Sunday July 24, 2011. The Ironman Lake Placid race began at 6:50 AM for a small field of about 24 professional athletes followed by the amateur start at 7:00 AM for more than 2400 more dedicated amateur athletes of all ages. The weather was pleasant and in the 70s: ideal for an endurance race, with the heat wave of the previous week over for the moment.
While the very fastest professionals finish in around 8 ½ hours, the fastest amateurs take around 9 ½ hours, and those who are older, or are new to the sport take considerably longer. The racecourse is open for 19 hours, closing at midnight.
The top professional male finishers were
1. T.J. Tollakson USA 8:25:15
2. Ben Hoffman USA 8:33:29
3. Jason Shortis AUS 8:47:18
4. Eduardo Sturla ARG 9:04:16
5. Daniel Bretscher USA 9:07:05
And the top professional female finishers were
1. Heather Wurtele CAN 9:19:03
2. Tine Deckers BEL 9:34:41
3. Tyler Stewart USA 9:38:09
4. Jackie Arendt USA 9:56:21
5. Jacqui Gordon USA 10:07:22
And the top amateur finishers were
David Lamoureux 31 USA 9:36.11
Vaughn Cooper 39 USA 9:37.50
Greg Close 28 USA 9:41.28
Jeremy Cornman 32 9:42.29
Bryan Crabbe 36 9:42.35
Kim Schwabenbauer 24 10;11.54
Angela Bancroft 41 10:19.21
Amanda Kourtz 28 10:21.01
Suzanne Serpico 31 10:25.19
Lisa Mueller 20 10:26.32
Complete searchable results can be found here.
What do they eat?
Athletes can carry anything they want for the race, and can leave “goodie bags” for pickup partway through the bike course as well. While earlier, shorter races provided foods like bananas and other fruits, today most athletes carry liquid nutrition, in the form of solutions made up of sugars, salt, potassium and some dissolved protein. A number of firms supply powders to e mixed up for these races, and some can be customized.
The night before, you’ll find the competitors filling multiple water bottles with nutrients and making up little bags containing salt capsules, Gu Energy Gel and various energy bars. For the most part, they seem to concentrate on using the energy liquids as they are easiest to consume while biking.
At the end of the races, the exhausted athletes are escorted to medical tents where they are checked to make sure they are still healthy, and given liquids, chicken stock and sometimes intravenous fluids as well.
While the Ironman race, which takes up just over 140 miles of distance seems extremely daunting, a huge number of athletes attempt it every year, and many succeed.
What do the spectators do?
Spectators usually go out for breakfast after the swim leg is completed, since they won’t see their athletes for at least 2 1/2 hours. One popular place is the Generations restaurant at the Golden Arrow. Another is Simply Gourmet — Big Mountain Deli and Creperie on Main Street. It is important that you let your athlete know that your success in getting a table for breakfast is directly related to the speed of his swim, and encourage him accordingly.
Last Lake Placid Ironman?
While this race in this beautiful Adirondack community is beloved by athletes and spectators alike, and has been run successfully for 13 years now, it appears that the 2012 Lake Placid Ironman will be the last. The contract with the World Triathlon Corporation has not been renewed, and it appears that Ironman events in New York City and Mont Tremblant, Quebec will edge it out after next year.
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