It was her first start at the IRONMAN World Championship on Big Island (Hawaii) and TEAM SPORT FOR GOOD athlete Kaisa Lehtonen achieved a sensational fifth place. Her team colleague Timo Bracht had one of his weaker days, but still took a respectable 28th place among the 60 best professionals of the world.
After winning Ironman South Africa and Ironman 70.3 Zell am See, Kaisa Lehtonen ranked, despite the fact that up to then she had only competed in two long distance races, among the extended group of favourites. So she was determined to show that also a Hawaii Rookie can achieve a top position in Kona.
"I had a bad start to the swim and found myself quickly in the second big group. That is why my swim split was somewhat slower than I had planned, yet that helped me save some energy", Lehtonen describes the first discipline.
With the tenth fastest split on the bike, the Finnish athlete reached transition zone in a promising position to attack the first five positions in the final marathon.
On the first kilometres the winner of Ironman South Africa ran much faster than she had planned. "I couldn't help it. The spectators gave me so much energy", she said laughing. "Fortunately I managed to control myself and run the pace I had envisaged."
With one of the fastest running times, the TEAM SPORT FOR GOOD athlete managed to take fifth place in her first race on Big Island.
Timo Bracht is very proud of his team colleague and praises her professional attitude. "I did my final preparation for the race together with Kaisa on Majorca and could see that she is a hard and meticulous worker. So I knew she would be in good shape and able to achieve a top position. Nonetheless it was her first start on the island and you never know how one copes with conditions. Yet she handled them in an impressive way and saved her energy perfectly. I am convinced that in the years to come she will definitely make Hawaiian lava boil."
Bracht himself had an almost perfect start to the race and took his bike only 40 seconds behind the leading group. "On the first 50 kilometres my pace was perfect and the distance to the leading group remained constant. But then somehow I lost my power and because of that quite some time. That was mentally a very difficult situation as I had to stick to that pace and could definitely not go faster. In the end I finished the bike part in a solid way and just hoped to be able to run fast", Bracht sums up the hard race on the bike.
But in the marathon, the athlete from Eberbach also didn't find his running legs and in the end it was all about a respectable and decent finish of the race. "I have had many happy and fantastic moments here. But today was one of my most difficult races. When I crossed the finish line I felt sad, but soon I was just grateful and proud of what I had lived and achieved in Hawaii in the last 15 years. This race is definitely something special and whoever wins it deserves to be the new world champion."
TEAM SPORT FOR GOOD congratulates all the finishers and especially the German podium with Laureus ambassador Jan Frodeno and the two new amateur World Champions Lukas Krämer and Svenja Thoes.