OCEANSIDE — More than 2,500 people competed in the Rohto Ironman 70.3 California in Oceanside on March 27. The Rohto Ironman is the kick-off event for the U.S. Ironman season. It challenges athletes to complete in a 1.2-mile harbor swim, 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run, for a total of 70.3 miles of racing. Pros competed for $30,000 in overall prize money and all racers are eligible for 25 age group qualifying spots in the Ford Ironman World Championship.
The first wave of competitors hit the 60-degree harbor water at 6:45 a.m. Athletes had one hour and 10 minutes to complete the 1.2-mile swim, five hours and 30 minutes from the start of the race to complete the 56-mile bike ride, and eight hours and 30 minutes from the initial start time to compete the 13.1-mile run.
Following the swim, the 56-mile one-loop bike course through Oceanside Harbor and Camp Pendleton includes some challenging hills. The race finishes with the 13.1-mile run on a flat, two-loop course along The Strand and South Street.
At the finish line, Challenged Athletes Foundation spokesperson Cody McCasland, 8, of Texas, awarded winners their medals.
Michael Raelert, of Germany, took men’s first with a time of 3 hours, 58 minutes and 27 seconds and a win of $6,000. Raelert also placed first in the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship in November and sits as reigning world champ.
Matt Reed, of Boulder, Colo., came in second, at 4:01:17 and won $4,000. Reed came in first last year, but said he was surprised he did as well as second this time out. “It was very different,” Reed said, comparing his performance to last year. “I was not as fit on the bike. I noticed every single little bump in the road. I struggled on the run as well.”
Reed finished third at the Miami International Triathlon two weeks ago and said he struggled on the bike in that race, too. His next race will be the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in Florida in April.
Mirinda Carfrae of Australia, who trains in Colorado and California, took first place in women’s. She improved on her winning time last year by four minutes, completing the race in 4:20:29. “To win the first race of the season is so nice,” Carfrae said. Overall Carfrae came in 20th, right behind the top 19 men.
Carfrae said her swim and bike ride were solid, but she broke away to win in the final run. “I’m a runner, that’s my thing,” Carfrae said.
Close behind Carfrae were Lesley Patterson at 4:24:31 and Samantha McGlone at 4:26:43.
Last year Carfrae won six of the eight triathlons she competed in and came in second in the other two.
Carfrae compliments the Oceanside triathlon as being one of the best-organized races. “It’s so well-run and draws a big crowd,” Carfrae said. “It’s a good early season test.”
Carfrae will also be competing in the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in April.
For complete race results, visit www.ironman.com.
For video from the event, visit coastnewsgroup.com.