KAILUA-KONA >> Belgium’s Frederik Van Lierde won the Ironman World Championship on Saturday, running down the leaders and bursting into the lead with less than 10 miles to go.
Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae took the women’s race for the second time, shaving nearly 2 minutes off the course record and lowering her own race marathon record by nearly 3 minutes.
In muggy, but calm conditions, the 34-year-old Van Lierde finished the 2.4-mile ocean swim, 112-mile bike ride through lava fields and marathon run in 8 hours, 12 minutes, 29 seconds to become the second Belgian winner. It was the eighth-fastest time in the 35-year history of the event.
“I tried to be smart and it worked out,” said Van Lierde, third last year. “After last year, I believed I could do it. I worked hard this year. This is amazing. I don’t understand yet what this means to me. This is the best crowd you can imagine. Thank you so much, everybody.”
Australia’s Luke McKenzie was second, followed by Germany’s Sebastian Kienle.
Luc Van Lierde was the first Belgian winner in 1996. The two are not related, but are good friends.
The 32-year-old Carfrae, also the 2010 winner, finished in 8:52:14 to break the mark of 8:54:02 set by Britain’s Chrissie Wellington in 2009. She ran the marathon in 2:50:39 — the third-fastest overall time of the day
“I felt unbelievable today. Beautiful weather,” Carfrae said. “And the crowd is incredible.”
Britain’s Rachel Joyce was second, and countrywoman Liz Blatchford finished third.