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Ultraman 2010 crowns for LeRoux, Monforte

Amber Monforte crosses the finish line Sunday at Old Kona Airport, smashing the women's 21-year-old world record. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

Mike LeRoux and Amber Monforte ran away from the competition Sunday to claim the 26th annual Ultraman World Championships in Kona.

The Ultraman World Championships are billed as an athletic odyssey of personal rediscovery; as such, they are the next step in the endurance challenge of being human.

Covering a total distance of 320 miles (515 kilometers) over three days and circling the Big Island, the race requires each participant complete a 6.2 mile (10 K) open ocean swim, a 261.4 mile (421 K) bike ride, and a 52.4 mile (84K) run.

LeRoux, a 34-year-old civil engineer from North Cairns, Australia, capitalized on fact that two of his main challengers were ailing, and outlasted former champs Jonas Colting, 37, of Sweden, and Alexandre Riberio, 45, of Brazil, on the run to claim his first world championship in 21 hours, 55 minutes, 57 seconds.

“The plan was to go out really fast on the first half (of the run). I was gonna go out hard and hang on. It was a bit lonely out the front there,” LeRoux said. “It obviously helped that Jonas was sick and had an off day. But my wife Kristen said she knew I had as sub-7 hour double marathon in me and she was right. I ran 3:04 for the first marathon today and hung on for the second half of the run.”

LeRoux said he felt the conditions were ideal this year.

“The swim was a lot smoother this year, but the winds picked up earlier in the day. The Day 2 bike ride was really good. Day 3 on the run was the same as last year – hot and windy,” he said. “I really enjoyed it when the sun came out.”

LeRoux also thanked his support crew, which included long-time Kona sports enthusiast Jan War and LeRoux’s wife Kristen.

“I had the best crew. I saw other crews jumping out of their vehicles and sprinting alongside athletes to get them drinks and food, but my guys just rolled down the window and handed me stuff,” he said. “I was taking Pringles from them without breaking them. That’s what got me through the second half of the run – mostly Coke and Pringles.”

Kristen said she had no doubt her husband could chase down Colting, who had a 31 minute lead going after the swim and bike portions.

“It’s just what he does. It comes down to passion and Mike just loves to go out for run, go out for a bike ride, go out for a swim,” she said. “It’s just his best thing.”

LeRoux used that passion to chase down Colting, who suffered some respiratory distress and was forced to walk parts of the 52-mile run. His bike times, however, meant he hung on to second place overall.

An outstanding performance by Ultraman rookie Slater Fletcher, 33, of Huntington Beach, Calif. gave him third place overall.

“I had a long year. I had no expectations coming in,” he said. “I just went out to run my own race. I loved it, getting to see the whole island like that.”

Ribeiro, who suffered from vomiting spell throughout the competition, claimed fourth. “This year I just survived,” he said.

Trainer Jose Ponciano said he was worried about his friend continuing the race.

“He was sick all three days. If it was up to me, he never would have started Day 2. Now maybe he will listen to me,” Ponciano said. “But now he is happy just to finish and I will take him away to spend some time with his children.”

Ribeiro’s three children ran across the finish line with him. Although his two sons have made the Hawaii trip before, it was a new experience for his 5-year-old daughter.

Record-shattering performances

Monforte, a 32-year-old registered nurse from Reno, Nev., smashed the decades-old women’s Ultraman record by 1:38:40. She crossed the finish line with a huge smile, took a left turn and walked straight into the ocean.

During the course of the three-day race, Monforte assaulted the record books. She had the fastest Day 2 bike split, knocking 41:42 off the course record. She also had the second fastest swim and fastest Day 1 bike split.

Monforte also sliced 1:29:38 from her own Ultraman world-best set last year in Canada.

She admitted winning the world championship had not yet registered, although it certainly will taste sweet after a difficult month.

Newly single, Monforte considered dropping out of the race and even told her crew not to bother making the trip.

“But I arrived in Hawaii on Nov. 5 and I called my crew and said ‘It’s on!'” she said. “Like racing and in life, you just have to move forward.”

The second, third and fourth place women overall also came in under the old record of 25:45:51, set by Tina Bischoff in 1989.

Hillary Biscay, 33, of Tuscon, Ariz., in her first Ultraman, already knocked 19 minutes off the swim record on Friday and turned in a fine performance to give her second place overall.

Shanna Armstrong, 36, of Lubbock, Texas, already owns six Ultraman world championships, but set a new personal best by 1:05 this year.

“I’ve been chasing that record forever and then this beast (Monforte) shows up. I finally broke all my Ultraman splits, but I got beat by Hillary and Amber. I couldn’t have done any better today,” she said. “It actually felt really good out there. That’s my fastest marathon ever.”

Armstrong said winning in Hawaii six times and knowing the island course well didn’t really help.

“It’s like Groundhog Day. It’s always the same. You know when and where it’s gonna hurt,” she said. “People said I’ve never been challenged before this year, but I know different. Talented women have been coming after me for six years and I have had to dig deep many times.”

Kathy Winkler, 44, of Mill Valley, Calif., had a solid performance in her second consecutive Ultraman Hawaii. She was runner-up to Armstrong last year, but had to settle for fourth this year, even though she shaved nearly 30 minutes off her time.

Men’s Top 3
1. Mike LeRoux, Australia 21:55:57
2. Jonas Colting, Sweden 22:19:54
3. Slater Fletcher, California 22:21:54

Women’s Top 3
1. Amber Monforte, Nevada 24:07:11
2. Hillary Biscay, Arizona 24:40:28
3. Shanna Armstrong, Texas 24:43:57

Full Results - Day 3 & Overall Results
# Name	 Age	Sex	Run 52.4 mi	Event Total Overall
Finish Position
520	Le Roux	Mike	        34	M	6:31:45	 21:55:57	 1
509	Colting	Jonas	37	M	7:27:07	 22:19:54	 2
514	Fletcher	Slater	33	M	7:06:21	 22:21:54	 3
531	Ribeiro	Alexandre45	M	6:59:02	 23:52:46	 4
526	Monforte	Amber	32	F	7:47:29	 24:07:11	 5	1-F
524	McEvoy	Christian	28	M	8:20:04	 24:16:42	 6
505	Biscay	Hillary	32	F	7:55:10	 24:40:28	 7	2-F
501	Armstrong Shanna	36	F	7:49:07	 24:43:57	 8	3-F
508	Cokan	Nino 	37	M	8:46:08	 25:03:18	 9
536	Wang	Gary	        43	M	8:23:30	 25:13:33	 10
502	AugustoDeSousaMilton	36M	7:54:55	 25:27:04	 11
537	Winkler	Kathy	44	F	7:53:07	 25:35:23	 12	4-F
518	Joswig	Markus	29	M	8:26:48	 25:36:57	 13
510	ConceicaoCarlos	46	M	7:25:48	 25:56:59	 14
513	DraperChristopher  34	M	7:59:14	 26:13:04	 15
503	Beasley	Scott	49	M	8:56:10	 26:19:56	 16
534	Schmidt	Wolfgang	49	M	8:28:02	 27:19:27	 17
519	KobayashiMegumi	37	F	8:52:26	 28:07:37	 18	5-F
529	Peruta	Adam	32	M	9:23:08	 29:17:44	 19
532	Rouse	Kimmie	55	F	9:19:34	 29:21:15	 20	6-F
522	Maciel	Vanuza	40	F	9:36:03	 29:39:43	 21	7-F
507	Callos	John	        48	M	9:43:34	 30:32:31	 22
528	Patzina	Roland	44	M	10:04:44	 30:36:49	 23
504	Beers	Laurie	56	F	10:32:36	 30:47:17	 24	8-F
530	Raymond	Martin	48	M	10:15:41	 30:51:28	 25
533	Rouse	Mike	        58	M	9:09:59	 31:23:18	 26
521	Lester	Jason	36	M	9:30:51	 31:32:24	 27
506	Bourne	Simon	47	M	10:58:29	 31:33:27	 28
515	Foulk	Cory	        51	M	11:02:54	 31:55:18	 29
512	Degazon	Suzy	        46	F	10:19:38	 32:08:38	 30	9-F
517	Hillery	Robert	29	M	11:15:53	 33:02:20	 31
511	Dalton	Paul	        52	M	10:08:53	 33:11:31	 32
525	Minor	Wendy	65	F	11:29:38	 33:39:49	 33	10-F
535	Sissel	Jason	34	M	DNF	 DNF	 DNF
523	MaddalozzoMario	34	M	DNF	 DNF	 DNF
516	Franklin	Martin	46	M	DNF	 DNF	 DNF
= New Record

— Find out more:

Mike LeRoux earns his first Ultraman world crown. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Hillary Biscay finishes the 52-mile run in under 8 hours. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

World champion Amber Monforte, with members of her crew and race director Jane Bockus (left) heads for a refreshing dip in the Pacific Ocean. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Kathy Winkler (right) congratulates Shanna Armstrong on her third place finish. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Mike LeRoux talks about his day. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

2008 and 2009 world champion Alexandre Ribeiro (right) and 2010 world champion Mike LeRoux. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

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