Triathlon Championship live updates from St. George, Utah

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Competitors in the professional men’s category prepare to start their triathlon at the Ironman World Championship on Saturday, May 7, 2022 in St. George.

Patience is considered a virtue, and both Christian Blumenfeldt and Daniela Reeve are masters.

After waiting two years to compete for the Ironman World Championship due to COVID-19, Norwegian and Swiss triathletes had to wait their time as they picked their competitors on the streets of St. George on Saturday. However, after about eight hours of fighting – most of which was on the dry, 90-degree heat of the hills – everyone bowed their heads to accept the victor’s wreath.

“It was a brutal process,” said Blummenfelt, 28.

St. George became the first place outside of Hawaii to host a triathlon, as organizers made it clear last fall that strict coronavirus restrictions in the Hawaiian Islands could prevent them from hosting the event there for the second year in a row. The move means racers will be battling for the title in May, when most have just come out of winter training in the basement. That means they’ll be doing freshwater swims in 65-degree water, making it the first championship to require wetsuits. That means they have to deal with hills – lots of hills. The bike route has an elevation gain of more than 7,000 feet, while the run adds another 1,200 feet.

Ryf didn’t mind at all.

She said, thinking as she rode, “I had a great time today even if I wasn’t going to win.”

This is reflected in her performance. Ryf, the 2015-18 four-peat champion, trailed in the 2.4-mile swim. However, once she was in the saddle for a 112-mile bike ride, she ran into the lead. She held the lead in the marathon and crossed the field in 8:34:59, raising her hand at the finish line to represent her five titles. Britain’s Kat Matthews (8:43:49) finished second and 2019 defending champion Anne Haug (8:47:03) finished third. Haug overtook Salt Lake City’s own Skye Moench in the opening stages of the marathon, but held on to fourth place in St. George’s Moench (8:55:21) who ran several Ironman 70.3 races

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Skye Moench competes in the Ironman World Championship Triathlon on Saturday, May 7, 2022 in St. George.

It’s my first world championship, so it’s special to do it in Utah,” she said. “The fourth is a pretty good result. I feel like I did everything I could and you have to be happy about it. “

Despite numerous cancellations and delays, like all triathletes, Blummenfelt has had a stellar year. Last July, he won a triathlon gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which is actually taking place in 2021.

Blummenfelt was well behind the leaders in the swim across the Sand Hollow Reservoir on Saturday. After slowing his way through the pack, he grabbed the race leader on the run and sprinted off the finish line.

“I was a little relieved to see that I was catching up. Then I was ahead, but there was still 40K to go,” he said. “Luckily, the final 5K was downhill.”

Blummenfelt conquered the unique St George’s event with a time of 7:49:16. The previous best time was 8:32:00, set on a slightly different route in 2011. Second was Canadian Lionel Sanders (7:54:03), who passed New Zealand’s Braden Curry in dramatic fashion in the final half mile. Colorado’s Chris Liverman (7:57:43) was fourth and No. 1 in the United States.

“Everybody played to their strengths,” Sanders said. “That’s something I’ll never forget.”

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