Emma Pallant wins Challenge Gran Canaria, Ronnie Schildknecht & Will Clarke both go sub 8 hours to claim 2nd & 4th at North American Championship Ironman
It was a very successful Saturday for the BMC-Etixx Team. In Challenge Gran Canaria Emma Pallant took an impressive win shaving 7 minutes of the course record. A few hours later Ronnie Schildknecht crossed the finish line of the North American Championship Ironman in Texas in 2nd place as his teammate Will Clarke just came seconds short for 3rd place. Both athletes finished under 8 hours.
Victory for Emma Pallant in Challenge Gran Canaria
Emma Pallant took the victory in Challenge Gran Canaria after a fantastic run. She crossed the finish line in 4:35:15 to smash the previous course record with more than 7 minutes. Pallant had an advantage of only 6 seconds on Lucy Charles (GBR; 4:35:21) in second. Daniela Ryf (CHE; 4:38:35) completed the podium.
Her race started with a solid swim as Emma entered T1 in 5th position with a deficit of 4’30 over the lead. Once on the bike the BMC-Etixx athlete felt great and started to close down the gap to the front. At the 40k mark Pallant moved up a spot to settle for 4th. In the second leg of the bike she continued to push and managed to move up another place to jump off her bike in 3rd together with Jameson. The difference to Charles in second was 2’30 and even 5’ towards leader Ryf at the start of the run. The best part of Pallant’s race was yet to come. In the first kilometers the British athlete immediately found her great running legs and she made up 1’20 in the first 7k. After 15k Emma passed Ryf to move up to 2nd place and was trailing leader Charles in her footsteps. Pallant gave her all to take over the lead of the race in the final kilometers. At the finish line the difference was only 6 seconds between Pallant and Charles in second. An exceptional 1h15 half marathon time, helped Emma to smash the course record in Gran Canaria by more than 7 minutes.
Over the moon
Emma Pallant was delighted to take the victory in such a strong field: "Never give up the chase, I am super happy with my win. It was a tough swim as some of the age group athletes were swimming head on into the Pro's on the 2nd lap. So I came out further down than I would have liked, however it made a good day of chasing on the bike and run. It was overall a fantastic course and extremely happy to take the win here today!"
Ronnie Schildknecht 2nd at North American Championship Ironman in Texas, team mate Will Clarke only few seconds short for podium
At the North American Championship Ironman in Texas Ronnie Schildknecht ran to an astonishing second place. He crossed the finishline after 7:56:21. His teammate Will Clarke (7:59:02) came 33 seconds short to join him on the podium. The victory was for Matt Hanson (USA; 7:52:44) as Tyler Butterfield (BMU; 7:58:29) completed the podium.
The day began with a good swim for Will Clarke, entering T1 in 8th place and trailing the lead by only 21 seconds. Ronnie exited the water in 19th position, 4’39 back from the leading group.
Early on the bike a big chase group took form and Will decided to settle in the middle of that group. Just over halfway of the bike leg also Ronnie managed to join the group of 17 athletes. Closing that gap gave Schildknecht confidence for the rest of his race. In the final kilometers Will lost the touch with the group and rode his own pace, knowing there was a lot of work left in the marathon.
Jumping off his bike in 7th and 4’20 back to 2nd place, Ronnie immediately put his eyes towards the front. The Swiss-athlete didn’t give his all in the beginning of the run, but managed to build up his pace as the race continued. Will dropped back to 12th at the start of his marathon, but charged his way through the field to put himself in 7th place after 16k.
Halfway through the run the BMC-Etixx athletes were 5th and 6th, both knowing they had still something left in the tank to attack the guys in front of them.
Passing the 27k mark in 3rd place clearly gave Ronnie a boost. He was hungry for more and went after Butterfield to battle for 2nd. Meanwhile Will gave his all to join the fight for the podium. With 9k to go Schildknecht managed to pass Butterfield for second, as Clarke tried to make it a 2 and 3 for BMC-Etixx. Ronnie kept going strong to finish the race in 7:56:21. Also Will pushed hard towards the end, but came half a minute short to take the final podium spot. With the fastest running split for Will (2:42:01) and the 3rd fastest for Ronnie (2:43:38) both athletes managed to finish the race sub-8 hours.
"To say I am happy would be an understatement, reflected Ronnie after the race, it was such a tough fight and hard fought second place, but I am very pleased with my performance and the result today. It is also means I have secured my qualification for the WC in Hawaii which sets me up really well for the rest of the season."
Also Will Clarke was over the moon with his result: “After the injury that set my back a few weeks ago, running my fastest marathon time is superb. I was trying my hardest to close the gap to the podium but in the last 5K everything was really hurting. Overall I am very satisfied with my performance. I had a very good swim. The only unfortunate fact was that on the bike, I received a penalty for littering. An energy bar dropped out of my pocket and I got sanctioned for littering, but I made it back to the group afterwards. Anyway, I'm really happy with the performance and thanks so much to everyone who supported me!”