Bahrain: Middle East 70.3 Champs three-peats for Blummenfelt and Lawrence

IRONMAN 70.3 Bahrain logo

Kristian Blummenfelt, Holly Lawrence win third consecutive IRONMAN 70.3 Bahrain

British women fill top four positions at IRONMAN 70.3 Middle East Championship

The fifth edition of the IRONMAN 70.3 Middle East Championship saw the top steps of the podium filled, once again, by Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt and Great Britain’s Holly Lawrence.

Pro Men

Winner in Bahrain for the last two years, Norway’s ITU Grand Final winner Kristian Blummenfelt put himself in position to extend that to a third year with a strong opening swim. The USA’s Ben Kanute lead the way out of the water in 22:20, but just seconds behind were Daniel Baekkegaard, Casper Stornes (NOR), Philip Graves (GBR), Thor Bendix Madsen (DEN) and Eric Watson (BAH). Mark Buckingham hit T2 in 23:09 (9th) with Ian Dempsey 15th (25:05).

Madsen and Watson were soon discarded from that leading swim back, and the remaining five powered away at the front of the race and nobody else could bridge up to them. That left Blummenfelt, Graves, Stornes, Kanute and Baekkegaard entering T2 with a lead of more than three minutes over Marcus Herbst (GER), with very speedy bike splits, headed by the 1:51:56 of Stornes. That’s very quick… but before anyone starts counting records, I have it on reliable authority that the course was circa 86km, having had to be cut short due to roadworks. That seems pretty consistent to Blummenfelt’s own Strava data.

Once they hit the run course, Big Blu said goodbye, looked like he was trying to smash his 5km PB and just didn’t let up. Just 67 minutes later her crossed the line almost four minutes clear of Daniel Baekkegaard (DEN) who ran a 1:10:44, with Casper Stornes matching his third place from 12 months ago. A solid run from Mark Buckingham (1:12:41) allowed him to run through to fourth position.

Pro Women

Lucy Hall lead the way, as she has many times before, but Holly Lawrence, Jodie Stimpson and Pamella Oliveira (BRA) were all within 12 seconds and would have been thrilled with that start to their day. India Lee and Claire Hann were a further 90 seconds back, with Lisa Norden (SWE) approaching three minutes in deficit before reaching the bike mount line.

50km in and the leading four were still together at the front of the race, but India Lee, Claire Hann and Lisa Norden were all now just a minute back and closing on the front group. The chasing trio finally caught the leading quartet and that left seven women arriving at the dismount line with 13 seconds. Game on, the run would be key to success today.

Holly Lawrence was by far the quickest through T2 to take an early lead, but by 4km it was Jodie Stimpson who had bridged back to her with Claire Hann now solo in third. Lawrence and Stimpson were locked together into the second half of the three-lap run course, when the 2016 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion made a move, built a small gap and stretched that lead until the finish. A 1:21:35 run gave her a 2:37 lead over Stimpson, who in turn was just 23 seconds clear of Hann in third. The British domination extended to fourth (Lucy Hall).

View this post on Instagram

Capping the year of with a W here in Bahrain 🇧🇭 for the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championships 🏆. Came into this after a big break after 70.3 Worlds and only a short build and not at my usual bike fitness. Dealt with some different race dynamics out there and proud to keep my head and race tactical race. Fast swim thanks to @lucy_tri and company on the bike coming into T2 all together and sat in on the first half of the run🏃🏼‍♀️ behind the speedy @jodiestimpson pretending I was running behind @jessebet my running partner back home on a training run before making a move to get some distance (I thought for sure she’d respond and close but I was lucky today – and I didn’t feel bad sitting on her when she sat behind the whole bike course 💁🏼‍♀️ – fairs fair – although sorry for clipping your feet Jode 🤦🏼‍♀️) – watch out for that one at the 70.3 distance – she gunna be deadly! Love all the ITU girls coming to 70.3 / non-draft – bring it 👊🏻 📸 @activimages @jackyeveraerdt @thatcameraman #ironman #703 #triathlon #middleeast #bahrain #race #im703bahrain #im703middleeast @im703middleeast

A post shared by Holly Lawrence (@hollylawrencetri) on

IRONMAN 70.3 Middle East Championship, Bahrain – Saturday 7th December 2019
1.9km / 86km / 21.1km (bike course reduced due to roadworks)

PRO MEN

1st – Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) – 3:25:21
2nd – Daniel Baekkegaard (DEN) – 3:29:16
3rd – Casper Stornes (NOR) – 3:33:06
4th – Mark Buckingham (GBR) – 3:35:44
5th – Aleksey Kalistratov (RUS) 3:37:15
6th – Ben Kanute (USA) – 3:37:58

11th – Philip Graves (GBR) – 3:42:20
16th – Ian Dempsey (GBR) – 3:52:27
DNF – Thomas Davis (GBR)

PRO WOMEN

1st – Holly Lawrence (GBR) – 3:52:51
2nd – Jodie Stimpson (GBR) – 3:55:29
3rd – Claire Hann (GBR) – 3:55:51
4th – Lucy Hall (GBR) – 3:59:40
5th – Pamella Oliveira (BRA) – 4:02:20
6th – India Lee (GBR) – 4:02:20
7th – Lisa Norden (SWE) – 4:05:01
8th – Frankie Sanjana (GBR) – 4:11:18
9th – Elle Twentyman (GBR) – 4:24:10

View this post on Instagram

So this happened today 🤷🏻‍♀️ the 6weeks training block since my break has been great mainly because I have been able to train pain free ,injury free and bloody get back to enjoying what I love and boi have I missed it dealer! My day started of great swimming with @lucy_tri is like a dream and then being able to cycle with the lead power house girls is a great feeling, the run started of well but I think I was enjoying it a bit to much and the last 7k took me a while and there was no holding onto @hollylawrencetri ! True champ today and congratulations on the win and @clairehanntri 3rd and @lucy_tri 4th , great day for 🇬🇧 ladies in @bahrainendurance13 70.3 ! And to top things of that’s my ticket to 70.3 world champs ! Happy is a understatement! Great to be back out there ♥️

A post shared by Jodie Stimpson (@jodiestimpson) on

British Age-Group Podiums

  • Tom Walker – M24-29 – 1st
  • Joseph Maynard – M30-34 – 2nd
  • Ben Terry – M30-34 – 3rd
  • Michael Gallacher – M45-49 – 1st
  • Sam Westhead – M50-54 – 1st
  • Keith Hunt – M60-64 – 3rd
  • Lottie Lucas – F25-29 – 1st
  • Sophie Cookson – F30-34 – 2nd
  • Nicola Boyd – F35-39 – 1st
  • Clare McCulloch – F40-44 – 3rd
  • Belika Metley – F50-54 – 3rd
  • Elaine Nettleton – F55-59 – 1st