Kessler, Dreitz Rule Raleigh 70.3

70_3_Raleigh_swimSwim start at 70.3 Raleigh. Photo courtesy of Jill Poon.

Raleigh, North Carolina makes for another popular stop on the Ironman 70.3 tour. $50,000 was on the line for the professional field, along with 750 valuable points.

With the $50,000 purse, payouts break down as follows:

  1. $10,000
  2. $5,000
  3. $3,250
  4. $2,500
  5. $1,750
  6. $1,250
  7. $750
  8. $500

Like most 70.3 events, sadly, there was very little detail available from live coverage of this event. Most updates were discovered via multiple reports on Twitter. This is unsurprising given the Latin American championship event in Brazil taking place at the same time.

Additionally, according to multiple reports on Twitter and posts to the Raleigh 70.3 Facebook page, spectator shuttles to the swim start did not run as advertised.

The Women

The triangular swim in Jordan Lake ensures a fair swim, as there is no current and a length nearly direct into the morning sun.

Twenty professional women charged into Jordan Lake to begin their 70.3 mile day at the office.

Lauren Brandon broke away from the rest of the field early, earning a 40 second advantage over Jennifer Spieldenner, who still had the effort from Challenge Knoxville in her from two weeks prior.

Holly Lawrence and Meredith Kessler were 1:35 behind Brandon after their respective 27:20 swims. Jackie Hering and Caitlin Snow both were another 1:35 arrears.

On the bike course, Brandon continued to set the pace as she followed the course through Chatham and Wake counties before heading for downtown Raleigh and T2. Lawrence and Kessler had ridden through Spieldenner and now were 19 seconds off of Brandon’s wheel.

Speildenner was with a chase group consisting of Lauren Barnett and Melanie McQuaid, a little more than 3:30 off the pace.


Cait Snow on the run. Image courtesy of Beth Lamie.

Cait Snow on the run. Image courtesy of Beth Lamie.

Lawrence and Kessler continued to charge, moving past Brandon and into the lead spots. They arrived to T2 four seconds apart to start the running battle. Brandon arrived third, 2:21 back. Barnett rolled into transition fourth, 2:55 back after her race best 2:18:53 bike split. McQuaid had held fifth, now 3:12 behind. Spieldenner was by herself 7:00 off the pace.

Alexandra Tondeur, Snow, and Hering were 7th through 9th heading into the run, battling for the last two paid positions on the day.

At the first run split, Kessler had opened up a 42 second lead on Lawrence. Barnett had run into third, holding her deficit from the bike at the moment.

With just three miles to go, it was Kessler with a minute advantage on Barnett, who kept charging. Could Kessler hold on? As it turns out, the answer was yes, winning in 4:14:00. Barnett crossed second in 4:14:58. Snow unleashed a 1:21:12 run to move into the final podium spot.


Name Country RANK Swim Bike Run
Kessler, Meredith USA 1 00:27:20 02:19:08 01:24:54 04:14:00
Barnett, Lauren USA 2 00:30:32 02:18:53 01:22:58 04:14:58
Snow, Caitlin USA 3 00:28:57 02:27:31 01:21:12 04:21:06
Tondeur, Alexandra BEL 4 00:30:37 02:25:45 01:23:42 04:22:59
Hering, Jackie USA 5 00:28:54 02:28:27 01:22:55 04:23:09
Lawrence, Holly GBR 6 00:27:20 02:19:12 01:35:06 04:24:12
McQuaid, Melanie CAN 7 00:30:02 02:19:32 01:32:30 04:24:46
Spieldenner, Jennifer USA 8 00:26:24 02:26:55 01:33:20 04:29:25

The Men

An equal number of twenty pro men took to Jordan Lake for their share of the prize.

An early group of five charged the swim, with Matt Charbot and Jake Montgomery leading the men out in 25:32. Matt Reed, James Seear, and David Kahn all were within 7 seconds of the leaders heading out onto the bike.

TRSTriathlon Forums contributor Thomas Gerlach found himself four minutes off the pace early; he’d need to unleash a good ride and another top-notch run to put himself back in contention for a pay day.

At mile 23.9, Andreas Dreitz had surged into the lead. Charbot and Montgomery were under 30 seconds behind. Kahn had moved himself into fourth but was now three minutes off the pace. Close behind were Branden Rakita and Reed. Gerlach had moved into 9th but had seen another 1:45 slip away.

Arriving into downtown Raleigh and T2, Dreitz had continued to put the hammer down. Over the last 32 miles, he churned out a 4:33 advantage over Charbot, unleashing a 2:01:45 split that was nearly seven minutes faster than the rest of the field.

Montgomery was next to T2, 6:50 behind. Kahn, Reed, and Rakita all finished the bike another 1:50 back. Gerlach was in a battle with Chris Baird, Nicholas Chase, George Bjalkemo, and Ryan Bates 11:00 down for the final spots in the money.

Halfway through the run, Dreitz had run another 27 seconds into Charbot, enjoying a comfortable 5:00 advantage. Matt Reed was charging, now into third and 2:11 down to Charbot. Montgomery and Baird were now battling for fourth and fifth.

Dreitz continued to maintain his lead, breaking the tape in 3:50:41 for the victory. Charbot held on for a strong second place finish in 3:54:22. Reed was unable to finish closing the gap to Charbot but took home a solid third-place performance.

Baird finished fourth following a race-best 1:15:42 run. Trevor Delsaut ran himself into 5th. Bjalkemo, Gerlack, and Montgomery rounded out the cash positions on the day.

Name Country OVERALL RANK Swim Bike Run
Dreitz, Andreas DEU 1 00:27:55 02:01:45 01:18:42 03:50:41
Chrabot, Matt USA 2 00:25:32 02:08:26 01:17:38 03:54:22
Reed, Matt USA 3 00:25:34 02:12:32 01:17:17 03:57:39
Baird, Chris USA 4 00:29:21 02:11:04 01:15:42 03:58:42
Delsaut, Trevor FRA 5 00:29:27 02:11:18 01:16:15 04:00:00
Bjalkemo, George SWE 6 00:29:31 02:11:00 01:16:39 04:00:08
Gerlach, Thomas USA 7 00:29:23 02:11:09 01:17:08 04:00:19
Montgomery, Jake AUS 8 00:25:32 02:10:49 01:22:41 04:01:45

About the Author

Ryan Heisler
Ryan Heisler is a digital marketing specialist with a specific focus on search engine, social media, and content marketing. He is also a veteran of the specialty running and triathlon industry, having spent a decade managing stores in New England and the mid-Atlantic. He is also a former sports talk radio host at WERS-FM in Boston and holds a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law.