IRONMAN 70.3 Marbella 2018
IRONMAN 70.3 Marbella were offering 50 age group qualifying slots for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship 2018 being held in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. MarbellaAzul.com was of course there to bring you all the news and images of this prestigious event.
What is Ironman 70.3?
Years ago, the holy grail of IRONMAN racing was the IRONMAN World Championships. Today, there are two annual world championship events following the introduction of the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. In 2018, this will take place in South Africa. The event includes a swim, a bike ride and a run in that order without a break. It is now widely regarded as one of the most difficult one day sporting events in the world.
This year, Marbella was chosen to host this qualification race. So, on Sunday 29 April, athletes from around the world assembled on Levante Beach in Puerto Banús for a 1.9 km swim in the Mediterranean followed by a 90 km bike ride along Marbella’s golden mile, through the city and on to Ojen and the legendary “‘caracolillos”, through Monda, Coin and Cartama before returning to Puerto Banús. This was followed by a 21.1 km run along the Paseo Maritimo finishing back on Levante Beach in Puerto Banús.
There were approximately 2,500 participants – 86% male and 14% female. The majority were Spanish, but there were a number from the UK, Ireland, France and 59 other nations. There were 10 professional athletes taking part, all of whom had been placed in IRONMAN 70.3 before.
Results and news on the day
The men’s event was won by UK athlete David MacNamee. Chris Leiferman from the USA was second and Andreas Dreitz from Germany was third. The women’s event was won by triathlete Laura Philipp from Germany. Marta Bernardi from Italy was second and Daniela Sämmler from Germany was third.
The race started at 7.50 am, just as the sun came up. It was an unusually cold morning for this time of year in Marbella, but that was probably the last thing on the minds of these competitors. Manuel Kueng from Switzerland was in first place with a time of around 18 minutes as the elite athletes emerged from the sea and headed for their bikes, followed by Denmark’s Daniel Baekkengard, who managed to be the first one to set off on the trip through Marbella and up into the mountains. There was a strong wind, making the journey even more demanding than usual.
On their return to Puerto Banús, the athletes set off along the Paseo Maritimo to Marbella. David MacNamee won the event sprinting to the line and finishing just a couple of yards ahead of American Chris Leiferman. Everyone was on the edge of their seats. Andreas Dreitz, who was leading the event at the beginning of the run took third place, having been overtaken at the 17 km mark.
In the women’s race, Spain’s Judith Corachán was first out of the water, closely followed by Anja Beranek. On the cycling course, Laura Philipp seemed to fly on her wheels. She also dominated the run and was followed home by Marta Bernardi and Daniela Sammler.
The first edition of the IRONMAN 70.3 in Marbella will be remembered mainly for the heated struggle for the title, but also for the thousands of athletes who competed and the 700 volunteers who were responsible for making the event a huge success.