:19:45
- Jozsef Major - HUN 8:21:34
- Jan Raphael - GER 8:23:03
- Ben Hoffman - Durango, CO 8:24:13
- Paul Amey - Cardiff by Sea, CA 8:27:20
- Petr Vabrousek - CZE 8:28:09
- Frederik Van Lierde - BEL 8:34:34
- Chris Brown - CAN 8:39:18
Top Ten Women
- Heleen Bij De Vaate - NED 9:21:06
- Leanda Cave - GBR 9:25:07
- Edith Neiderfriniger - ITA 9:28:09
- Kim Loeffler - Colchester, VT 9:33:54
- Tove Wiklund - SWE 9:44:44
- Haley Cooper - Spokane, WA 9:45:59
- Ana Lidia Borba - BRA 9:48:03
- Camilla Lindholm - SWE 9:50:23
- Imke Schiersch - ESP 9:53:14
- Christine Fletcher - CAN 9:58:55