The women’s race saw super-swimmer Amanda Stevens (USA) run up the sandy beach first in 54:54, two minutes ahead of her next-closest competitors. Katy Blakemore (USA) exited the water 1:49 back, with Dede Griesbauer (USA) on her own 5:11 back of Stevens. A chase group containing Laura Siddall (GBR), Heather Jackson (USA) and Amber Ferreira (USA), trailed at over seven minutes back. Once on the bike, Stevens held greedily to her position. Blakemore took advantage of the hills and passed the leader at mile 45. All eyes were on Jackson, however, who made quick work of her 8-minute swim deficit and by mile 65 had ridden through the field to take the lead. She rode strong and steady, looking as fresh at mile 110 as she did at mile 5. Stevens put up a fight, but it was Jackson who entered T2 with a 3-minute buffer and the fastest bike split on the day (5:08:32). The New Hampshire-born Jackson set out on the marathon course with admirable form, steadily putting time into Stevens, and successfully holding off the strong runners hoping to hunt her down. By the half-marathon point, she had extended her lead to seven minutes; the welcoming finish line saw her with a mighty comfortable 15-minute padding. The day was truly Jackson’s, who, after battling injury last year, got the day she’s been working so hard for. Her 3:08:55 marathon was also the fastest on the day. “The first two IRONMANs I did I raced kind of like I race (IRONMAN) 70.3’s,” the Bend, Ore. resident said at the finish line. “Going all out and racing my competitors—that doesn’t really work for IRONMAN. Today was about keeping it within myself and staying conservative at the start, and it paid off,” she added. Stevens held on for second, finishing in 9:40:16, while Kim Schwabenbauer (USA) used her second-best bike and run splits to snag the third position by the halfway point of the run. The American would stay there until the end, taking the last spot on the podium (9:50:19) and leaving Ferreira (who’d fought hard at the start of the run) and the fading Blakemore to fourth and fifth.