Making IRONMAN 70.3 Campeche a habit, Heather Wurtele cracked her season opener in Mexico for the third year in a row this past weekend. Wurtele not only defended her title but pulled off the 3-peat – winning each edition of IRONMAN 70.3 Campeche since its inception in 2017.
Drawn to the race for multiple reasons, Heather said “I really like Campeche. The people are super friendly and the whole vibe leading up to the race is super relaxed. It’s easy to get all the training done with a great 50m pool, safe roads to ride on, and a nice pedestrian corridor along the ocean for running. All these things add up to make the whole race experience enjoyable, even though, every year, the heat is pretty brutal. This was the toughest race of the three I’ve done down here for sure. The late start meant that it was even hotter and the wind was even stronger than usual. I did my best to prepare for the heat with hot tub heat protocols at home, and overdressing for training sessions, which really does help”
Out of the water with a group of 5, including eventual 2nd place finisher Jacalyn Hering, Wurtele faced a similar scenario as last year – a 3 minute 5 second deficit to phenomenal swimmer Lauren Brandon, who was faster than all but two of the pro men. With very strong winds, the athletes were faced with tough conditions in the water, as Wurtele described “The swim was the roughest I’ve ever done with really big swells and white caps. A few lung-fulls of water made for some stressful moments, but everyone had to deal with the same challenges.”
The power house cyclist brought back a minute in the first 15k of the bike and by the 53 km mark, Wurtele had whittled Brandon’s lead down to 1:04 while continuing to distance the rest of the field. With less than 10km remaining on the bike, Wurtele blazed pass Brandon and built a lead of 1:27 by the time she hit the second transition. Wurtele, who laid down the fastest bike split 4:32 faster than the 2nd best ride of Brandon, said “It’s always tough coming out of the water several minutes behind super swimmer Lauren Brandon, but I was happy to catch her on the last lap of the bike and have a bit of a lead off the front on to the run.” Speedy runner Hering was off the bike near 4 and a half minutes after Brandon.
Wurtele’s strong running allowed her to extend her lead on Brandon, but Hering’s race best run speed was pulling back the advantage Wurtele held on her. Holding off the hard charge from Hering to break the finish tape, Wurtele comented “Jackie was pushing hard on the run so I definitely couldn’t ease up. The crowd was really cheering for me with many people holding up three fingers for win #3 so that was super cool and gave me extra motivation for sure!”
Thrilled to pull off the 3-peat winning IRONMAN 70.3 Campeche in a time of 4:15:23, Wurtele said
“I was really happy to win again this year! It’s never easy to defend a title, and you can never take for granted everything coming together well on race day.”
“I just felt solid across all three disciplines and kept my effort under control the best I could to manage the heat”.
IRONMAN 70.3 Campeche
March 17, 2019
1. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:15:23
2. Jacalyn Hering (USA) 4:16:16
3. Lauren Brandon (USA) 4:27:17
4. Maria Eugenia Barrera (MEX) 4:27:58
5. Ewa Komander (POL) 4:34:59