June 28, 2010 in Sports

Corbin sets women’s course record at Ironman

Potts cruises to first win in three attempts
By The Spokesman-Review

Andy Potts celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene on Sunday afternoon.
(Full-size photo)

Complete results

Ironman Coeur d’Alene

In the span of four years, Linsey Corbin has gone from trying to avoid walking during the 26.2-mile run that concludes the Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene to winning the professional women’s title.

The Missoula resident did it in style Sunday, donning a cowboy hat for the final stretch, slapping hands with fans lining the finish and setting a course record with a time of 9 hours, 17 minutes and 54 seconds.

Corbin passed friend and training associate Meredith Kessler roughly 17 miles into the run and never looked back. Corbin covered the 26.2 miles in 3:04:36, almost 10 minutes faster than second-place Kessler, who had built up nearly a 4-minute lead after the 112-mile bike.

“10:07,” Corbin chuckled, recalling her 2006 time, “and my only goal was to not walk the marathon and I didn’t. Coeur d’Alene in 2006 was my first pro race and my first Ironman. This is an awesome feeling. Everyone needs to win one.”

Andy Potts of Colorado Springs, Colo., better known for his accomplishments at shorter distances, breezed to victory in the men’s pro race. His time of 8:24.40 was more than 13 minutes ahead of Australian Courtney Ogden. Michael Lovato, the 2003 CdA champion, finished third for the fourth time in the Lake City.

Potts, who was an All-American swimmer at the University of Michigan, was second after the 2.4-mile swim, took the lead on the bike and was never challenged on the run. It was his first Ironman win in three attempts. He placed in the top 10 at the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, the last two years and is looking forward to the 2010 event in October.

“I feel I’m still a bit of a rookie at Ironman racing, despite having a lot of shorter races under my belt,” Potts, 33, said. “I’m thrilled I can now call myself an Ironman champion. It’s something I was dreaming about and it kept me motivated in training for quite some time.”

John Flanagan was the first man out of the water, but Potts was a close second. There was a 6-minute gap to third-place Lovato. Potts, who joined the track team in his final year at Michigan, had a solid bike time of 4:42.04 and his 2:52.48 run was easily the fastest of the pros.

“He’s a really strong swimmer and runner, and he’s been working so hard on his bike,” said Lisa Potts, who greeted her husband at the finish line with three-month-old daughter Sloane and 3-year-old son Boston. “It’s nice to see his efforts pay off.”

Potts was pleased with all three disciplines.

“I think I won it by being a complete triathlete and not showing any particular weaknesses,” he said.

Lovato agreed: “He put on a little clinic out there.”

Potts said his preparation helped him during the race and, he hopes, in his recovery the next few days. He purposely didn’t schedule a race in July for the first time since turning pro in 2003.

“After my first Ironman it took me four days to walk,” said Potts, before rising gingerly from a seat near the finish line. “But I wasn’t prepared for it. I think I’ll be able to walk tomorrow.”

Corbin, 29, moved in front on the first loop of the bike course only to see Kessler take control on the second half. Corbin returned the favor on the run, which went a lot smoother than in did four years ago when she somehow lost eight toe nails.

“We have this thing we do called, ‘Keep calm, carry on,’ and we do it in sign language because sometimes you’re too tired to talk,” Corbin said of Kessler. The two are coached by Matt Dixon and share similar workouts. “We did that when we passed each other.”

Kessler tried to open up a wide gap on the second bike loop, knowing Corbin is a strong runner.

“There’s not many times you can prevail when you’re being hunted by Linsey on the run,” she said. “I did the best I could on the run.”

Kessler’s 9:23.52 was her best time by about 15 minutes. Kelly Williamson (9:39.23) was third and Spokane’s Haley Cooper-Scott (9:42.02) placed fourth.

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