With hot and humid temperatures in the high 80s all week in the New York Village of Lake Placid, the weather magically cooled dramatically for race day Sunday, creating near perfect conditions as TJ Tollakson and Vernon’s Heather Wurtele ruled the Ford Ironman Lake Placid.
Wurtele, who defended her Ford Ironman St. George title in May, led the non-wetsuit swim for the women, a situation she had hoped for prior to the race. She exited the water in 57:14, closely shadowed by American Jackie Arendt in 57:16, with Belgium’s Tine Deckers just ten seconds behind.
“I just really stuck to my race plan,” said Wurtele, on her blog. “I was happy it was a non wetsuit swim because the water was really warm. I felt good coming out of the water. If it would have been wetsuit, I would have been massively overheated. It wasn’t my best swim, actually, but I felt Like I could have a solid day from there.”
As she is accustomed to doing, Wurtele took to the front and set the pace for the rest of the women on the bike, but Deckers remained less than one minute behind right up until the 50-mile mark, where she passed Wurtele for a slim race lead. Wurtele remained calm, re-claimed the lead as the two headed out of town for the second lap and, by the end of her 5:08:13 ride, held a three-minute cushion over Deckers.
Wurtele spiritedly ran out of the Olympic Skating Oval and onto the marathon course where she continued to exhibit her strength over the women’s field. She finished with a race best 3:08:24 marathon to win in a course record time of 9:19:03 – breaking Kate Major’s 2004 time of 9:24:42.
Deckers maintained her position to cross the finish line in second (9:34:41).