July 18, 2010

Champion Craig Alexander wins first Ironman 70.3 Racine

Craig Alexander's daughter, Lucy, 5, runs the last few yards of the Ironman with him

About 20 yards from the finish line, Ironman 70.3 Racine leader Craig Alexander headed for the sidelines, where he met his jubilant daughter, Lucy, 5, and shared a kiss and hug with his wife, Nerida, and son, Austin, 1.

Only then did he and Lucy -- holding hands -- run past the finish line to officially win Racine's inaugural Ironman, successor to the Spirit of Racine Triathlon.

Alexander's unofficial time was 3:48.56. Second place, a few minutes later -- official times not yet available -- went to fellow Australian Matt White, right, acknowledging crowd's applause as he approached the finish line.

 New Zealander Samantha Warriner was the first woman to cross the finish line, leading from the start -- by 15 seconds after the swim -- and stretching her lead to three minutes at one point, but finally crossing the finish line just 10 seconds ahead of Kate Major of Australia. Magali Tisseyre of Canada came in third. Racine is Warriner's third Ironman victory this year.

Alexander's victory was no surprise. Crowie, as he is known, was second out of the water after the 1.2 mile swim, and had been favored to win here, if only because of his championships in 2008 and 2009. Asked how many Ironman victories he's had, he could only shrug and say, "a bunch." OK, how about this year? That answer he has: "Six."

"I tried to do my own pace," he said. "I'm happy. This is a great race.

White said he had no illusions going into the race, knowing he was up against Alexander. "It was just a matter of trying to race smart," he said. "It's my best result in America so far." He made lots of friends in Racine, by autographing volunteers' shirts. He even gave his Ironman medal to a fan, to little Erin LaPlante of Racine.

 Samantha Warriner leads Kate Major from the swim; they were close at the end, too

Erin LaPlante shows off medal given her by  Matt White, as her brother Garrett looks on
Not to be out-done, Alexander autographs Park High student Nikki Wilson's shirt

Original post:

 Pro men athletes were first into the water as Ironman Racine 70.3 got under way

Right on time -- as befits an event that measures success in hundredths of a second -- the first Ironman Racine 70.3 began at 7 a.m. Sunday morning, with the first heat of professional athletes running into the water of Lake Michigan from North Beach.

The pro men were followed three minutes later by pro women, and then by age-group heats, all swimming the 1.2 mile course, to be followed by a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1 half-marathon. There are 2,000 participants.

The first athletes will cross the finish line about 11 a.m. One of those expected to be up front is two-time Ironman champion Craig Alexander of Australia. He was off to a great start, coming out of the water at the end of the quick swim among the leaders.  At right: Alexander just before the start of the swim.

Quick facts about Ironman Racine 

Behind-the-scenes pictures

More background on the race

 The start of the pro women's heat

 One of the first pro women out of the water and ready for the race's bike portion

Cyclist zips past onlookers at the Zoo
Before their own race, they cheered on friends and relatives

Relax. Kelly Kanter of Glenview, IL, neither raced nor gave birth.
(Her baby is due in two weeks). She cheered on husband Max.