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McMahon sets new IMLP course record

July 24, 2017
By LOU REUTER - Senior Sports Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - At Friday's press conference that was a prelude to Sunday's Ironman Lake Placid triathlon, Brent McMahon said he sets breaking the eight-hour mark as a goal wherever he goes to compete in 140.6-mile races.

But the Canadian triathlete and two-time Olympian admitted that probably wouldn't be the case during his first attempt at tackling the second-oldest Ironman race in North America. After all, Lake Placid's course is known as one of the most difficult Ironman tracts in the world, and nobody has gotten near turning in a sub 8-hour finish time in the 18-year history of the race.

On Sunday, however, McMahon came as close as anyone ever has to such a performance, winning Lake Placid's 19th Ironman in a record-setting time of 8 hours, 13 minutes and 53 seconds. On his way to victory, the 36-year-old from British Columbia shaved nearly 10 minutes off the previous course mark set in 2004 by British triathlete Simon Lessing.

Article Photos

After pouring water over his head, Canada’s Brent McMahon stands in the finish area following his victory in Sunday’s 19th annual Ironman Lake Placid triathlon.
(News photo — Lou Reuter)

The win was the third at the Ironman distance for McMahon, who also owns victories in Arizona and Brazil. The turning point in the race began just prior to the bike-run transition, as McMahon grabbed a slight lead at the end of the 112-mile bike leg and then began putting more distance over two previous Lake Placid winners - Andy Potts and T.J. Tollakson - as the marathon run progressed.

"We were all together on the bike," McMahon said. "There were three of us and the last little bit of the bike, I put a move in to try to get a little gap heading out on the run, and that worked well. I got a good transition and by the first couple of miles, I had a couple minute lead, so it was great to be starting the run with a little gap and just feeling smooth."

McMahon, 36, said he's heard quite a bit about Lake Placid's Ironman race, but never visited the area before arriving here on Tuesday, the same day he took a ride to inspect the course.

"I've heard a lot about this race. It's one of the oldest races in the history of Ironman so there's a lot of legendary status and history here," McMahon said. "For the 19th edition, there are so many fans and support out there, and a beautiful course. Two big loops on everything. It's gorgeous. This was a challenging course and that's why I wanted to do it. It would take something special to go under eight hours. I think I put everything I had out there. It wasn't going any faster for me."

Potts, who took the Ironman Lake Placid title in 2012 and 2013, eventually finished second with a time of 8:37:46. Tollakson, Lake Placid's 2011 winner, ultimately dropped out on the run and Boulder. Colorado's Justin Daerr picked off rivals along the way to slip into third place with a 8:45:40 finish time.

Despite finishing runner-up, Potts was satisfied with his effort and even more pleased he was able to return to Lake Placid.

"Wining in anything is very difficult, and you need to enjoy it when you have the opportunity to cross the finish line first," Potts said. "Same thing for second. I'm not shaking my head at all. Brent is a fantastic athlete, and I look for him to be a big player at the world championships. I am very happy with second and definitely not hanging my head.

"The 19th version of Ironman Lake Placid and this has become a mainstay," Potts added "It's know throughout the world as being a very demanding course. You get great fields. I'm super thankful because this town swells threefold, fourfold during the week and we just feel super supported. I came back because Ironman Lake Placid combines two of my favorite things in the world that are so close to my heart: the Olympics and triathlon."

Potts went on to say that winning is great, but believes that being able to put up a good fight and stay positive is an even more valuable trait.

"Obviously you want to win, but a bigger thing is the attitude that you have a mental fight all day," Potts said. "The mental engagement is more important than the final result, because I guarantee you in 10 years that no one will remember what place I got, but I was just full of smiles coming down Mirror Lake Drive, waving, giving people fives. What kind of attitude can you give off to other people and how can you affect them. That's what people will remember. I wanted to have some impact there too."

Daerr said Sunday's race wasn't one of his best, but the effort was a significant improvement over his last appearance in the Ironman Lake Placid seven years ago, a performance that landed him in fourth place.

"I was eighth starting the bike, fourth off the bike and moved up one spot on the run," Daerr said."I raced here seven years ago, finished fourth, and think I went maybe 20 minutes faster today - a much better race. Based on the day, I may have gone a minute or two better, but there wasn't a whole lot more I could have done, so I'm pretty proud of what I was able to get out of myself.

" I'm more of a strength racer versus a speed racer, and I think this is a strength course - a better chance to get on the podium on a course like this," he continued. "I was able to squeeze in at the very end there. The nature of this course is everything is back-end loaded in terms of difficulty. The back half the bike course is more difficult, the back half of the run course is slightly more difficult. I think that plays to a course that suits me a little more. When you're halfway done, you're not halfway done time wise. It's more like 40 percent done."



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