Yvonne van Vlerken made a very impressive start to her ironman career by winning both races she entered and by finishing sub9 in both of them too.
Her iron debut came in Roth in late June when she finished in 8:51:55, recording a 2:58 marathon time. Two months later in Almere, the Netherlands she scorched the course with a 8:58:28 finish.
While new to iron distance racing, Van Vlerken has a formidable race CV. She won the world duathlon championships in 2006 and came third in 2007. She was voted Dutch Triathlete of the Year for her 2007 season.
She says she’s headed to Malaysia to race in February.
The race in Roth, which was part of the WTC circuit until 2001, is home to the world records for Ironman distance events. In fact, the world records for men and women together have been set six times at Roth.
In 1996, Lothar Leder became the first triathlete to finish sub8 in 7:57:02. One year later, Luc van Lierde lowered the world record to 7:50:27. It still stands.
On the women's side, the current race and world record was set by Paula Newby Fraser in 1994 in 8:50:53.
In 2007, two women went sub9: Yvonne van Vlerken in 8:51:55 and Joanna Lawn in 8:58:25.
Almere is the Netherlands iron distance race and it turned 25 years old in 2007. While out of the limelight, it remains one of the fastest courses in the world.
Women have finished sub9 three times on this course including once in 2007 when Dutch woman Yvonne van Vlerken won in 8:58:28. This was her second sub9 iron distance finish during the year - she won in Roth which was her iron distance debut!
She ended 2007 with a 9:00:55 performance at Ironman WA where she smashed the course record by about 10 minutes.
The 34-year-old athlete has made a substantial career move in recent months by winning her first half ironman in Port Macquarie, Australia and then her first Ironman in Busselton. The WA race course has been good to her; in 2006, she was third and in 2005, she was second.
She's coached by both her husband, Kristian Manietta, and John Mergler. While always a threat on the run - she had a run PB of 3:05:05 at WA, Mergler has helped push her to a new level in terms of her cycling. She had the third fastest women's pro bike split on the day at 5:01:34.
I'm an editor and journalist with two decades of experience in observing, deciphering and analysing the economy, financial markets and companies.
My approach is simple: turn numbers into words. Except for this brief comment, I'll be keeping a low profile. The story is the athletes.
As for triathlon, I fell into it seven years ago. Since then, I've raced Ironman events in Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Malaysia and in 2007 I debuted in Kona.
Let me be clear: I am not a pro, nor do I have any illusions of turning pro. However I've been fortunate to train with some superb triathletes including a number of pros both women and men.
Part of the reason to set up this blog was to provide a forum for their success. The Sub Eight bog is focused on men. Moore's Triathlete Rankings is a way for me to keep track of who is among the most consistent.