Sarah Crowley wins, Susie Cheetham second at IRONMAN Argentina

IRONMAN Argentina / IRONMAN Mar del Plata / IRONMAN South American Championship

‘Extended’ season proves worthwhile for Susie Cheetham in Argentina

With the 2017 IRONMAN South American Championship being held last year in Brazil, Susie Cheetham was technically the defending champion for that title – which was held on Sunday at IRONMAN Mar del Plata, Argentina. An early December IRONMAN would not normally appear on her schedule, but a disappointing race at the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii left her hungry for more this season. The decision to continue, train and race again has paid off – and Kona qualification for 2019 is now sorted.

Women’s Pro race

Cold water meant that the Mar del Plata swim was halved in distance, which saw Dede Griesbauer (USA) exit first in 22:08 – but of course all of the gaps behind were smaller thanks to the shortened time in the water for all. For the Brits, it was Kimberley Morrison (23:12), Susie Cheetham (23:18) and the returning Caroline Livesey (24:20). The Aussie pairing of Sarah Crowley (22:23) and multiple IRONMAN World Champion, Mirinda Carfrae (23:02) were right in contention at T1 too.

Crowley –  who has won previous Continental Championship races in Europe (Frankfurt) and Asia Pacific (Cairns) – moved into the lead on the bike leg and by the midpoint of the ride was two minutes clear of Griesbauer, with Carfrae, Cheetham and Morrison three and half minutes down.

Crowley extended her lead over the second half to 4:24, with Morrison, Griesbauer, Minna Koistinen (FIN) and Cheetham all dismounting within a minute and Carfrae slipping back now to nine minutes down.

The marathon saw Crowley run a consistently strong 3:01:54 to take the win, holding off a 3:00:03 effort from Cheetham, with Koistinen completing the podium via a 3:06:05 run. The day didn’t go so well for Kimberley Morrison, who withdrew from the race around the midpoint of the marathon.

Better news for Caroline Livesey, who achieved her pre-race goal of finishing pain free, ready to build back to full fitness and competitiveness for 2019, in her first full-distance start for a year.

Pro Men’s race

Two weeks ago Michael Weiss (AUT) won IRONMAN Cozumel with a Sub-eight hour clocking and a shorter swim was only going to play into his hands today. Matt Chrabot (USA) lead the way in 19:05, but had another six athletes in close contention over the next 30 seconds, including Andy Potts (USA) and Tim O’Donnell (USA), who both finished top-10 in Hawaii this year.

Three minutes back in the water, Weiss had blasted to the front of the race within the first 50km on the bike and by halfway was three minutes clear of Chrabot. That trend continued over the second half and a 4:14:20 fastest bike split gave him more than an eight minute lead at T2 over Stefan Schumacher (GER), who himself clocked a very speedy 4:17:13. Andy Potts was 12:25 back in third with the typically fast-running Matt Hanson fourth, almost 14 minutes down.

Schumacher lost time on the run almost immediately which left Weiss unchallenged and with a 2:49:11 run, even a 2:45:07 from Hanson which brought him up to second place, would barely dent his huge T2 buffer.

Mario De Elias (ARG) secured a podium for the home nation, while Schumacher held on with a 2:58:37 run, eventually finishing sixth overall.

IRONMAN South American Championship, Mar del Plata, Argentina
Sunday 2nd December 2019 – 1.9km** / 180km / 42.2km
(** swim shortened due to cold temperatures)

PRO Women

1st – Sarah Crowley (AUS) – 8:20:17
2nd – Susie Cheetham (GBR) – 8:23:40
3rd – Minna Koistinen (FIN) – 8:28:57
4th – Sarah Piampiano (USA) – 8:32:18
5th – Asa Lundstrom (SWE) – 8:32:59

10th – Caroline Livesey (GBR) – 9:25:33
DNF – Kimberley Morrison (GBR)

PRO Men

1st – Michael Weiss (AUT) – 7:30:23
2nd – Matt Hanson (USA) – 7:39:47
3rd – Mario De Elias (ARG) – 7:42:22
4th – Jesper Svensson (SWE) – 7:46:39}
5th – Lukas Kramer (GER) – 7:48:09