There were maiden IRONMAN 70.3 victories for middle distance newcomers Trevor Foley of the USA and Ai Ueda of Japan in Waco this weekend as the pair overcame tough conditions to take the tape in Texas.
Men – Foley flourishes
Over the past couple of months, “potential” has been the main word associated with Trevor Foley, as the young Floridian has become a rising star for US long-course racing, following in the footsteps of athletes like Sam Long in diving straight into IRONMAN racing from a young age. Foley’s maiden victory marks a turning point in his career now, as he will enter most future races as a real contender to be reckoned with.
From the gun, the pace at the start of the race was hot, with IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder winner Matt Sharpe leading out Justin Metzler into transition. Close behind were Andy Potts and Simon Shi, with the rest of the pack just over 60 seconds adrift. After the swim, eventual winner Foley was four minutes down on the front of the race, after swimming 28:17 to come out of the water in 19th.
Out on the bike, the conditions on the road were treacherous, with early leader Sharpe taking a fall out on the wet tarmac and from then onwards really drifting away from contention. For the rest of the ride, it was Potts, Metzler, Elliot Bach and Martin Ulloa who pushed the pace and got a jump on the rest of the field, before Foley bridged up by the time they got into transition.
Once out on the run, the result was almost a certain, with anyone not putting their money on Foley to run away with it a very brave person. The UF graduate, who was second to Jason West at IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta three weeks ago, stormed to victory, with four minutes separating him from Metzler and Potts who rounded out the podium.
In the post race interviews, both Metzler and Potts were quick to hail the rise of Foley, with Potts saying “this young man is a real talent” and Metzler joking around saying “I’ve been trying to get him out to train with me in Boulder but he might be too fast for me now”. Foley, whose family were in attendance to witness his first win, stated his intentions for the rest of the year, saying “I’m racing 70.3 Worlds in two weeks, before racing IRONMAN Arizona”, adding “I raced my first IRONMAN in Texas this year and want to give it a good go in Arizona and get that Kona slot”.
Women – Ueda unrivalled
In the water, Julie Iemmolo of France led out of the swim with a sizeable gap, as she put 1:44 into Sierra Snyder of the USA and eventual winner Ai Ueda of Japan. Behind them, Melanie McQuaid, Bruna Mahn and Dani Treise were close on their heels as they headed into transition, with two minutes separating Iemmolo and the chase group of five on the bike.
Out on the bike, Iemmolo maintained her lead but couldn’t put any additional time in on the hardworking duo of Ueda and McQuaid. Behind them, Sarah Bishop moved herself into a position to strike at 2:36 back, with the rest of the pack close to 10 minutes behind the Frenchwoman.
On the run, Ueda immediately started to show her prowess, as Iemmolo’s lead was cut down completely by halfway through the run before being overturned by the seven mile mark, with Ueda putting close to two minutes into her. Behind, Bishop was running through strong and managed to catch the early leader Iemmolo by the eleventh hour, as she did well to finish in second and place as the highest American. For Ueda, this was a maiden victory after her transition to long course racing.
IRONMAN 70.3 Waco 2022 Results
Sunday October 16, 2022 – 1.9km / 90km / 21.1km
- 1. Trevor Foley (USA) – 3:45:58
- 2. Justin Metzler (USA) – 3:49:15
- 3. Andy Potts (USA) – 3:51:07
- 4. Martin Ulloa (CHI) – 3:52:39
- 5. Matthew Sharpe (CAN) – 3:54:09
- 1. Ai Ueda (JPN) – 4:19:16
- 2. Sarah Bishop – 4:25:12
- 3. Julie Iemmolo (FRA) – 4:28:00
- 4. Melanie McQuaid (CAN) – 4:32:41
- 5. Sierra Snyder (USA) – 4:38:49