Race Report - Sam Betten Wins IRONMAN 70.3 Xiamen
One thing that has been a point of frustration over the last few years is that I had not managed to get myself onto the top step of an IRONMAN 70.3 podium. I have had a fair few 2nd and 3rd podium performances at IRONMAN 70.3 events including my 3rd place at the recent IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast just a few months ago. I knew
IRONMAN 70.3 Xiamen is the largest IRONMAN event in China, now the home of IRONMAN which meant that there was much hype surrounding this major event. The 1.9KM swim started with a beach start. However, there were some severe ocean tides at play that made for a very fast swim of sub 20 minutes. I emerged from the water in 2nd place in a small but select group. The run from the swim to bike was close to 1km long which certainly got the blood flowing in the legs during this more extended transition. Heading out onto the 90km bike course I planned to hit the gas early and try and establish a solo break; the Maserati lead vehicle provided some great motivation to try and chase.
Unfortunately, despite my efforts, I couldn’t maintain a solo gap and a small but select group of three including USA’s Justin Metzler and Jonathan Shearon took up the pace setting. At around 50KM, German Johannes Moldan came past our group and despite trying my hardest, I was not able to maintain his speed. Our group of 3 exited transition, down 4 minutes on the German who had extended his lead during the final 40KMs of the bike leg.
At around 5km into the run it was down to Metzler and myself still chasing down the lead, and at just over the halfway mark of the 21.1km run, we ran past Moldan to take up the battle for the lead. We continued to run together until the final 200 meters where I started my sprint to crack Metzler and cross the line for my first IRONMAN 70.3 win. It was a truly incredible feeling with lots of emotions flowing while running down the finish and thank you to my amazing sponsors, coach, partner, family, and friends for your belief and support.