First Endurance triathlete Kevin Collington broke out for his first full IRONMAN distance professional win at IRONMAN Taiwan, adding to his two IRONMAN 70.3 victories earlier this season.
Setting the pace early on, Collington, Balazs Csoke and Jaroslav Kovacic separated the field by 3 minutes and 15 seconds out of the water. Notching the fastest swim, Collington took further advantage in transition to get out of sight, riding solo for the entire 180km bike. “I lead a small group of three out of the water and immediately got a gap through transition and out onto the bike. This was the start of what ended up being a long and lonely day for me out front in brutal conditions.”
Managing his body temperature and staying on top of his nutrition is what Collington said allowed him to execute on his “slow and steady wins the race” strategy to survive the brutal Southeast Asia heat. “With 85F degree temps and 90% humidity, the “real feel” temperature soared above 100F early into the bike and stayed that way all the way to the finish line. It was all about managing the conditions while maintaining the fastest speed possible. I started the bike with 360 calories (three single serve packets) of EFS PRO and an entire EFS Liquid Shot watered down in my aerobar bottle. I came to a dead stop at several of the aid stations along the bike course just to make sure I could grab the fluids and ice I needed to keep going and not end up in the hospital. Getting electrolytes in was a key focus. On the run I had EFS liquid shot and walked each aid station so the run essentially became 21 x 2km run sections with a walking break. I was just trying to keep my body temperature down while maintaining decent form and not having a mental or emotional breakdown!”
Continuing to push the pace on the bike, by the half way point Collington had built a lead of over 5 minutes to Kovacic and was up on Marino Vanhoenacker, who led the chase out of the water, by 7 minutes. Heading into transition Kovacic had whittled Collington’s advantage down to 1:35 while Vanhoenacker was hovering 6:34 behind Collington.
Early in the run Vahoenacker moved into 2nd, pulling back close to 2 minutes on Collington over the first third of the marathon. Collington held it together fighting back to build over a 9-minute advantage by the mid-way mark. Clocking a 3:07:27 race best marathon split, Collington finished in 8:34:38, 12:01 ahead of second place Vanhoenacker and 35:07 on eventual third place finisher Simon Cochrane.
Earning his first IRONMAN distance win, Collington said “It feels great to have won my first Ironman here in Taiwan.”
“It was a special day for me and it’s nice to have “Ironman Champion” on my resume!”
“The conditions were especially brutal and hot out there so it gives me confidence that I can race well in Kona next year”.
October 1, 2017
1. Kevin Collington (USA) 8:34:38
2. Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 8:46:39
3. Simon Cochrane (NZL) 9:09:45
4. Mikolaj Luft (POL) 9:28:48
5. Guy Crawford (NZL) 9:46:53