Will Clarke took an outstanding 3rd place finish at the Ironman North American Championship in Texas. The BMC-Vifit Sport athlete played things smart all race long to run his way onto the podium in the final 10k of the closing marathon. He finished the race in 7:45:22 to post another sub-8 hour finish. Matt Hanson (USA; 7:39:25) won the race and saw Ivan Tutukin (RUS; 7:39:57) cross the line in 2nd.
The day after, his team mate, Chris Leiferman crossed the line in 2nd place in IM70.3 Marbella in a millimeter sprint finish against David McNamee (GBR; 3:57:47). Leiferman came really close to the win after an epic battle decided by the tiniest of margins. He finished the race in the same time as the winner 3:57:47. Andreas Dreitz (GER; 3:58:43) completed the podium.
World class performance
At the tail of a very big group, Will Clarke exited the water in 14th position, trailing the lead by less than 50”. In the first 26k on the bike, Will jumped to 8th place to settle himself in the middle of the big chase group of 13 athletes. The British athlete made sure to match the pace of the big consolidating as much enegery as possible, knowing it was going to be decided in the closing marathon. While the American Starykowicz gave his all on the bike and build up an advantage of 15’ over the chase group, Will started the run in 6th place, battling for 3rd.
On the run as well, Will didn’t overdo it and found his own pace. He started to pass athletes and was in control of 4th place halfway through the marathon. The BMC-Vifit Sport kept running strong in the second half of the closing marathon to pass Starykowicz for 3rd with less than 10k to go. To never put that podium finish in danger, Clarke kept pushing hard to cross the line in 7:45:22 and post the 3rd fastest running split of the day (2:40:44).
An excellent performance as Will Clarke posted his third sub-8 hour finish of his career.
Will was over the moon with his performance: "Finishing 3rd place, 7h45, 2h40 marathon, one of the fastest times in Ironman ever. I am absolutely buzzing, that was one of my best racing experiences ever, one of my biggest achievements in my whole career. I just want to say a big thank you to everybody who has been supporting me, my family, my wife, my parents, my coach, friends and supporters and everybody who has helped me back on track post shoulder injury. And my team BMC-Vifit Sport for always believing in me. I am so proud we could do it."
Chris Leiferman 2nd after photo finish in Ironman Marbella
Chris Leiferman exited the water in 18th position, 1’16 back of the lead. In the first few kilometres of the bike the deficit grew to more than 2’, but then Chris started to claw time back. Just over halfway through the bike, the BMC-Vifit Sport athlete moved his way up to 5th place, trailing the lead by less than 40”. The American stayed in contention entering T2 in 3rd place 2'20 from the lead.
Together with McNamee, the American started his chase to the front of the race. From that point it was obvious those two would run the half marathon shoulder to shoulder the whole time. Together they built up the pace to pass Guillaume for 2nd. The duo was now on the hunt for Dreitz, who was leading the race at that moment in time. With less than 5k to go, Leiferman took over the lead, accompanied by McNamee. It was going to go down to the wire between those two guys. Eventually a sprint had to decide who would take the win. After a photo finish, Chris crossed the line in 2nd place, few inches short of the win.