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

Chief Correspondent

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).

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


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)


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

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
John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.
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