If you follow triathlon even remotely, then you know Newton Running pro triathlete, Craig Alexander. You probably also know that twice he had won the Ironman World Championship as well as the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. Well, this past Saturday, on a blisteringly hot day in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, the man affectionately known as "Crowie" grabbed yet another victory from the world's best triathletes.
The day began with the pro field (greatly reduced thanks to the new Kona qualifying system for pros) starting at 6:30 AM. With former All-American swimmer Andy Potts out of the water ahead of everyone, Craig was in the first pack behind Potts with the majority of the pros in a time of 51:56.
As expected Craig's transition was without incident and he was soon on the bike. If there were any doubts about how fierce a competitor Craig could be on the bike, they were erased as Craig stayed at or near the point of the spear on the ride out to the town of Hawi. For his part, Crowie proved not only was he a fierce competitor but that he can also throw. down a blistering bike leg by shaving a full thirteen minutes off his previous best bike split in Kona.
Craig left T2 about 4:30 down but quickly made the pass to take the lead. The battle which was expected from Andreas Realert did come, but never in a head-to-head match-up as the triathlon world had predicted. With Craig running his usual fleet-footed and efficient marathon, his lead began to get bigger and bigger after the half marathon. The "Crowie Edition" Newton Distance S' on his feet were a blur of bright yellow as he tore through the Energy Lab. However, fans everywhere collectively gasped as, with about 2 km to go, Craig pulled up to stretch obvious hamstring cramps. After pulling it back together and bearing what must have been excruciating pain, Craig finally hit the last stretch on Ali'i Drive.
With the crowd going crazy and Craig picking the Australian flag from a spectator, it was pretty clear that he was unaware of just how close he was to history. Those of us watching the live stream and some near the finish were well aware that Crowie was withing seconds of breaking Luc Van Lierde's fifteen year old course record of 8:04:08. As he approached the finish line and finally got a glimpse of the clock, reality hit Craig. Sprinting the last few meters, he leaped across the finish line and into Ironman history in a course record time of 8:03:56.
With his win, Craig became only the fourth man ever to win three or more Ironman World Championships. He is also the oldest winner of the race at 38 years old and is the first person to ever win both the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and the Ironman World Championship at any time AND the only person to hold both titles in the same year!
The super bright colors of Newton Running were well well represented on the course in Kona as always. We'd like to extend a big congratulations to all the Newton runners who tore up the roads of Kailua-Kona this past weekend!
All of us at Newton Running would like to congratulate Craig on not only being an amazing person, sportsman and father, but for being the embodiment of a true gentleman and athlete. Congrats Craig! Here's to #4!
Total: 8:03:56 (New course record)