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1,500 Compete in Ironman Triathlon

October 18, 1997

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) _ Jurgen Zack of German held the lead after the bicycle phase of the Ironman Triathlon World Championship here Saturday.

Zack took the lead at around the 35-mile mark of the 112-mile bicycle ride and was about 2 1/2 minutes ahead of fellow German Thomas Hellriegel, Chris Legh of Australia, and Ken Glah of of West Chester, Pa., at the start of the 26.2-mile run.

Wendy Ingraham of Walnut Creek, Calif., led the women late in the bicycle ride. She kept the lead throughout the bike ride after being the first women out of the water and seventh overall, breaking a 13-year-old women’s record with a finish of 49 minutes and 52 seconds.

Bruce Gennari of Nashville, Tenn., was first to finish the 2.4-mile swim but was passed in the transition by Wolfgang Dittrich of Germany, who yeilded to Zack early in the bike ride.

Gennari’s swim time was 49:31, well off the 1995 record pace of 46:44 by Lars Jorgensen.

A total of 1,477 competitors began the race.

Most of the sport’s professionals were vying for $160,000 in prize money and performance bonuses.

The race was assured a new winner when defending champion Luc Van Lierde of Belgium pulled out because of a foot injury. He set the course record of 8 hours, 4 minutes and 8 seconds last year.

Defending champion Paula Newby-Fraser was seeking her ninth women’s title. She holds the women’s record with an 8:55:28 finish in 1992.