Ironman 70.3 crowns its winners in 90-degree heat
This story was updated at 6 p.m. on May 23, 2021 to correct the race name in Sunbelt Bakery Ironman 70.3.
Brian Reynolds had never been to Chattanooga before last weekend. But after winning Sunbelt Bakery’s Ironman 70.3 on Sunday in 4: 07.55, the 33-year-old Richland, Michigan resident said he would like to defend his title next year.
“Oh, I would definitely consider coming back,” the mechanical engineer said. “Absolutely. The spectators were great, especially on the course. Lots of energy. It’s my first Ironman victory. I’m really happy.”
The heat was definitely a factor, reportedly reaching 90 degrees by noon. But that doesn’t seem to change the opinion of many of the more than 3,000 competitors who were scheduled to swim 1.2 miles early Sunday morning in the Tennessee River, travel 56 miles through Chattanooga and North Georgia, then run 13.1 miles. along the Tennessee Riverwalk. .
Worthy of a tie race for the ‘Most Likely to Recommend to a Friend’ event at the 2018 Athlete Choice Awards, most runners echoed 38-year-old female winner Meghan Fillnow, who said: ” It’s a really fair course and the two volunteers and the spectators are wonderful, so kind. “
Fillnow was beaming from ear to ear after winning the women’s division in 4: 35.26, despite Sunbelt mascots Otis and Chip dropping her finish strip before they could run through it.
“I love this city so much,” said Fillnow, who lives in Charlotte, NC, and was making his third appearance in the city’s Ironman 70.3. “It’s so awesome. So walkable. There is so much to do. And there is great Southern hospitality.”
Branden Scheel of Loveland, Colo., Was second in the men’s with a time of 4: 14.24 followed by native German Yannick Fischback third at 4: 15.09. Amy Corrigan (4: 42.24) was second behind Fillnow in the women, while Marni Sumbal (4: 42.39) was third.
“It went really well,” said Scheel, who also finished second in 2018 and 10th in 2019. “It’s a tough course in places. It brings out the best and the worst in you.”
Fischback, 29, who now lives in Townville, SC and works for BMW: “It’s a great ride. Maybe a little warmer than I had hoped, which made it a bit more difficult the hill race. But the volunteers were awesome. “
The Sunbelt Bakery Ironman 70.3, which was canceled a year ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, is expected to have a positive impact on Chattanooga’s economy with a pre-race estimate of $ 6.7 million spent by the 7,600 athletes, visitors and spectators likely to drop by the picturesque town for the weekend.
“We won’t have the final numbers for some time,” said Tim Morgan, athletic director of Chattanooga Sports. “But everyone I’ve spoken to has been so appreciative of our volunteers and the city in general. I heard from many participants who told me how friendly and hospitable our city is. And our people are our differentiator when it comes to competing for these events. After a difficult year, we are back in the game. “
Contact Mark Wiedmer at [email protected]