Triathlete and former Australian national champion steeplechaser Melissa Hauschildt is used to making up lost time at triathlons by running down her competitors during the last leg. So at Sunday’s Boulder 70.3 with more than a five-minute lead as she started the run, Hauschildt was on edge.
“(I was) a bit nervous about the run getting off on the lead,” she said. “I’m not usually in the lead. I’m usually chasing down. Running a bit scared is a bit different.”
Hauschildt dominated the women’s race, winning in 4 hours, 4 minutes and 36 seconds. The next fastest female finisher, 2012 70.3 world champion Leanda Cave, finished nearly 13 minutes behind Hauschildt, with 4:17:26.
Though she came out of the water sixth after the 1.9-kilometer swim in the Boulder Reservoir, Hauschildt quickly chased down the race leaders, passing Cave at around 18K and eventual third-place finisher Amanda Stevens at around 41K during the 90K bike leg.
Hauschildt ran the 21K third leg in 1:22:38, seven minutes faster than second-place finisher Cave. The 30-year-old said she has focused so much on swimming and cycling in recent months that the run, her speciality, felt slow on Sunday.
Cave and Stevens, who train together with coach Siri Lindley in Boulder, crossed the finish line and both nearly collapsed. Cave, who trailed Stevens for almost the entire race, pushed hard during the last mile of the run and passed Stevens to win by 23 seconds. Stevens finished third in 4:17:59.
“It was a very painful last mile, I think, for both of us,” Cave said.
Men’s winner Joe Gambles successfully defended his back-to-back Boulder 70.3 titles, winning his third-straight Boulder 70.3 in 3:44:41. Both Gambles and women’s winner Hauschildt earned $10,000 in prize money. The nearly 40-person pro field competed for $50,000 in total prize money.
Australian Jimmy Seear came out of the water with more than a minute lead, and held off a small pack to finish the bike leg out front. But Gambles, who lives and trains in Boulder, took control during the first few strides of the run and finished with a nearly two-minute gap on second-place finisher Greg Bennett.
Bennett, who also lives in Boulder, finished in 3:46:23. The 41-year-old has been racing professionally since the early 1990s, but said he doesn’t think about age when he’s out on the course.
“I’m thinking about how I can win,” he said, laughing.
After stopping to stretch out a cramp in his right thigh, Bennett said he “sprinted” to cut Gambles’ lead. Gambles noticed he was losing time to Bennett, and with around four miles to go, he pushed harder to hold on to the lead.
“I just really dug in between the last three or four miles and then I was able to relax a little bit, but my legs were buckling by the end,” Gambles said.
New Zealand triathlete Callum Millward finished third for the men in 3:47:53.
2013 Boulder 70.3
1. Joe Gambles, 3:44:41; 2. Greg Bennett, 3:46.23; 3. Callum Millward, 3:47:53; 4. Paul Ambrose, 3:51:40; 5. Jordan Jones, 3:53:20; 6.Mario De Elias, 3:53:55; 7. Ben Hoffman, 3:54:23; 8. Michael Lovato, 3:55:12; 9. Justin Daerr, 3:55:37; 10. Adam Bohach, 3:56:44.
1. Melissa Hauschildt, 4:04:36; 2. Leanda Cave, 4:17:26; 3. Amanda Stevens, 4:17:59; 4. Uli Bromme, 4:19:53; 5. Jeanni Seymour, 4:21:54; 6. Christine Anderson, 4:23:39; 7. Whitney Garcia, 4:25:18; 8. Amy Marsh, 4:26:03; 9. Kaitlin Anelauskas, 4:28:12; 10. Malaika Homo, 4:28:57.
–Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta