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In an already successful breakout season, Sam Long added to his two 70.3 victories in Chattanooga and Victoria this season by cracking his first professional IRONMAN win this past weekend to take the top step at IRONMAN Chattanooga.

Heading into the race well rested, Long was ready to push his limits as he always does yet, this time with a little more patience. Long finished the swim with a 4:41 deficit to Antoine Jolicoeur Desroches, who led the field out of the water. A talented rider, Long typically pushes the pace and makes the race on the bike but he explained how his pre-race tactics didn’t unfold to his intentions but was able to remain flexible and adjust with the flow of the race. “The race played out very differently than I had intended and planned. My intention was to have a very conservative bike and let the other favorites set the pace and save myself for the run. However, when I saw the opportunity and had the legs on the bike, I went for it.”

Once he decided to go for it, Long threw down a decisively dominant ride in a time of 4:23:51. Building a huge lead to buffer the fast running Matt Russell, who had the 2nd best ride, 8:21 slower than Long.

Only to be outpaced by Russell on the run by 48 seconds, Long said “I went with an aggressive first half run to essentially crush my competitors’ spirit of being able to pass me. The second loop was brutal, but I hung tough.”

Exuberant to break the tape in a time of 8:22:20 to be rewarded with the IRONMAN Chattanooga title, Long said

“I’m on Clould 9 after my first IRONMAN win! I’ve always known I was capable and have dreamed of this and worked for it for a long time.”

The reality is still setting in, but I feel incredibly proud of myself.” With the fastest run on the day, Russell crossed the line 9:28 later to take 2nd in a time of 8:31:48 and Nicholas Chase rounded out the podium in a time of 8:49:29.

PC:@ironmantri @ gettyimages

At 23-years of age, Long looks to have a lengthy bright career ahead of him, remarking “This win to me really means that I have been right to trust myself as an IRONMAN caliber athlete, despite my age. I have heard for many years that I’m too young to really compete and that I should stay away from IRONMAN for at least another five years. I’ve always believed in myself though and this win tells me of the future I can have in IRONMAN. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a goal achieved that I have worked for with my heart and soul and I’m going to enjoy and love that.”

IRONMAN Chattanooga
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Sep 29, 2019

1 Sam Long 8:22:20
2 Matt Russell 8:31:48
3 Nicholas Chase 8:49:29
4 Patrick Brady 8:54:51
5 Adam Feigh 8:58:55
6 Clay Emge 9:07:15
7 Benson Hall 9:18:08
8 Eliot Scymanski 9:19:07
9 Colin Laughery 9:31:57
10 Marcus Hultgren 9:37:39