Cunningham and Zeiger win Longhorn 70.3
AUSTIN, Texas – On a picture perfect central Texas day, Richie Cunningham and Joanna Zeiger prevailed over a talented field of contenders to win the Longhorn Ironman 70.3 triathlon.
Cunningham’s “home” turf
Cunningham of Australia, now living in Austin, moved from 4th after the 1.2-mile swim to take the lead late on the hilly 56-mile bike course. Once on the 13.1-mile run he maintained a nearly 30 second gap over runner-up, Brian Fleischmann of the USA. “The swim was easy but the rest of the race was hard. The bike is constant ups and downs and Greg Bennett rode hard and eventually we caught up to him,” Cunningham said while still catching his breath, “then the run, is hilly and technical too.” Cunningham finished in 3 hours, 48 minutes, 55 seconds. This is a repeat win for Cunningham.
Joanna regains confidence
Zeiger, of Boulder, Colorado, said she was roughed up a bit at the swim start but eventually found the open water. Once she did, she lead the ladies out of the lake. She was caught on the bike by Nicole Hofer of Germany but once on the run Zeiger regained the lead early. By the time she finished the first loop of the three loop run she had a 30 second lead over Hofer and Tereza Macel of Canada. She pushed the pace and finished over two minutes ahead of her chasers in a time of 4 hours, 14 minutes, 53 seconds.
The 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Champion has been searching for the cause to bouts of severe dizziness plaguing her since last November causing her to drop out of three races. “I’m very happy with my race today,” she said just minutes afterward, “After the up and downs this year it’s good to do well and take a win into Clearwater.”
Both Cunningham and Zeiger are headed to the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, Florida on November 14.
1. Richie Cunningham (AUS) 3:48:55
2. Brian Fleischmann (USA) 3:50:43
3. Alessandro Degasperi (ITA) 3:51:15
4. Luke Bell (AUS) 3:51:51
5. Massimo Cigana (ITA) 3:52:28
1. Joanna Zeiger (USA) 4:14:53
2. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:17:14
3. Nicole Hofer (GER) 4:20:44
4. Kelly Williamson (USA) 4:21:45
5. Tereza Macel (CAN-CZE) 4:26:46
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Story photo courtesy of Leonard Glick.