Matt Hanson won the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City in a calculated effort that came down to a 12-second lead to break the tape for the win.

The host city for the new IRONMAN 70.3 race, Traverse City, is a fall and winter destination tourist town that put together a very favorable race course from Hanson’s point of view, “The course was beautiful and the conditions were perfect for fast racing! The swim was in clear, cool, and calm waters, the bike had a couple decent climbs and constant rolling hills, and the run was flat and fast. Definitely my kind of course!”

Starting off with a point-to-point swim at West Grand Traverse Bay, Hanson emerged 12th out of the water, 1:51 behind the lead swimmer, Hunter Lussi, and 50-60 seconds behind Taylor Reid, Joe Gambles and Justin Metzler. Not the swim he was looking for to start the race, Hanson commented “I had a bad start and got stuck in the back at the beginning of the swim, so I was playing catch-up the rest of the time in the water. I moved forward enough by the time I left T1 to make things manageable on the bike.”

Putting forth a big effort on the bike for the 2nd fasted ride of the day, 3-seconds shy of Stephen Kilshaw, Hanson was able to ride through the field to put himself in contention to fight for the win on the run. “I rode very hard for the first 30 minutes or so to catch up to the leaders. I was hoping to be able to back down a little, but as soon as I got to the front of the group, a few guys started to push to try to get away. I was able to keep in contact with Joe Gambles as he pushed on, and was sitting about 15-20 seconds behind him for the entire second half of the bike, coming into T2 with less than a 30 second gap to the lead.”

Heading into the race, Hanson said “My goal for the race was to run well. I had been struggling to make my run show up in 70.3’s through the first half of the season. I really focused on improving my bike in the off season, which has allowed me to ride a lot harder in races.”

“I’ve struggled a bit to find the balance of how hard I can ride and still unleash a good run. So, this race was all about finding that balance – mission accomplished!”

Backing up his ride effort with a calculated run, Hanson explained “I went through transition quickly and made up 10 seconds through T2 and was able to take the lead by the one-mile mark. Stephen Kilshaw ran with me for a few miles, but I put in a surge around the 5k mark and was able to get a gap. At the half-way point I saw I had a comfortable lead on Stephen and Joe, and I was running about even with Taylor Reid. I knew I had biked hard and backed it down about 15 seconds per mile to try to protect the lead, which turned out to be a bit too much. Taylor was running even splits and started to chew into the 1-minute gap I had on him quickly. I heard someone cheering for him around mile 10 so I knew he had cut the lead too close for comfort. I was able to shift gears the last 5k and hang on to the 15’ish second gap that I still had through the finish.”

Able to hold strong to the finish line, Hanson broke the tape in a time of 3:50:33 for the win stating

“It is always great to take a win, especially in an inaugural race! Traverse City did a fantastic job hosting the event, definitely a course I look forward to returning to in future years.”

Taylor Reid ran his way to 2nd place clocking in at 3:50:45 followed by Stephen Kilshaw in 3rd in a time of 3:52:22.

IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City
Traverse City, Michigan
August 25, 2019

1 Matt Hanson 3:50:33
2 Taylor Reid 3:50:45
3 Stephen Kilshaw 3:52:22
4 Joe Gambles 3:54:18
5 Hunter Lussi 3:56:28
6 Patrick Brady 3:57:57
7 Andrew Keily 4:00:09
8 Matthew Alford 4:01:37
9 Curtis Feltner 4:02:34
10 Blake Becker 4:03:09