Sweden’s Lisa Norden dominated the 10-kilometer run and held off 2010 Ironman champion Mirinda Carfrae to win the women’s Hy-Vee 5150 Elite Cup clocking a time of 1:59:12.
Norden and Carfrae each had to overtake American Sarah Haskins, who led the entire bike portion of the race, as well as three of the four run laps.
But Norden pulled alongside Haskins with about five minutes left to the finish as Carfrae battled to close the gap, she finished eight second behind Norden.
With more than 9,000 fans in the grandstands and thousands more lining the streets of downtown Des Moines, Haskins passed fellow American and University of Florida swimmer Sara McLarty not long after they emerged first and second from the 1.5-kilometer swim in the swift current of the Des Moines River.
Haskins, who came into the Hy-Vee race a perfect five-for five in 2011, quickly jumped ahead of McLarty on the bike, opened up a wide lead, and beat back the challenge of top-ranked 5150 series competitor Nikki Butterfield on the run course. But she could not withstand the pressure applied by Norden, who caught and passed her on the final lap, Haskins finished third clocking 1:59:29.
“I knew it was going to be a tight race that would come down to the run,” Norden said.
Carfrae, the Australian endurance star who, like Norden and Haskins, entered Sunday’s race by way of special invitation, said she was surprised by her second-place finish.
“I didn’t have high expectations; I just went out to do my best,” she said.
Norden took home $151,500 for the win, plus a $5,100 bonus for her performance on the final lap; Carfrae won $75,000. Haskins netted $50,000 in addition to the $25,550 she racked up in lap bonuses.
“I’ve had a really crappy season,” said Norden, who was clocked at 1 hour, 59 minutes and 12 seconds. “This is the first time I’ve finished in the top five. I’m just so glad it came at the Hy-Vee.”
Butterfield collected a total of $25,000 when she finished 4th with a time of 1:59:38.