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Matt Hanson grabs silver at the PTO 2020 Championship at Challenge Daytona

The five-time Ironman champion recorded the fastest split on the 18km run at 57.22.

 

On athlete Matt Hanson produced a stellar performance to secure second place at the men’s PTO 2020 Championship at Challenge Daytona on December 6, only to admit: “I had zero expectations of the day!”

 

The American triathlete was in 21st place after the race’s 2km swim and 80km bike ride. But he stormed through the field during the four 4.5km running laps of the Daytona International Speedway property.

 

Hanson, who also finished second at the 2020 IRONMAN Florida last month (November 2020), held off a field including fellow On athletes Andi Dreitz (10th), Javier Gomez (11th), Ruedi Wild (23rd), Matt Russell (37th) and Jesper Svensson (46th).

 

Fenella Langridge (7th) and Nicola Spirig (10th) led the way in the women’s race, with Kristin Liepold (39th) also producing a big effort.

 

“I started smiling about 10 meters before the finish line and I don’t think I’ve stopped since,” said Hanson. “I knew I was in good form, (but) I came into this race with very little pressure. I just wanted to execute a great day and let the results sort themselves out, so all day I was just focusing on staying positive and in the moment.”

 

Hanson added: “The On shoes worked great – as always! This was my first race in my newest pair and I absolutely loved them. I knew they were a winner the first time I ran in them last week.”

 

Hanson revealed he was in the dark about his fitness ahead of the race, having moved to Colorado only six weeks ago and still adjusting to training at 6,000 feet. “It was hard to really know where the fitness was,” he said.

 

The day started with a good swim. I was still well back in the field, but I came out of the water with some people I typically swim well behind. So that definitely started things out on a positive note.

 

“I was overriding for a few laps in the middle of the bike when some strong riders came by me. I had to make a conscious decision to let them go and stick with the race plan. I had no idea how far back I was getting off the bike, but I felt good out of T2 and ran like I had nothing to lose.”

       

Andi Dreitz at Challenge Daytona

 

Elsewhere in the field, Andi Dreitz was delighted with his 10th-placed finish. He said: “I’m very happy with my performance and bringing home some extra Christmas money!”

 

Spaniard Javier Gomez was also tipped to be a major contender ahead of the race. He recorded the third-fastest split on the run (58.49) and eventually finished 11th. But in the end, there was no stopping Hanson.        

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