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PHUKET: More than 1,300 athletes representing 44 nationalities crowded Laguna Phuket this weekend to participate in the 22nd Laguna Phuket Triathlon.

Germany’s two-time Ironman 70.3 world champion Michael Raelert made an impressive comeback to take the top position on the podium with a time of 2:30:14 (swim 23:55, bike 1:20:06, run 43:44), followed by Switzerland’s Ruedi Wild (2:32:57) and Stuart Hayes of Great Britain (2:36:17).

In the women’s field, Swiss pro Simone Braendli took home the win finishing with a time of 2:48:04, followed by World Duathlon Champion Emma Pallant of Great Britain (2:52:43) and Phuket-based Australian pro Dimity-Lee Duke (2:56:08).

“My practice was to get a bit used to the heat, for today was really hot. I am very happy I am concluding my season here this year because I love Thailand and I like Phuket,” said Mr Raelert.

“Next weekend I’m hoping that I’ll do fine as well. Right now I hope to get a little bit of rest… so that I can do my best and win the race next week as well.”

Ms Braendli also made some strategic choices to battle the heat.

“I arrived last Sunday from Switzerland and had been trying to stay indoors. I did treadmill sessions and swims in a Olympic swimming pool. Then I checked out the courses and tried the bike course three times before the race,” she said.

Wowing the Thai crowd were two leading men in their own right; Jaray Jearanai was the first Thai national to cross the finish line, coming in at 2:57:54, while Artiwara ‘Toon’ Kongmalai, of Thailand’s famed rock band Bodyslam, finished with a time of 4:36:27.

Many athletes who participated in the Laguna Phuket Triathlon will rest in preparation for the Challenge Laguna Phuket on November 29, which comprises a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run.


Results

Men
1. Michael Raelert (DEU) 2:30:14
2. Ruedi Wild (SUI) 2:32:57
3. Stuart Hayes (GBR) 2:36:17
4. Massimo Cigana (ITA) 2:39:15
5. Alberto Casadei (ITA) 2:39:40

Women
1. Simone Braendli (SUI) 2:48:04
2. Emma Pallant (GBR) 2:52:43
3. Dimity-Lee Duke (AUS) 2:56:08
4. Deirdre Casey (IRL) 3:05:05
5. Imogen Simmonds (GBR) 3:05:33