Today (24 November) Switzerland’s Ruedi Wild and Imogen Simmonds both gave stellar performances and took top podium, overall and in the women’s field, at 26th Laguna Phuket Triathlon.
Finished first and claimed his 3rd LPT championship, Wild was in 02:21:07 claiming his title less than 2 minutes before his toughest contender and 3-time LPT winner Michael Raelert (Germany) followed in at 02:22:34. Followed in 3rd was Krzysztof Hadas of Poland, timed 02:26:20.
In the women’s field Switzerland’s Imogen Simmonds was in 02:33:14 and claimed her first LPT’s title. Followed Simmonds in 2nd was Emma Pallant (United Kingdom), timed 02:39:31. Australia’s Dimity Lee-Duke came in 3rd (02:46:12).
The Phuket crowd cheered on a field of more than 1,000 triathletes, representing 51 countries, in the unique destination distance of 1.8K swim, 50K bike and 12K run, with USD 20,000 prize purse, and the short-distance “25 For 25 Sprint”.
The race’s transition area located at Laguna Grove in the heart of Asia’s premier destination resort, Laguna Phuket. The race start on the resort’s beachfront was comfortable with mild weather and small waves of the Andaman Sea. The bike and run courses became challenging when the Phuket heat kicked in.
“It feels amazing today at the race. [To me] LPT is like home away from home. I feel very good here with all the people and great memories from the past, especially winning for the 3rd time after a good performance. I’m really happy, and hope to come back again next year!” said Wild.
When asked how the race was unfolded for him, Wild said “I started with a good swim knowing that Michael [Raelert] will try to make a gap between him and the rest of the field. I managed to keep in contact with him and we both pushed really hard at the beginning of the bike so we were able to get away and benefit from leading the field from then on. I was able to make a gap and secure the lead in the first 2-3 km of the run so it helped when I reached the last few kilometres which were always really tough to get through in the heat.”
When asked about her first LPT top podium’s title, Simmonds said “I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. There’s some strong competition out there today so I’ve decided to push hard in the very beginning, and strategy paid off. I had a bit of a gap in the run so it was just the challenge of finishing in the heat. It was amazing to come back [to LPT] and finish the year off with a good race. The crowd were amazing out there supporting us, and all the volunteers were absolutely incredible, so thank you!”
Wowing the Thai crowd were defending champions in the men’s and women’s fields; Jaray Jearanai was once again the first Thai finisher (in 02:39:38), claiming his 9th consecutive LPT win (since 2011). Also defending her title as top Thai female was Nichakarn Ruttanaporn, in 03:17:06 and conquered her 4th consecutive win. Thai celeb athlete Meiji (Anorma Cook) finished her 1st LPT in 04:15:20.
In the “25 For 25 Sprint” category with the race distance of 25K (swim 0.5K, bike 18.5K and run 6K); Oliver Trott (in 01:02:24) and Rebecca Kirvan-Rodger (01:18:46) finished first in male and female categories.
The race today followed LPT Charity Fun Run, hosted yesterday (23 November) and participated by 1,100 runners in the 2K Kids, 5K and 10K categories. LPT Charity Fun Run raised funds for Children First Fund in support of 7 orphanages in Phuket, housing more than 400 children, and Kao Kon La Kao Foundation to help hospitals in Thailand.