St. George Ironman 70.3: ‘Perfect day’ for Ironman as racers excel; STGnews Videocast

ST. GEORGE – With ideal conditions, the St. George Ironman 70.3 featured fast times and enthusiastic finishes for men’s winner Brent McMahon and women’s winner Meredith Kessler.

The two triathletes bubbled with enthusiasm while meeting with the media after the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run.

“What an awesome place,” said McMahon, who hails from Victoria, B.C., Canada. “I love it here.”

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Videocast by Sarafina Amodt, St. George News

A year ago, gale-like winds during the swim and sweltering temperatures during the run made the St. George Ironman a race of attrition, rather than speed. But Mother Nature was very cooperative this year.

“It was perfect,” Kessler said. “The weather was beautiful and the swim this year was pretty easy after last year’s troubles.”

Kessler doesn’t live in Utah, but the triathlete may just want to talk to a realtor while she’s in St. George. For the second straight year, she won the women’s side of the St. George Ironman, tabbed by many to be the toughest Ironman course in the world.

It should be noted that the St. George Ironman was reduced from a full Ironman to what is termed a 70.3. Each leg of the race is exactly half the distance of a full Ironman. Nevertheless, Kessler said the race in southern Utah still remains incredibly difficult.

“This is the most difficult course,” she said. “It’s a test of will just to get up some of those hills.”

Kessler actually trailed Svenja Bazlen of Germany by four and a half minutes at the start of the 13-mile run, but quickly made up ground. By the four-hour mark, Kessler had taken the lead for good. She finished with a time of 4:17:11.

Bazlen took second in the women’s professional group, 1:35 behind Kessler. Heather Wurtele, who is originally from Canada but lives and trains in southern Utah, took third.

McMahon, the men’s winner, finished with a time of 3:51:10. He crossed the finish line, sunglasses perched on his head and Canadian flag in hand, exhaling a guttural “Yeah!”

“I’ve been here for almost two weeks, learning the course, treating it like world champs. I wanted to win bad. I was ready for this.”

Kevin Collington (Orlando, Flor.) and Andy Potts (Colorado Springs, Colo.) placed second and third, respectively. The top men’s professional from Utah was Kirk Nelson, who lives in Ivins.

“This is such a beautiful race and a beautiful place,” Nelson said. “The weather was perfect, but the course is very challenging. We got our money’s worth today.”

A couple of Utahns also did well amongst the amateurs with Rob Lea of Park City taking second in the men’s 30-34 age group with a time of 4:26:04, a few minutes behind age-group winner Benjamin Williams of Honolulu.

Salt Lake City’s Spencer Peterson finished fourth in the men’s 25-29 age group. He crossed the finish line with a time of 4:31:08, nine minutes behind age-group champion Keith Butsko of California.

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Email: sports@stgnews.com

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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6 Comments

  • fred May 5, 2013 at 9:05 am

    traffic delays and street closures all over the place, rude cyclists and their “escort cars” practicing on the highways, lost time and frayed nerves, cop overtime for sure, just so some over-amped health nuts can run around the town for a day.

    what a crock.

    send the race somewhere else.

    • Jeckyll May 5, 2013 at 10:31 am

      It never fails. Someone’s always got to complain. What are you going to do about it then? Start a petition? Address the various governing councils in the towns the Ironman runs through and ask them not to allow it in their town limits? Maybe even talk to the county commission about? You could also ask the hotels in town not to rent out rooms to the athletes and everyone else involved so they have nowhere to stay. Maybe do the same for the restaurants and shops that cater to these people too.

      You’ve been so eager to comment on your dislike of the event because it inconveniences you so much, now what are you going to do to back it up?

    • Zeke May 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Actually, it would be more economical for the city to send you somewhere else. events like these are huge revenue boosters for the area.

    • Johhny Bravo May 9, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      Un-freaking believable.
      You have just let the entire world know how uneducated you are…especially in economics.
      I am sure you either work, live, visit, or think about St. George or you wouldn’t be on STG News in the first place.
      So next time you are driving around town and you see a business that still has it’s doors open, or a person that can afford a home and food, you can thank the global brand called IRONMAN because without events like this, communities would be worse off.

      Think of all the restaurants that had record weeks. Hotels that had zero vacancy, stores that sold more than they thought possible.
      Sorry to hear it inconvenienced your personal life- maybe if you signed up to volunteer or compete yourself you would have not been inconvenienced so much, but rewarded.

  • Joanna May 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

    I don’t run it myself, but I love the Ironman! So inspiring to see all the athletes, and fun to cheer them on. St. George prepped for it really well this year, and gave plenty of heads up for road closures, which was great. Congrats to all the athletes, can’t wait until next year!

  • Debbie May 6, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    It was alittle inconvenient getting around on Saturday, but ya just gotta love the amazing athletes and what a body is capable of doing. So it’s a day. I’m proud they choose our city. 🙂

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