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Kevin Collington has been on a tear this season picking up wins at IRONMAN Taiwan, IRONMAM 70.3 Costa Rica, IRONMAN 70.3 Monterrey and claimed his 4th victory last Sunday at IRONMAN 70.3 Cartagena.

In water temperatures of 86 degree fahrenheit, Collington finished the swim 6 seconds off the feet of Carlos Quincha, followed closely by Bruno Matheus, Horst Reichel and TJ Tollakson who were all within 17 seconds of the leader. Collington said “With the hot temps, I did my best to hide on the feet of local favorite Carlos Javier Quinchara Forero in the swim in order to keep my effort level as low as possible so I didn’t overheat.” 

The conditions in Colombia were not to be ignored with race day temperatures soaring. Collington described the conditions stating “It wasn’t Taiwan hot but it was close. The “real feel” temperatures were a factor again since Cartagena is located near the equator and it’s very humid. Cartagena delivered a 103F real feel temperature on the run course (Taiwan, for comparison, was 107F as the maximum temp). To battle the temperatures, I used 240 calories of EFS PRO in my Ventum water bottle and 400 calories of EFS Liquid Shot on the bike, with another 300 calories of Liquid Shot in a flask when I started the run – I supplemented with LOTS of water from both bike and run aid stations.”

Strong riding by Tollakson, who opened up near a 1-minute gap by half way mark, put the pressure on Collington who said “The bike was tough. We had a huge headwind on the first 45km and TJ Tollakson was putting the hurt on our front group of myself, Carlos, and the German, Horst Reichel. The wind was so strong that my split on the first 45km of the out-and-back course was 1 hour 9 minutes and the return trip took 56 minutes! TJ got away after 40k and I went to the front to try to minimize his gap. I knew that as long as the gap was less than 5 minutes I still had a chance of winning. With the tailwind I was slammed in my hardest gear and next time I looked back Carlos and Horst were gone and I was all by myself. The draft effect all but disappears in strong tailwinds so the “group dynamics” of riding at legal distances disappears entirely.”

Collington held pace on the bike after the turnaround, building a lead of 4 and a half minutes on Reichel and minimizing his deficit to Tollakson, to 1 minute.

In the opening 6km’s on the run, Tollakson stretched his lead on Collington up to over 2 minutes while Reichel was hovering a further 1:15 back. Collington commented “I got off the bike and according to spectators the gap was anywhere from 3 minutes to 5 minutes (I wasn’t getting accurate splits) but either of those numbers left me with some hope of winning. I felt good starting the run so I just started putting in work, hoping I was making up time. Finally, right before the halfway point of the run a guy told me ’56 seconds!’ and was clearly looking at his watch as I ran by, and that number was WAY too specific to just be a guess. My hope for the win was fully renewed and I ended up catching TJ at the 12km mark. Horst Reichel was charging hard from behind and had the fastest run of the day but ran out of real estate to catch me.”

Consistency with the 2nd fastest swim, bike and run splits set Collington up for his 4th win this season crossing the finish line first in a time of 3:52:56 with over a minute to spare of Reichel. Ending a great season on a high note, Collington said

“Winning Cartagena 70.3 was a great way to close out the 2017 season for me. 3 wins at the 70.3 distance and an IRONMAN win made for my best career season to date.”

“Now I’m excited to have some down time in December and start making plans to make 2018 even more successful.”

IRONMAN 70.3 Cartagena
Cartagena, Colombia
December 3, 2017

1. Kevin Collington 3:52:56
2. Horst Reichel 3:54:01
3. TJ Tollakson 3:55:14
4. Carlos Javier Quinchara Forero 4:05:15
5. Bruno Matheus 4:18:50