Jason West won his first major title and a $12,000 payday in the process at the IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga North American Championship on Sunday.
Fairytale return for O’Donnell
Ben Kanute was first to exit the Tennessee River with eventual winner West part of a four-man group right behind him. Tim O’Donnell, the 2019 Kona runner-up, was next out in sixth – this was his first major race since suffering a heart attack at Challenge Miami last year.
O’Donnell rode into the lead and looked supreme on the second half of the bike course right into the second transition. But the 40-year-old was closely tracked by the rest of the field – including Rudy Von Berg, Steven McKenna, West and recent Oceanside victor Jackson Laundry.
Aggressive running from West
West’s aggressive running saw him take the lead after a little more than half a mile, and he never looked back. The 28-year-old Colorado-based athlete ran a blistering 1:09.09 half marathon in heat and humidity to finish a minute ahead of Matt Hanson.
He said: “I’m just blessed to come out and have a result like this on a big day.
“Everything has been focused towards this race for the last few months and I haven’t tapered for a race in a little while. It was tough not racing at my best, but sometimes you’ve got to play the long game and really sell out for the big one.”
Hanson happy With silver
Hanson said he didn’t expect his run legs to show up after finishing 13th at the IRONMAN World Championships in St. George just two weeks ago.
He said: “I felt alright on the run going uphill but the downhill, the quads were still pretty tender from St. George. I’m not sure it would have mattered, Jason had a great day, so I’m happy to come in second.”
Von Berg said he almost settled for fifth place, until his competitive spirit helped him kick on and move up to third. He broke away from Laundry to gain revenge for that defeat by the Canadian at Oceanside.
He said: “I didn’t want to hurt that bad. The competitor mindset always takes over and I had to dig really deep. I did a couple of surges, and just a mile from the finish I did a third one and finally broke him.
“We don’t do it for the money or the points or anything else, it’s the competitor mindset.”
IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga 2022 Results
North American Championship – Sunday 22 May 2022
- 1. Jason West, USA, 3:37:15
- 2. Matt Hanson, USA, 3:38:12
- 3. Rudy Von Berg, USA, 3:39:53
- 4. Jackson Laundry, CAN, 3:40:21
- 5. Steven McKenna, USA, 3:42:32
- 6. Tim O’Donnell, USA, 3:42:59