It was a solid weekend of racing for Bahrain Endurance 13 as the athletes claimed gold and silver medals at the Commonwealth Games, Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, and Ironman 70.3 Texas.
Ashleigh Gentle played a key role during her leg of the triathlon mixed relay to get Australia across the line first for gold. As the penultimate athlete on the four-person team, it fell to Gentle to make up a 15-second deficit to England on the bike. She then set up a 39-second lead on the run as she handed off to Jake Birtwhistle. Australia’s anchor athlete increased that lead by 13 seconds over the course of his leg to wrap up the win versus Alistair Brownlee, who brought England home for silver.
After a fifth place finish in the individual event earlier in the week, Gentle felt grateful for the opportunity to redeem herself as part of the winning mixed relay. “It’s not going to sink in for a while, I can’t believe I’ve got a Commonwealth Games gold medal and to feel as though I gave so much to the team as well, it’s really satisfying,” Gentle said. “I’m just so glad I was able to perform for the team.”
Brownlee, who finished 10th in the individual race with a calf injury, commented, “I thought even if I got it together it would be close. We talked through every combination last night, and we knew it would be with Australia but we didn’t pick this… We’ll keep progressing and preparing for the Olympics.”
Meanwhile, Jan Frodeno opened his racing season with a wire-to-wire win at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside. The two-time Ironman world champion and Olympic gold medalist was in a different league, finishing almost four minutes ahead of reigning Ironman world champion Lionel Sanders.
Frodeno said, “When some of the best are racing you can just never ease up, especially when Lionel is on the hunt. Sharing the podium with another world champ Tim Reed makes champagne taste like the best drink ever.”
Holly Lawrence led through most of the race at Oceanside, but a fleet Anne Haug put together the day’s fastest bike and run splits to overtake her for the win. Lawrence held on for second, with five minutes separating her and final podium placer Sarah True.
Lawrence said, “Congrats to Anne Haug – we knew she had a killer run but can she bike too — look out, girls! First race in the books and time to get back to work!. Love racing the best and Oceanside never disappoints!”
Ben Kanute wrapped up Bahrain Endurance’s race weekend by taking his first Ironman 70.3 win in Texas against a highly competitive field. While he emerged from the swim in first, Andrew Starykowicz battled him for the lead on the bike. It came down to Kanute’s stellar run to put him back out in front for the eventual win with a two-minute buffer against a hard-charging Michael Weiss.
Kanute said, “Windy and cold this morning along with a deep field made for a tough race. Really happy to be able to break the tape!” He thanked his coach and added, “It has been a great start to the season, and I am looking forward to keeping the momentum rolling.”
(Photo: Bahrain Endurance 13)