Potential surprises in the pro race were perceptible already during the press conference – streamed online – on Friday afternoon before the race as main favorites to win were not very eager to make promises about their performance:
Many others could be seen as potential podium finishers but hardly anyone expected Magnus Ditlev to challenge the favorites. 23-year-old Dane came out of water on 18th place but roughly 40 seconds behind the leader. However, what he did on the first, uphill part of the bike course was simply beyond belief. He hammered extremely strong taking the lead quickly and building the gap up to over 6 minutes in T2 before he took on the 2-loop run course leading around the city centre and sea boulevards in Gdynia. He indeed paid a price for this crazy bike ride on the run, having a chasing group of Jan Stratmann (GER), Robert Kallin (SWE), Thomas Davis (GBR) and Patrick Lange attacking from the 10th place after bike. The two-time IRONMAN world champion finally made it to the podium, finishing third in 3:45:50, over 3 minutes behind Ditlev (3:42:37). Thomas Davis took 2nd place in 3:44:57.
Women’s race was more one-sided with Lisa Norden setting her own pace that proved to be too much for her competition. She finished the swim in 26:23 and continued with a very strong bike, averaging 39,75 km/h on a hilly course outside Gdynia. Her quest for victory was completed with a 1:31:43 half marathon. Behind her back, Carolin Lehrieder (GER) finished second in 4:23:45 while Kimberley Morrison (GBR) took the third podium spot.
2020 Enea IRONMAN 70.3 Gdynia was organized under special COVID-19-related sanitary regimen based on the local restrictions and recommendations as well as the global IRONMAN Athlete Smart: Return to Racing guidelines that are based on several pillars: education, density reduction, touchpoint minimization, athlete self-reliance and screening.
would like to express my biggest thanks to all the athletes, volunteers and staff members for their excellent cooperation and understanding for the extra security measures that we introduced for this event. I do believe we made another step forward this weekend showing that IRONMAN events can be organized in a safe manner, even in the pandemic situation, while still being attractive and allowing athletes to enjoy the competition and make their dreams come true.