Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor
For those keeping score, that’s six crowns for Alexandre Ribeiro and three for Amber Monforte.
Ribeiro, 47, of Brazil, and Monforte, 34, of Reno, Nev., capitalized on their Day 2 leads to claim additional world titles Sunday at Old Kona Airport Park complex.
The Ultraman race includes a 6.2-mile swim from Kailua Bay to Keauhou Bay, a 261.4-mile bike leg split over two days and a 52.4-mile run on Day 3, which takes the athletes from Hawi back into Kona and the finish line on the beach.
While the weather mostly was good for the bike and run portions, athletes had to power through some choppy whitecaps, brought on by the currents and winds during the swim.
“The swim was difficult. At the end, I felt I was swimming but staying in the same place,” Ribeiro said. “Then all the time on the bike, I felt good. Even on the run, my body felt 100 percent all the time.”
Ribeiro and second-place finisher Miro Kregar, 50, of Slovenia, typically run together, although Ribeiro’s superior bike times being the difference in total time.
“Today, Miro said on the run, ‘let’s not run too fast,'” Ribeiro said. “And I said, ‘oh, thank you, thank you.”
Ribeiro clocked a three-day time of 22 hours, 51 minutes and 12 seconds. Kregar’s final time was 23:52.57.
“My first time at Ironman Kona was 1984 and my first time at Ultraman Hawaii was 2003. I love the Big Island. The Big Island is a magic island for me,” Ribeiro said. “This is my holiday. And now I want to drink a beer.”
Over on the women’s side, Monforte carried a huge lead into the run and needed that advantage as two other women tried to run down her time.
It wasn’t until Monforte finished the run that she confirmed her third world championship and third place overall. She had the day’s third fastest women’s run, but had a total time nearly 30 minutes faster than second place Kathy Winkler.
Monforte’s time was 25:29.09, while Winkler’s was 25:57.56. Although it was not a record, it was good enough to crack the all-time top five times. Monforte has three of those top five times.
Winkler, 46, Mill Valley, Calif., is regarded as a stronger runner, while Monforte excels on the bike.
“My conditioning was not as good as last year. Probably because I just got married a couple ago,” Monforte said. “Kathy is really strong on the run and I knew I had to put some time in on the bike.”
Monforte said the swim conditions meant expending a little more energy than usual, which drained the athletes going into the second and third days.
“I always forget how much this hurts,” she said.
However, the highlight for day in the women’s division was a remarkable run turned in by Ultraman Hawaii rookie Yasuko Miyazaki.
The 35-year-old office worker from Tokyo was third across the finish line, beaten only by the top two men. Her run time of 7:32.12 vaulted her into the final podium position, with a total time of 26:21.28.
Just as she was catching her breath at the finish line, her boyfriend dropped to one knee and proposed.
Miyazaki said ‘yes.’
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