Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Who was the real women's winner of IMC?

A quick word on who exactly won the woman's race at IMC.
By Clint Lien

First of all I want to make it clear that I do not coach Gillian Clayton nor is she a member of Mercury Rising Triathlon.  In almost every report I've read on the race it's stated that Gillian Clayton won the professional category of the event but immediately following that they make note that age grouper Kendra Lee actually had the fastest time of the day.

Some suggest that Gillian's win should come with an asterix.

I want to suggest otherwise.

I don't want to take anything away from Lee's awesome effort out there but it simply isn't right to suggest she was somehow the real winner of the race.

A glance at Clayton's swim time suggests it was a pretty lonely start to the day.  She had no draft there -- except maybe the occasional fast (really fast) age grouper who would have gone by like a Greyhound in the night.  You're never lonely in the age group swim.

From there it was onto the bike -- and more loneliness.  She was out there solo.  Lots of targets in the age group race though.

On to the run.  She had a few girls to run down -- one of them was Janelle Morrison on the comeback trail.  Janelle is a dangerous runner and it took Gillian until the 21st K to make the pass.  At that point she knew she was running faster than her competition.  She ran the pace she needed to win the race.  The last 2k of the run were spent easing up and taking it in.  An Ironman champion.  Had she needed to, I have no doubt she could have responded to another challenge.  How much faster?  We'll never know.

Kendra Lee was in a different race with different dynamics -- in that race she was victorious.

Last year Gillian Clayton was not 5th woman overall.  She was the first age grouper.


  1. also, i am assuming the rules there would have been the same as our US ironmans, meaning that the draft zone for AGers is, literally, 3 meters less than that of the pros. and, the age group women can legally take advantage of slipstreaming as they make their way through the large field of competitors. different rules. different race. period.

  2. Great post! Totally different race. Congrats to GILLIAN she was FANTASTIC and win well deserved.

  3. Being able to slip stream is probably the biggest advantage AGers have over Pro field. It is the same once a race is "won", unless their is some sort of incentive to break course records etc, why unnecessarily beat yourself up. Pro vs AGer is really a completely different ballgame. One is a very strategic race, the other is mostly a time-trial.

    Thomas Gerlach
    Professional Triathlete