Craig Alexander Dominates The Inaugural Ironman Asia Pacific Championship In Historic Fashion
It took very little time for the Ironman Asia Pacific Championship, held in Melbourne, Australia, to become a monumental and historic race. Sporting the new Oakley RadarLock sunglasses, Craig “Crowie” Alexander earned top honors at the inaugural event in record time, amidst one of the strongest fields ever assembled outside of Kona. Alexander’s win came at a sub-eight hour pace, a time that is rarely seen and highly sought after in the triathlon world. To say the first running of the Ironman Asia Pacific Championship was thrilling would simply be an understatement.
Australian native Craig Alexander had high expectations for the race on his home turf. Heavily favored to win the event, the 38-year-old Alexander did not disappoint. As a three time Hawaiian Ironman World Champion, Alexander set out to win his first Ironman title on his home soil. His main competition came from ten-time Ironman Champion, New Zealander and fellow Oakley teammate, Cameron Brown. Alexander and Brown were neck and neck coming into the final marathon portion of the race. Mirroring each other step for step throughout most of the 26.2 miles, Alexander proved why he was touted the favorite to win, eventually surging to the victory. Completing the grueling course in a time of 07:57:44, Alexander topped a world-class field, full of fellow Oakley athletes. He also became the first athlete in the world to win wearing the new, highly anticipated Oakley RadarLock sunglasses.
“Nothing beats winning in front of the home crowd, friends and family, the sporting public and the Australian triathlon community,” Alexander said after winning the race. “I just kept thinking, I want to be the first on Greg Welch’s trophy!”
Beyond Alexander’s win and Brown’s second place finish, Oakley athletes rounded out the top 10 in true fashion. Belgian, Frederick Van Lierde finished third, Paul Matthews took sixth, Luke Bell came in seventh, and Joe Gambles finished eighth.
On the women’s side, Caroline Steffen rode away with the win, beating a strong field of competitors. The “Swiss Miss” joined the leaders at the end of the swim and never looked back. Her bike work was impressive and brought her up to the second pack of leaders in the men’s race. Topping off the first two legs with a 3:01:22 marathon, Steffen was untouchable. Nearly breaking Chrissie Wellington’s 8:33:56 world record time, the Swiss native’s 8:34:51 performance in Melbourne will stand in the record books amongst some of the best times ever seen at this distance. Steffen, although a Swiss native, considers Australia her adopted home and was thrilled to post such a historic time in front of her “home” crowd.
“How fast? That’s my fastest time ever by four and a half minutes or so,” she proudly stated. “My first goal was to be on the podium, my second goal was to be sub-9:00. I still can improve heaps on the run, it’s still early in the season. I was a little disappointed in Kona and I wanted to show everyone that I’m not done.”
Steffen is most definitely not done and neither were her fellow Oakley competitors. 2010 Ironman World Champion Miranda Carfrae was heavily favored to win, ultimately ending up third.
There was a buzz surrounding the first running of the Asia Pacific Ironman Championship in Melbourne, Australia and for good reason. The race produced epic results and a day triathlon fans will never forget. Congratulations to the Oakley athletes for their amazing performances in Australia!