By The Nation
In 02:21:39 hours, Croneborg claimed his title less than two minutes before his toughest contender Bart Aernouts from Belgium, who recently took second place on the podium at the World Championship in Kona. Coming in third was Per Van Vlerken of Germany with a time of 02:24:02.
Also racing with bib number 1 to honour his four-time LPT title was Massimo Cigana of Italy who came in the fourth at 02:27:00 as the crowd cheered on a field of more than 1,000 triathletes, representing 50 countries in the event, which features a 1.8K swim, 50K bike and 12K run, with a US$20,000 (Bt658.000) prize purse.
In the women’s field, world champion and LPT first-timer, Annabel Luxford from Australia finished first, in 02:39:50. Following Luxford in second was fellow Australian Dimity Lee-Duke (02:42:08) who then saw her follower, Hungary’s Anna Eberhardt in third with 02:46:21.
The race’s transition area was at Laguna Grove in the heart of Asia’s premier destination resort, Laguna Phuket. The race start on the resort’s beachfront was comfortable with mild weather and small waves. The bike and run courses became challenging when the Phuket heat kicked in.
“I was second on the podium before at LPT, so it feels really good to win today,” said Croneborg. “I know every corner of the race course and being familiar with the bike course really helped as I had to push hard today. I had a good swim leg and tried to keep the other guys away on the run course.”
Wowing the Thai crowd were defending champions in the men’s and women’s fields. Jaray Jearanai was once again the first Thai finisher in 02:34:26, breaking his own record from last year and claiming his eighth consecutive LPT win since 2011, and Nichakarn Ruttanaporn in 03:11:58.
In the “25 For 25 Sprint” category, newly launched this year with a race distance of 25K (swim 0.5K, bike 18.5K and run 6K combined) to celebrate LPT’s 25th anniversary, Phuket-based Britons Oliver Trott in 01:02:21 and Sam McInnes in 01:12:11 finished first in male and female categories.
Sunday’s race followed LPT Charity Fun Run, hosted on Saturday and which saw the participation of 1,500 runners in the 2K kids, 5K and 10K categories. The event raised Bt250,000 for the Children First Fund in support of seven orphanages in Phuket, housing more than 400 children.