Raelert betters own LPT record
Germany's Michael Raelert retained his Laguna Phuket Triathlon (LPT) men's title yesterday when he completed the 1.8km swim, 50km bike and 15km run routine in 2:19:13, more than 11 minutes faster than the 2:30:14 mark he set last year.
Coming in second and third were Frenchman Antony Costes (2:21:18), and Australian Brad Kahlefeldt (2:23:21).
In the women's event, LPT debutante Amelia Rose Watkinson (top of podium) of New Zealand also marked a milestone with her win in 2:36:29. It was her ninth victory in 10 races this year.
World duathlon champion Emma Pallant of Great Britain was second in 2:42:30, while three-time LPT winner (2009, 2011 and 2012) Radka Vodickova of Czech Republic (2:43:22) finished third.
"The weather is quite nice, not too hot, but still with high humidity. I tried to keep pushing, especially on the bike course and those hills so that it's not too hard on the run leg," said Watkinson.
"I will spend these holidays back home and I will return to Thailand next year to train, and defend my title at the next Laguna Phuket Triathlon."
Triathletes and spectators also congratulated Kahlefeldt and Vodickova, who coincidentally finished third in their respective categories and are also engaged to be married soon.
More than 1,100 individual pro and age-group athletes, representing more than 40 nationalities, 55 relay teams and 6km Fun Runners, crowded the resort's beachfront to the transition area at the Laguna Grove outdoor event venue.
Also wowing the Thai crowd were two male and one female leads - Jaray Jearanai was once again the best Thai finisher in 2:38:48, while Artiwara Kongmalai, Thailand's No. 1 rock star best known as Toon Bodyslam, completed his race in 3:54:07.
The fastest Thai woman was Nichakarn Ruttanaporn, who clocked 3:12:43.