Marc Dubrick (USA) and Elizabeth Bravo (ECU) have taken the final titles of 2023 at the inaugural edition of Challenge Salinas in Ecuador bringing the season to an end in hot and windy conditions.
In the men’s race, it was already clear on paper that the biggest battle was likely to be between Dubrick and Jackson Laundry (USA). That indeed proved to be the case. Dubrick led out of the swim one minute ahead of Laundry but by the second lap Laundry had a strong lead on the bike over the chase group coming into T2 first. However, the heat was to be Laundry’s undoing. Dubrick proved to be able to better handle the 30C heat an 85% humidity, taking the lead by the second lap and ultimately the win 3:47:10 nearly four minutes ahead of Laundry, who crossed the line in 3:50:56. Justin Riele (USA) completed the all-American podium 3:53:47.
“It was a great race, I was really happy with it,” said Dubrick. “I was solo on the swim, I didn’t really want to bring anyone with me and I thought it was a big group on the bike but we split apart as it was really hard. There was a huge cross wind on the far side of the course and we had three laps of that. Jackson was up the road and I knew I couldn’t give him too much time or I wouldn’t be able to catch him on the run. I got on the run feeling good and let the legs do the talking!”
In the women’s race, all three main contenders came out of the water together with Margareta Bicanova (SVK) leading and Bravo and Margie Santimaria (ITA) neck and neck just two seconds behind. Bravo and Santimaria quickly road away on the bike, riding together until the second lap when Bravo broke away. Onto the run an for a while it looked like Santimaria would challenge Bravo’s lead, closing the gap to just 20 seconds. However, the local athlete and three-times Olympian made the most of her hometown advantage and further increased the gap to take the win in convincing style in 4:21:14. Santimaria came in second in 4:28:36 Bicanova was third in 4:49:02.
“I’m so happy to win today here in my home of Ecuador and in the first Challenge Famiy race in Ecuador,” said Bravo. “The swim was really nice as it is like a pool with warm water. The bike was really windy but it’s a super fast course and the run was so hot!”
Santimaria’s second place was enough to push her up into the top five in the final standings of the Challenge Family World Bonus, her goal for this weekend.
“I am so happy to increase my points for the World Bonus!” she said. ‘It was a very hard race as it was very humid and hot but I’m very happy, Challenge Family gave me this opportunity and I’m so happy!!”
For full results, visit https://www.athlinks.com/event/383292/results/Event/1068005/Results. For further information, visit www.challenge-salinas.com.