Ironman Austria was hosted by the city of Klagenfurt in the beautiful state of Corinthia on Sunday July 3rd.
The race featured a 2.4 mile swim beginning on the shores of Woerthersee with the final half mile up the famous Lend-canal lined with cheering spectators. The two loop, 112 mile bike course, rolled through the corinthian country and lakeside villages with several challenging hills totaling 4500ft of climbing. The 26.2 mile run was relatively flat and also two loops taking runners out to the tiny village of Krumpendorf and then through the Klagenfurt city center twice.
Michael Weiss was the local favorite and returned to his home-country race after finishing 3rd in 2010. There was much excitement and hope that Michi, their Austrian pro, might be the right man to break Ironman Champion Marino Vonhoenaker's 7:52h time winning streak in Klagenfurt.
The race started at 7am with a cannon and fireworks marking the beginning of this epic day.
Michael Weiss exited the water in 52:52min, a quality swim for the once Olympic Mountain Biker.
Weiss started the bike in 14th position and before the first loop was complete had powered his way to second place. He was approximately 8mins behind Marino and averaging 340 watts in an effort to catch the Belgium. Michi finished the bike leg in 4:16h and remained about 10minutes behind Vanhoenacker. Third place athlete, Marko Albert was still more than 4 minutes back.
Michael ran a 6min/mile-pace in the first run stretch hoping to catch sight of Marino. The crowds cheered as Marino chased the Ironman World Record and Michi chased Marino. Weiss was not able to overtake the "Flying Belgium", but finished in 2nd with his 2:42h marathon run.
Marino Vonhoenaker set a new Ironman World Record on Sunday in 7:45:58h, Michael Weiss obtained a personal best and sub-8 hour Ironman time with 7:57:39h. Only 10 athletes in the world have accomplished an Ironman in under 8 hours. Weiss is Austria's first Ironman Champion after winning IM St. George in 2010 and also holds the fastest Ironman time for an Austrian.
Michael will represent Austria in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii on October 8th, 2011.