It was a very tough race for Kaisa Sali on Sunday but in the end she managed to win Ironman Arizona in a time of 8:51:54 hours. It was the second victory in only her sixth Ironman long distance race and thus the TEAM SPORT FOR GOOD athlete managed to secure prematurely the qualification for Hawaii 2018.
To clinch the second Ironman triumph of her career, the TEAM SPORT FOR GOOD athlete had to give it all. "It was such a hard day and I really had to give everything to secure victory. But now it feels so good to start off-season and to have my qualification for Hawaii secured", the Finnish athlete summed up her race shortly after passing the finishing line.
The race in Tempe began with a solid swim and Sali lost just four minutes on Helle Frederiksen, one of the strongest swimmers in long distance triathlon, who in the end finished in second place. On the bike, the 36 year old athlete risked everything right from the beginning to close the gap to the leading group. "In hindsight maybe it wasn't very clever as I soon realized that my body had not recovered a hundred percent from Ironman Hawaii. That is why I decided after a while to stop attacking and save my energy for the run."
The two times Ironman winner began the final marathon with a controlled pace as she was suffering from cramps in her thighs. So for quite a while she ran together with Frederiksen. "After 20 kilometres we overtook Jean Annett who was to finish the race in third place and that was when I decided to run my own pace and leave Helle behind. Luckily this worked out perfectly and in the end I was so happy to win the race with an advantage of more than three minutes", Sali was obviously satisfied with the last race of her season.
In the men's race Lionel Sanders celebrated an unchallenged victory finishing in a time of 7:54:10 hours. Brent McMahon came in second place and Jeremy Jurkiwicz from France was third.