EASTON, Conn. – Chris Thomas of Easton won the men’s 40-44 age group Sunday at the Ironman World Championship 70.3 mile race in Las Vegas. But he exhausted himself competing in the 100-degree heat.
The 40-year-old Westport businessman finished in 4:32:05. The event consisted of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run. Thomas, who won triathlons in Stamford and Bridgeport this summer, was 46th overall out of 260 finishers. He won his age group by 1:03 over Laurent Jalabert of France.
The sweltering heat made the conditions intolerable. “I crossed the finish line feeling like I left everything out on the course,’’ Thomas wrote on his blog for Timex, his sponsor. “I really turned myself inside out on the back half of the run. It was one of the most painful races that I’ve done. The volunteer that was assigned to me as I crossed the finish line looked at me and asked if I was ok. I replied, ‘no.’ I was absolutely toast.”
Thomas, who owns Personal Training Professionals of Southport, has one big race left this year. He will participate in the Ironman World Championships on Oct. 13 in Hawaii. All of the races this summer have been part of his strategy to build for the world meet, which is 140.6 miles. “For the past three years I have built my racing schedule towards trying to peak for the Ironman World Championships. I feel very confident going into the race this year, but the Ironman distance is very unique. So I do not take anything for granted,’’ Thomas said.
Thomas has been an elite age-group triathlete for several years, but this year has been one of his best. “I was very happy with my fitness coming into the racing season,’’ he said. “I was able to have personal best bike/run combinations at the Griskus Sprint and Mossman Olympic races. Both of those races gave me a lot of confidence about my top-end speed.”