Our Team Sport For Good athlete Kaisa Lehtonen finishes the Ironman 70.3 Dubai, despite some shoe troubles, as a sensational fifth.
In a time of 04:07:40, the Finn comes to the finish with a gap of 6:01 minutes to the title defending champion and again winner Daniela Ryf (04:01:40) from Switzerland. Ellie Salthouse (04:04:05) gets second place ahead of her Australian team colleague Sarah Crowley (04:06:23).
11th after swimming
The half-distance race begins for Lehtonen very promising and nothing points to the drama that is to happen at a later time.
"The swim was okay," Kaisa analyzes. "I started with the slightly weaker swimmers and so it was relatively easy for me."
She finishes the swimming course over 1.9 kilometers, on the public beach of Jumeirah, in a time of 00:28:30 and starts, after a successful change, as 11th biker on the flat 90 kilometer cycling course through the desert.
"Although I rode steadily by myself almost the whole 90 kilometers, biking was very good today," says Lehtonen satisfied. Since she is able to cope with both, the temperature and the condition of the course, she already has a promising fifth place at half time. After 02:13:10 hours she reaches the second change zone as fourth, to start in the half marathon, but here comes an unexpected incident.
Running bag and shoes disappeared
Somebody, in the chaos of the transit area, obviously took Kaisas pocket and she lost valuable time on the search for it. In her emergency, the Finn turns to the officials of the race, but they are unable to help her either.
The loss of her shoes results in the professional athlete starting barefoot in the first, of a total of three 7km rounds, on Jumeirah beach, in order not to lose more time on the leaders.
"We still do not know what happened with the bag, but we have received a lot of excuses so far," says Markus Sali, manager and partner of Kaisa. "It's unfortunate, but forgivable."
Later in the race, Kaisa's bag emerges completely unexpectedly, so she can finish the 21 kilometers with shoes on her feet.
"It bothers me to lose like this!"
With a time of 04:07:40, just 2:37 minutes slower than her 2016 Ironman 70.3 Dubai, Kaisa reaches the finish line and secures a fantastic fifth place, despite a barefoot run.
"The only thing that bothers me is to lose like this! I would be happier if I had been able to give everything without any incidents," Kaisa explains disappointedly at the finish.
The curiosity of the first race of the 2017 season is hard to beat for our Team Sport For Good.
But the most important thing, however, is that Lehtonen has felt good throughout the race and is in fantastic shape. "Kaisa has done her best today and achieved all that was possible under the given circumstances!", Markus Sali soothes the agitated feelings of his athlete.
Looking at the main goal of the season, Ironman Hawaii in October, Kaisas performance is completely satisfying. She is absolutely competitive and in good shape, even in adverse circumstances, so that we can look forward positively, to the future and hope for more luck at the next competition.
Your Team Sport For Good