On 26 November 2017, almost 1,500 triathletes participated in the iconic half ironman distance race and the newly introduced Sunrise Sprint.
With 31 Pros from around the world at the start line, it was all set to be a highly competitive race and the athletes didn’t disappoint. Marcus Rolli (GER) took the men’s Foremost IRONMAN 70.3 Thailand 2017 title, while Imogen Simmonds (CHE), took the female title. Both of them are first-time winners.
Mr. Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, President of Sunrise Events Inc. and rights holder for IRONMAN in South East Asia, said,
It’s been a fantastic race. We’ve seen some very competitive racing across all the age-groups and amongst the Professionals, and the new hilly bike course has really tested the athletes. We had near perfect race conditions today with a calm sea for the swim and the slightly overcast skies kept the temperatures favourable on the bike and run. I must thank the people of Phuket and all the authorities who have helped us to put on a truly world-class Foremost IRONMAN 70.3 Thailand and an excellent Sunrise Sprint which for many, was their first ever triathlon.
Foremost IRONMAN 70.3 Men Category
Even though Marcus Rolli emerged from the swim stage of the race at Bang Tao Beach in sixth place with a time of 00:23:15, he managed to catch up and take the lead in the bike stage. Eventually, Rolli won the Foremost IRONMAN 70.3 Men Category with an official time of 03:49:02.
Timothy Van Berkel finished second with 03:52:49.0, while Brazilian Fernando Toldi rounded out the podium with a time of 03:56:47. Rolli, who only turned Pro at the beginning of this year, said,
The swim was not that fast for me, but for the bike, my trainer told me before the race to take it easy to begin with, then after the first five kilometres I decided to push it and kept pushing until the 90km mark. This resulted in me getting a rather big lead and ended with me winning the race.
Foremost IRONMAN 70.3 Women Category
The 24-year-old Imogen Simmonds also took the lead of the race since the bike stage and managed to maintain her lead over the two-lap run course. She claimed the victory with a time of 04:16:49. In the second place, Eimear Mullan crossed the finish line five minutes later with official time of 04:21:38, followed by Dimity Lee Duke with 04:22:54.
Following her win, Simmonds said, “I’m so happy and surprised. I’ve had three races in three weeks and this just tops it off.”
Phuket’s favourite Jaray Jearanai was the first Thai finisher in this year’s race and overall winner in the male 35-39 age-group. With this win, Jearanai obtained one of the age group qualifying slots for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in 2018. Jaray Jearanai is the first Thai’s male to compete at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona (2011).
Meanwhile, Nichakarn Ruttanaporn was the first Thai female finisher with a time of 05:09:20 – a new Thai middle distance record – and third overall in the 25-29 female age-group. Nampetch Porntharukcharoen, Thai’s first female to compete in Kona (2014), crossed the line in a time of 05:31:31.
In addition to the Foremost IRONMAN 70.3 Thailand, the newly added Sunrise Sprint event was flagged off at 08:00.
In the men’s category, Dennis Kruse from Germany took the top podium place with 01:00:23, followed by Saryu Onishi from Japan and Steven Gailliaert from Belgium who finished with 01:03:21 and 01:05:36 respectively.
In the female’s race, Sam McInnes from Great Britain took the first place with 01:12:15, followed by On Ki Chan from Hong Kong with a time of 01:15:43. Becky Bruhwiller from Switzerland finished third in 01:17:53.
Dr. Olarn Chowiwattana, Corporate Affairs Director of FrieslandCampina (Thailand) PCL., concluded,
I would like to congratulate all triathletes who have successfully finished the ‘Foremost IRONMAN 70.3 Thailand’ competition. Foremost is proud to have been a part of your success. We believe that our Drink.Move.BeStrong campaign will continue to raise public awareness of the health benefits from milk drinking and exercise. To play sports, you need to be physically fit. And good nutrition for physical health is a prerequisite for all kinds of sports.