Standing atop the podium before a sea of spectators, Ironman 70.3 men’s race winners drank from a shoe that had just been worn during the half-marathon portion of the event.
Javier Gomez, Ben Kanute and Tim Don took first, second and third places, respectively, in the Sunday championships, and each drank a bit of sparkling wine from Don’s shoe to celebrate their victories.
“It was a very tough race; Ben did excellent biking,” Gomez, a Spanish triathlete, said after his win. “I had to take my risk on the run … I [ran] faster than I should, probably, but I wanted to catch him … I’m really proud, really happy.”
Thousands of spectators came to the waterfront Sunday to watch the second part of the two-day event, which involved a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bicycle ride and 13.1-mile run.
Gomez finished in just less than four hours, with a time of 3:49:45.
American triathlete Kanute, who competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics, finished in 3:51:07.
The United Kingdom’s Don came in soon after, with a time of 3:52.
Ryan Schumacher’s race
McCallie School alumnus Ryan Schumacher finished the event in a little more than four and a half hours.
He started the race with the 25–29 age group at 9:04 a.m. He encountered other, slower age group members on the swim, which posed a challenge, he told a McCallie spokesman at the finish.
Schumacher said he was pleased with the morning weather, although it did get hot as the day progressed.
As he started up Lookout Mountain on the bike, he felt his legs “just didn’t have it today,” he said.
“There was a whole lot of drafting going on,” he said. “It made it really hard because I like to abide by the rules.”
Schumacher said he had to slow down as bigger groups came by to avoid getting a penalty. Cyclists are supposed to stay a certain distance from others while riding.
At mile No. 52, Schumacher said he got a penalty and disputed it with the judge because he felt like he’d been working to follow the rules.
“That wasn’t great … It hurt; it made the start of the run hard,” he said. “I was able to get some calories in, and I felt better the last miles.”
And the crowd on his “home course” helped keep him inspired.
“Every corner I’d go around, there were people shouting my name [and] cheering for me,” he said. “Chattanooga in general has really shown up to these Ironman events. Strangers will see your name on your bib and will just be shouting your name. I wouldn’t want to do a world championship anywhere else.”
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Updated @ 6:48 a.m. on 9/11/17 to correct typographical errors.