Von Berg, Lawrence win Ironman 70.3 St. George triathlon; women’s course record shattered

ST. GEORGE – At Saturday’s Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championship St. George, Rodolphe “Rudy” Von Berg of Boulder, Colorado, beat an impressive field of professional athletes to win the men’s race with a time of 3:49:10.

L-R: Runner-up Bart Aernouts, winner Rudy Von Berg and third-place finisher Jackson Laundry atop the medals podium of the Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championship St. George, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Von Berg, who led after both the swim and bicycle portions of the race, said he overcame a “hamstring issue” to stay ahead of runner-up Bart Aernouts of Belgium.

Both Aernouts and third-place finisher Jackson Laundry of Canada ran a faster 13.1-mile final leg than Von Berg, but neither was able to fully close the nearly four-minute gap he opened up prior to the run. Von Berg had the second-fastest overall swim time, completing the 1.2-mile loop at Sand Hollow Reservoir in 23:52. He also had the fastest bike time among all competitors, with that 56-mile leg clocking in at 2:04:39.

Von Berg said it was his first time competing on the St. George course, which he called “awesome.”

“Beautiful scenery, and spectators everywhere, he told reporters at the finish line. “Pretty awesome race overall.”

Women’s finisher shatters course record

The top female finisher was Holly Lawrence of Los Angeles, who established a new women’s course record by finishing in 4:06:05. She shattered the previous record of 4:11:53, set by Meredith Kessler in 2014, by more than five minutes.

Holly Lawrence runs out of the transition zone of the Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championship St. George, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Lawrence’s time on Saturday would have actually put her in among the top 20 male finishers, in the 17th spot. Lawrence’s previous best time on the St. George course was the 4:12:07 she clocked when she won the event in 2017.

Joining Lawrence on medals podium was runner-up Paula Findlay of Canada, who crossed the finish line in 4:14:03, nearly two full minutes faster than her winning time last year (4:15:53), and fellow Canadian Heather Wurtele, a four-time St. George Ironman winner, who placed third this year with a time of 4:15:55, an improvement of nearly seven minutes over last year’s time of 4:22:50, when Wurtele took sixth.

“I had a great performance. These two ladies were faster,” Wurtele said, adding that she was glad to be racing in full health, compared to last year, when she reported not feeling well the day of the race. “Coming in with full health was great. I love this course, and I love St. George.”

Wurtele’s husband and training partner, Trevor Wurtele, finished 13th overall in the men’s race with a time of 4:03.37.

Lawrence also expressed her enjoyment of the St. George course.

“I just love this course,” she said. “I have so many good memories here.”

L-R: Overall female runner-up Paula Findlay, winner Holly Lawrence and third-place finisher Heather Wurtele atop the medals podium of the Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championship St. George, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Lawrence took second in the swim portion, her time of 24:57 coming just two seconds behind Haley Chura. Lawrence then went on to post the fastest overall time in the bike leg with 1:35:41, with Findlay coming in a close second at 1:36:00.

Findlay said the race-time weather conditions, which included clear, sunny skies and temperatures starting in the high 50s and warming to the mid-70s by the end of the pro race, were nearly ideal.

“I thought the temperature was pretty much perfect,” she said.

The race attracted more than 2,400 participants, nearly a third of whom were female. Approximately 70 were entered as professionals; they were seeking qualifying spots for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship to be held in Nice, France, in September.

For more information about the Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championship St. George triathlon, click here.

To see images of Saturday’s top pro finishers, check out the St. George News photo gallery below, along with related links to other coverage of the triathlon.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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