Axel Zeebroek has finished eighth in today’s half Ironman Panama. His final time: 3:51:24. Javier Gomez (Spain; 3:38:28) won the race. Second and third place went to Matt Chrabot (USA; 3:42:12) and Bertrand Billard (France; 3:43:24) respectively.
Angela Naeth (Canada; 4:04:58) was the fastest pro woman. Catriona Morrison (GB; 4:06:16) and Svenja Bazlen (Germany; 4:08:12) took silver and bronze.
“A strong race ultimately marred by the heat,” would be an appropriate summary of Axel’s Ironman 70.3 Panama. After a very fast swim start, he came out of the water (16:31) second, just 2 seconds behind fastest swimmer Gomez. Axel followed up with an excellent bike leg. Power cyclist Starykowicz quickly took the lead, but Axel was going strong in the chase group. He started the half marathon in fourth position, just 3 minutes behind Starykowicz. However, the heat quickly took its toll on Axel, turning the run into a struggle. After overcoming cramps, Axel was able to finish eighth.
“I can’t be super happy with this result, but I am also not terribly disappointed,” said Axel after the race. “It was really hot, more than 30 degrees Celsius, and it really bothered me in the run. At the start of the half marathon, I was dealing with midriff cramping. I stopped twice to stretch because the cramps were making it difficult to breathe. In the second round, I felt better and I tried to accelerate. But that was a little too ambitious. I really struggled towards the end, basically running from aid station to aid station. My goal was top seven, which would ensure a solid number of Kona Pro Ranking points. But I just didn’t have it in me today. On the other hand, I swam well and I felt strong on the bike. And that matters because this race was first and foremost part of my preparation for next month’s Ironman Melbourne. I have worked hard over the past weeks and I feel that I should be able to do well in Melbourne.”