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Ironman sets record despite heat

Crashes, hot weather take toll on racers



The 2011 running of Ironman Canada will go down in the record books for a few reasons, including the first paraplegic finisher and the fastest women's time.

David Lee - swimming 3.8km with the aid of a flotation device for his legs and covering the 180km bike leg and 42.2km run leg with a racing chair - completed the course in 12 hours, 48 minutes and 43 seconds, the first paraplegic to complete Ironman Canada in Penticton. The 42-year-old Paralympian, representing the U.S. in 2008, had attempted the race before but was not able to finish.

In the women's pro elite event, California's Mary Beth Ellis set a new Ironman Canada record with a time of 9:03:13. More impressive, she had competed in two Ironman-distance races over the previous two months, winning both of those. Americans Kim Loeffler and Meredith Kessler were second and third by a wide margin in 9:34:54 and 9:37:22 respectively.

Penticton's own Jordan Rapp was the fastest male overall with a time of 8:28:09, followed by Arizona's Abel Torseten in 8:41:09 and Bert Jammaer of Belgium in 8:42:34.

One of the big stories of the day was the heat, which topped 34 degrees Celsius, and the stiff headwinds on part of the bike leg. With the heat radiating off the sun-baked asphalt and a hot, dry wind in their faces half the time, athletes felt like they were in an oven on the bicycle leg.

A few of the victims of the heat were Whistler athletes. Duncan Munro was off to a quick start with a swim time of 1:03:57 - 40th overall out of the water out of 2,500 athletes. He was overcome by the heat and was tended to by two nurses - who were there to cheer on friends - until the ambulance could arrive.

Sarah O'Byrne, a friend and training partner of Munro's, came across Munro while the nurses were performing first aid and decided to wait with him until the ambulance came. She was also sick, and the ambulance drivers insisted that she get in as well.

David Evans did not start or he did not finish the swim leg (complete results are not available yet.

Pete Field, in his first Ironman, was the fastest Whistler athlete this year in 12:11:35, completing the swim in 1:08:16, the bike in 6:18:54 and the run in 4:32:09.

Piliar, in his second Ironman, finished a solid 12:24:30, completing the swim in 1:24:33, the bike in 6:03:25 and the run in 4:35:19.

Maridee Fitch, a first-timer, finished in 16:07:33, finishing the swim in 1:39:06, the bike in 7:42:06 and the run in 6:22:44.

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