Although Richie Cunningham moved from Austin to Boulder, Colorado a few years ago we still like to claim him as one of our own, and for the second year in a row he made Central Texas proud by capturing the Ironman Galveston 70.3 title. The Australian native turned in one of the fastest runs of the day, covering the half marathon in 1:12:37 to overtake two other competitors in the final six miles for a total time of 3:46:11.
One of those runners Cunningham surpassed was long-time Austinite Brandon Marsh, outpacing him by just 15 seconds. Out of the entire 3 hour and 46 minute race, Marsh held the lead for just 30 minutes between miles 7 and 12.5 on the run. Coming in fourth was Central Texas transplant Chris McDonald.
On the women’s side, Amy Marsh was in front of the women’s pack for nearly three hours after being first out of the water, maintaining her lead through the bike and in the first six miles of the run. But due to a calf strain from a week ago that reared it’s ugly head, Marsh was forced to drop out.
Austin-based pro’s Sierra Snyder and Natasha Van Der Merwe captured 8th and 9th, respectively, in their division. Snyder turned in a solid 4:27:52 to best Van Der Merwe by a little over one minute. Meredith Gardener – competing in the open division – won her age by nearly eight minutes and was the 16th overall female, providing an entry ticket to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships on September 7th in Quebec, Canada.
Others in the field with Texas connections included Joe Thorne (21st, Men’s Pro) and Hugo Llorens (16th, Men’s 45-49). Female pro Kelly Williamson dropped out after the bike section.