Naeth and Hanson Charge in Chattanooga
Taking their first IRONMAN Championship titles, Angela Naeth and Matt Hanson dominated at the inaugural Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga to benefit the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
Thanks to a speedy downstream swim, all of the 2,327 competitors who started the inaugural Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga to benefit the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America finished the first leg of the race, setting up what turned out to be a fantastic day of racing that included first-time wins for the overall men’s and women’s champions.
In just her third full-distance event, Canadian Angela Naeth arrived in Chattanooga as the woman to beat thanks to her impressive record that includes almost a dozen IRONMAN 70.3 titles. Naeth narrowly missed qualifying for this year’s IRONMAN World Championship, so a big race here in Chattanooga would serve as a good start in her hunt for a spot on the Kona start line in 2015.
Naeth struggled early in the swim thanks to goggle issues, but there’s little chance that she would have kept up with super-swimmer Anna Cleaver, a New Zealand native who makes Chattanooga her home these days. Cleaver’s 39:56 swim (we did mention it was downstream, right?) put her 1:43 ahead of a group of that included Americans Kathryn Thomas, Christine Hammond, Kaitlin Anelauskas, Malaika Homo, Rebeccah and Laurel Wassner, along with Germany’s Nina Kraft.
Naeth was over five minutes back as she started the bike, but quickly moved towards the front. Cleaver lead for the first 70 miles, but Naeth would steadily gain time and, by the 75-mile timing point, was about 20 seconds ahead of the Kiwi. By the end of the bike the lead has grown to 12 minutes, making the race very much Naeth’s to lose.
The Canadian, who now lives in Las Vegas, has struggled with nutrition issues in her two previous full-distance efforts, but today there were none of those problems as she cruised through a 3:15 marathon for a sub-9 clocking of 8:54:55. Behind her there was an interesting battle for the rest of the podium as Ruth Brennan Murray, a former collegiate soccer player and marathon runner, flew through the run (3:02:55 split) to take second in 9:09:39, while Jennie Hansen ran her way to third. Laurel Wassner also managed to get past Cleaver, finishing fourth while the hometown hero had to settle with fifth.
Hanson handles the field
The men’s swim was dominated by Americans Barrett Brandon (38:06) and Eric Limkemann (38:10), who came out of the water 2:16 ahead of a huge group of 18. Limkemann would quickly pass Brandon on the bike and stay ahead of the rest of the field for the duration of the bike. Behind him a big group formed and only Canadian Trevor Wurtele was able to ride himself clear.
Limkemann was first to T2, starting the run just over six minutes ahead of Wurtele and about eight minutes up on a group of 10 that included the fast-running Hanson.
Hanson turned pro late in 2013—his first professional race was in Arizona last year, just over a month after he’d posted the fastest amateur run split at the IRONMAN World Championship (2:53). Since turning pro he’s set the marathon record at Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas and IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene (2:41 and 2:42), so it came as no surprise that he would run his way towards the front of the race. Screaming through 5:45 miles through the first eight miles of the run, Hanson quickly passed Wurtele and Limkemann and never looked back thanks to his 2:47 marathon split on the hilly course here in Chattanooga.
IRONMAN Wisconsin champ Daniel Bretscher managed to run his way to the runner-up position, while Wurtele also got past Limkemann to round out the podium. After beating Limkemann out of the water, swim leader Brandon moved into fourth in the last mile, relegating Limkemann to fifth.
Photos: Nils Nilsen
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|2||Ruth Brennan Morrey||USA||9:09:39|
We are very excited here in Chattanooga! Our fair city has been selected to host the eleventh race in the U.S. IRONMAN series. As a runner I am particularly excited to see this type of event come to our city. Not only will it promote fitness and health but it will also provide an economic boost for Chattanooga.
This from IRONMAN.com: The inaugural IRONMAN Chattanooga will take place on Sunday, September 28, 2014. The Southeastern U.S. has been steadily growing its love for multi-sport and, today, IRONMAN announces Chattanooga, Tennessee as the site of the eleventh race in the IRONMAN U.S. Series. The event will showcase the city’s dramatic landscapes and idyllic weather.
“We selected Chattanooga as it is a beautiful city and a premier outdoor sports destination. We are thrilled to bring IRONMAN here and to partner with the city to deliver a top level event,” says Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of IRONMAN.
IRONMAN Chattanooga will begin with a single-loop, 2.4-mile swim in the Tennessee River with ample spectator vantage points alongside the city’s famous Riverwalk. Athletes can look forward to fast splits on a downstream course. The bike will be a two-loop, 56-mile course with scenic farmland and mountain views. The two-and-a-half loop 26.2-mile run course will showcase beautiful downtown Chattanooga, the South Side, Riverview and the North Shore. Athletes can expect a fast, rolling course.
According to Chattanooga mayor Andy Berke, the city is already home to a thriving athletic community. “Chattanooga was a natural fit for this event,” he says, adding that the race will introduce the city to a whole new breed of athletes. Berke says he looks forward to seeing how the IRONMAN event grows over the next few years as it builds upon the city’s reputation as an outdoor adventure destination. read more>>>
Thirty-four thousand people come to Chattanooga’s downtown every day of the work week to perform their jobs everywhere from coffee shops to corporate headquarters. Over the past few years, more and more people have begun staying downtown when the work day ends. The community’s reconnection with the Tennessee River has helped turn downtown into a place where people not only work, play and shop. They also live there.
In fact an estimated 11,000 people live downtown. The downtown residential growth jumped by 29 percent between 1990 and 2000, when the population was 9,000, and took a 22 percent leap in the last five years.
The proximity to urban amenities and assets emerging from Chattanooga’s revitalization has created a renewed demand for downtown housing.
The demand has been answered with development of cottages, condos, townhouses, apartments, and lofts. The new housing opportunities range from riverfront condos to penthouses in the heart of the city to Manhattan-style lofts in a renovated bread manufacturing plant on the southside of town.
The new Battle Academy School, a magnet elementary school, draws children from downtown residents and downtown employees.
Downtown dwellers have easy access to the new Chattanooga Green – a park on the southside of the Tennessee River at the site of Chattanooga’s birthplace, Ross’s Landing. They also enjoy the new River Pier, First Street Sculpture Garden and the expansions to the Tennessee Aquarium and Hunter Museum of American Art.
Downtown is the site of the headquarters for the Tennessee Valley Authority, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and Unum Provident Corp.