COEUR d’ALENE — Haley Chura remembered everything about her experience from 2017 here.
Those feelings of hitting landmarks on Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive.
Seeing the crowd along Sherman Avenue as she came down the chute on her way to her first Ironman 70.3 Coeur d’Alene title.
Crossing the finish line.
Yeah, she remembered.
Chura repeated as women’s champion on Sunday morning, going wire-to-wire as the top female, finishing in 4 hours, 21 minutes and 42 seconds. She won last year’s event in 4:27.32.
“My training has been really, really good this year,” Chura said. “But my racing has been not where I wanted it. Today, I kind of pulled it together. And if there was a place to do that, I’m so happy it happened here. It’s a hometown race for me as I live in Bozeman (Mont). There’s so many people here that I know from Montana and getting to race with them, it’s so incredible.”
Chura took 24 minutes, 20 seconds on the 1.2-mile swim, 2 hours, 28 minutes and 41 seconds on the 56-mile bike leg and 1 hour, 24 minutes and 52 seconds on the 13.1-mile run.
“I just had to keep reminding myself to have the best day for you,” Chura said. “Don’t worry about what the other people in the race are doing, and just worry about yourself. I knew how good the other women were in the race, and what they’re capable of and how strong they were. If I was staying ahead of them, I was having the best day for me. And I was letting them pressure me. There was pressure on me the entire race, but I just used it as energy and got myself going.”
Matt Hanson of Storm Lake, Iowa, who won the event in 2017, also repeated as champion in 3 hours, 50 minutes and 9 seconds.
Hanson was coming off an Ironman Texas championship on April 29.
“The course (in Coeur d’Alene) was the exact same as last year,” Hanson said. “But I had a different build to this year. I had a really solid race two months ago, and it took a little while to get back from that. I kind of went deep into the well in that one. Getting back into good form was a bit of a journey, but had a good training camp in Boulder (Colo.) a few weeks ago and really just wanted to leave it all out there.”
Hanson arrived in Coeur d’Alene on Friday.
“I live in Iowa and just tried to stay on Iowa time so that I was ready to go when it was 8 a.m. back home (the race started at 6 a.m. PDT), so I was ready from the start,” Hanson said. “I got here and rode a little bit, but knowing the course helped a little bit. Not having any elevation here made it a little easier to prepare for this one.”
Kennett Peterson of Boulder, who finished second, held the lead through the first 8.4 miles of the run before Hanson made his move. Peterson finished nearly 3 minutes behind Hanson.
“The bike was constantly up and down,” said Peterson, who finished sixth in the Ironman 70.3 Coeur d’Alene in 2016. “There was a lot of winds, so I was struggling quite a bit. Luckily, Andrew Talansky (who finished seventh) came up and I was able to ride behind him. I was trying to bring Andrew (Starykowicz) back in, and finally was able to catch him. I was pretty confident I was going to be able hold off Andrew. I’ve never been second before, but have been third. It means a lot.”
Sarah Piampiano of San Francisco finished second behind Chura, finishing two minutes off the two-time champion.
“This (Coeur d’Alene) was my first Ironman in 2011 and the first time I’ve been back,” Piampiano said. “This is such an iconic venue and race. The crowd support is awesome and the community really comes together and puts on a great race.”
The race awarded a total purse of $30,000 and 30 age-group qualifying spots for the World Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, in September. The women’s race will be held on Sept. 1, with the men’s race on Sept. 2.
Hanson and Chura each received $6,000 for winning on Sunday. Prize money was awarded to first through sixth place, with second-place winners receiving $5,000 and third place $4,000.
TOP 10 PROFESSIONALS — 1, Matt Hanson, Storm Lake, Iowa, 3:50:09. 2, Kennett Peterson, Boulder, Colo., 3:52:48. 3, Andrew Starykowicz, Chicago, 3:53:40. 4, Stephen Kilshaw, Victoria, British Columbia, 4:01:54. 5, Patrick Brady, Middleton, 4:03:06. 6, Robbie Wade, Westminster, Colo., 4:04:34. 7, Andrew Talansky, Manhattan, N.Y., 4:05:55. 8, Alex Libin, Colorado Springs, Colo., 4:06:34. 9, Tyler Ems, Boulder, Colo., 4:06:51. 10, Andre Lopes, Piracicaba, Brazil, 4:08:08.
TOP 10 PROFESSIONALS — 1, Haley Chura, Bozeman, Mont., 4:21:42. 2, Sarah Piampiano, San Francisco, 4:23:39. 3, Linsey Corbin, Bend, Ore., 4:25:13. 4, Jen Annett, Penticton, British Columbia, 4:29:06. 5, Danielle Dingman, Branson, Mo., 4:31:54. 6, Romina Palacio, Haedo, Argentina, 4:32:57. 7, Rachel Olson, Tyler, Texas, 4:34:20. 8, Katie Thomas, Cross Junction, Va., 4:35:36. 9, Molly Roohi, Bellevue, 4:39:19. 10, Maggie Rusch, Boulder, Colo., 4:44:30.