WESPY Winner Takes Ironman Gold

Header-image-Shalapata-2By Ian Shalapata

(OCEANSIDE, CA) – Harrow native and this year’s WESPY Award winner for Male Athlete of the Year, Lionel Sanders earned himself a $12,000 payday with a come from behind win at the California 70.3 Ironman Competition. Sanders finished in a total time of 3:51:17, a scant 39 seconds ahead of Germany’s Andreas Dreitz.

One week ago, Lionel Sanders received the WESPY Award for Windsor and Essex County's Male Athlete of the Year, at the Caboto Club.Photo by Ian Shalapata.

One week ago, Lionel Sanders received the WESPY Award for Windsor and Essex County’s Male Athlete of the Year, at the Caboto Club.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Sanders splashed through a 1.2 mile swim, through Oceanside Harbour, in a time of 26:33 and was sitting in 25th place, and 3 minutes off the pace, heading into the bike portion of the event.

He completed the 56 miles on two wheels in 2:07:47 and had moved his way into 3rd spot in the Pro Division, trailing Dreitz, who had moved up from 8th place.

On the bike portion of the race, competitors were restricted in speed to 25 mph, during a zone which travelled through the US Marine Corps Camp Pendleton. Under threat of disqualification, bikers had to ensure they didn’t exceed the maximum speed while trying to close the gap on rivals ahead of them.

During the run, Sanders and Andy Potts opened a gap on the other runners and eventually Sanders lapped Dreitz at the 9th mile. He finished the 13.1 miles in 3:51:17 ahead of Dreitz and Tim Reed in 3rd.

“I pushed so hard on the bike that the run felt like two marathons today,” Sanders told Jason Tuffs after the race.

Calgary’s Heather Wurtele finished 1st in the women’s race at Oceanside, completing an all-Canadian sweep of the event. Her husband Trevor Wurtele crossed the line in 7th place, 5:44 behind Sanders.

The win was Sanders’ second of the season in two races. He had earlier won the Panama 70.3.


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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. Email Ian Shalapata