Triathlon: Brilliant Brown breaks course record at MetaMan Bintan
- Updated: August 25, 2014
August 25, 2014: Triathlon legend Cameron Brown of New Zealand ran away from defending champion Courtney Ogden to win the MetaMan Bintan title on Sunday in a course record of 8:28:21 and claim the first prize of US$30,000.
A 10-time Ironman New Zealand winner, Brown swam with the lead pack, rode at the front in a small group for the entire 180-km bike leg and then pulled away from Australia’s Ogden at the halfway stage of the 42-km run to take the crown.
“I’d like to thank the big man upstairs for the rain that gave us a cool day, because if that sun had come out it would have even tougher out there than it was,” Brown said.
Ogden held on to take the runners-up spot from a hard-charging Fredrik Croneborg of Sweden, who suffered a flat on the bike while riding in the front group and had to settle for third for a third straight year.
Starting on the beach of the Nirwana Gardens resort, the event was held beneath blue skies and in calm, crystal clear waters, with the MetaMan offering a unique swim course with two different 1.9km loops to make up the full 3.8km. The leading pros quickly formed a pack in the sea and after the two laps, it was Croneborg who had the honour of being first into T1.
As the bike leg progressed, the lead group shrank to just four, with Stefan Schmid making up the quartet in addition to Brown, Ogden and Croneborg. The quartet stayed together and looked comfortable for the whole first lap of two on a course heavy on rolling hills. On the second lap, a big storm made riding conditions a lot trickier, while Croneborg dropped from the lead group after suffering a puncture, leaving Brown, Ogden and Schmid to start the run together.
Brown and Ogden, both 42, then dropped the much younger German on the first of six 7-km loops, before the New Zealander edged ahead after three laps and stretched his lead to a minute after the fourth. The two-time Kona runner-up then finished more than three and half minutes clear of Ogden, whose time of 8:32:03 was just six seconds slower than his winning time last year.
Croneborg had ended up losing eight minutes to the leaders on the bike – having also suffered a flat in 2012 – but produced the fastest run split of the day to finish in 8:35:04, an impressive 21 minutes quicker than last year.
Crawford claims women’s title for Kiwi double
Brown’s compatriot Gina Crawford, also a multiple Ironman champion, won the women’s title and US$30,000 after passing long-time leader Diana Riesler of Germany late on the run. Michelle Gailey of Australia took the final spot on the podium.
Crawford, second last year, took a different road to the women’s title than the front-running Brown. The Kiwi she swam with the leading men and hit T1 a full four minutes ahead of Riesler, but the German the strongest female cyclist and her bike split of 4:54:33 was nine minutes quicker than Crawford’s, giving her a five-minute lead starting the run.
The Kiwi made short work of closing the gap on Riesler and was only about 20 seconds back after two of the six run laps, but the gap opened up again and the German was 80 seconds ahead with two laps to go.
Crawford again dug in and by the start of the final lap had finally retaken the lead, going on to claim the crown. Her winning time of 9:17:15 was 11 minutes faster than her runner-up performance in 2013 and two and half minutes ahead of Riesler, who earned US$15,000.
Blitz and MetaMan Half kick off races
The MetaMan triathlon festival featured two other races, the MetaMan Half and the inaugural MetaMan Blitz. Matthew Ledger from Australia won the MetaMan Half (4:40:38), but female athletes won most of the acclaim after taking three of the top five places overall.
Another Aussie, Kira Flanagan from Perth, was the first of those, taking the women’s title in a time of 4:46:48 and finishing second overall behind Ledger. Monica Torres of the Philippines was the women’s runner-up and third across both genders, while Lisa Luckin, yet another Aussie, was the third women and fifth overall.
Martin Dolinschek of Australia was runner-up in the men’s, while Indonesian hero Andy Wibowo claimed the final spot on the podium.
Wibowo, the former national and Olympic swimmer, took a huge lead out of the water, but Ledger and Dolinschek plugged away on the bike and caught and overtook the local hero about 65km into the 90km leg, before Ledger pulled away on the run.
Flanagan also had to come from behind for her victory, with Australian Kathryn Haesner leading after both the swim and bike legs. But Flanagan ran a superfast 1:32:30 split for the half marathon to charge through the field to finish only a minute down on Ledger.
The first race of the day to finish was the Blitz, a contest raced over a bespoke distance of 1.2-km/55-km/7km. Tim Cosulich of Italy was a clear winner in a time of 2:22:39, five minutes ahead of runner-up Rick Atkinson, while last year’s Blitz champ Tim Kelsall was third.
Kathryn Campbell was the women’s Blitz champion, ahead of Megan Gray and Annette Trippe. Campbell had to make up a five-minute deficit out of the water, but she did that and more on the bike course and held off Gray comfortably to take the win in a time of 2:56:03.
Source: MetaMan Bintan (www.metamanbintan.com); Editing by SportAsia