EASTON, Conn. -- Easton’s Chris Thomas finished second overall and first in his age group Saturday in the Ironman Maryland.
Thomas finished the race in 8 hours, 50 minutes and 21 seconds. Tim Smith of New Zealand won in 8:38:21. Thomas’ finish also earned him a spot in the 2016 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.
The swim in the Maryland race was shortened to 3,000 meters due to high winds. The event also includes a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2 mile run. Thomas’ 3:10:23 marathon was the third fastest among all competitors. He had the fifth fastest bike split and ranked 36th in the swim.
“I took the two loop swim easy as I knew it was going to be cold later and would need the energy,’’ said Thomas, the owner of Personal Training Professionals in Southport. “On the bike, I had a hard time hitting my zones but knew the temps were playing into things and it got really windy. Not Kona windy but it was challenging.”
Thomas got out quickly on the run with some strong opening miles, averaging nearly 6:40 early on. He drifted up to 8:00 per mile around the 23-mile mark before finishing with a 7:06 pace in the final half mile. He finished with an average run pace of 7:15 per mile.
“I felt great with the cooler temperatures for the first 12 miles,’’ said Thomas, who competes in the 40-44 age group. “Then the wheels came off. I went right to the cola to try to get a sugar push but legs were trashed, so just went into auto mode and shortened my stride with higher cadence. I cramped like crazy but was able to keep moving.”
Ironman Maryland had been scheduled for early October. The threat of a hurricane delayed the race for two weeks.
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