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IRONMAN 70.3 Pucón 2024 results: Long and Sánchez dominate in Chile season-opener

The first middle-distance race of the campaign produced two clear-cut winners.

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America’s Sam Long and Spain’s Marta Sánchez were the emphatic winners of IRONMAN 70.3 Pucón in Chile, the first race of the 2024 season.

Long was the big pre-race favourite for the men’s event and he justified that status by surging to the head of affairs on the bike before extending his advantage on the run to see off Luciano Taccone (ARG) and home hope Martin Ulloa.

But Sánchez topped even that with a pillar to post victory, leading out of the water and never being threatened despite the presence of Chilean legend Barbara Riveros – a six-time winner of the event.

Riveros was a distant second for most of the bike and early on the run but would eventually have to settle for third, with Ecuador’s Elizabeth Bravo moving up into the runner-up spot.

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Pro Men – Long a class apart

After a successful 2023 which featured three 70.3 wins, world #9 Long had chosen to kickstart 2024 at the earliest possible opportunity by travelling to Chile.

And that decision was vindicated in fine style, though he did have work to do after the swim as he exited the water in central Chile’s Lake District with a deficit of 3:33 to Vicente Trewhela (CHI) and Canada’s Matt Sharpe.

Trewhela led early on the bike by just under half a minute to Sharpe but Long was closing the gap rapidly in behind. And by the 60km mark the ‘Big Unit’ had moved to the front and would never look back.

He clocked by far the fastest bike split as he dipped under the two-hour mark and, starting the run, his advantage to the rest was over four-and-a-half minutes.

And then a nicely-paced 1:14 half marathon – again the best of the day – saw him come home nearly seven minutes to the good in a new course record time of 3:46:31.

Sam Long wins IRONMAN 70.3 St George 2023 photo credit Jacob Kupferman / Getty Images for IRONMAN
[Photo credit: Jacob Kupferman / Getty Images for IRONMAN]

There was a good battle for the podium places though as Taccone just got the better of Ulloa in the closing kilometres to take second place.

Speaking to local station TVN afterwards, Long said: “It was just the most beautiful race ever, I’m so glad I came. I think that’s the best run course in the world – not just for the beauty but also the crowds. I mean, that was electric – I felt like I was a cyclist in the Tour de France!”

Pro Women – Significant win for Sanchez

All eyes were on home favourite Riveros as she looked for a seventh Pucón win in eight attempts but it was to be Sánchez’s day as she claimed the biggest win of her career so far.

She did bag four middle-distance successes on home soil last year but this race featured tougher opposition and she bossed it from the outset.

It was close in the water – Sánchez was out first but the front group was seven strong and also included Riveros and Brazil’s Pamella Oliveira.

But on the bike it was Sánchez who put the power down as she moved clear of the field. Riveros was a minute-and-a-half down at the 30km mark and the gap had doubled by 45km and was then up to six minutes by 60km.

Sánchez had over nine minutes to play with over Riveros by T2 and never looked in danger on the run, crossing the line in 4:19:18 to win by nearly seven minutes from Bravo, with Riveros rounding out the podium in third.

IRONMAN 70.3 Pucón, Chile – Sunday 7th January 2024
1.9km / 90km / 21.1km

PRO MEN

  • 1. Sam Long (USA) – 3:46:31
  • 2. Luciano Taccone (ARG) – 3:53:11
  • 3. Martin Ulloa (CHI) – 3:53:40
  • 4. Matt Sharpe (CAN) – 3:54:45
  • 5. Vicente Trewhela (CHI) – 4:00:48

PRO WOMEN

  • 1. Marta Sánchez (ESP) – 4:19:18
  • 2. Elizabeth Bravo (ECU) – 4:26:07
  • 3. Barbera Riveros (CHI) – 4:27:28
  • 4. Pamella Oliveira (BRA) – 4:32:35
  • 5. Sofia Balmaceda Heitmann (CHI) – 4:33:18
Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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