Sonoma Valley has been good to Sam Appleton of the Panthers Tri Club in Penrith. The 29-year-old Sydneysider, who resides in Boulder, Colorado (USA), continues to shine in California’s wine country with his third straight win at Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa (née Vineman 70.3) — his fourth in five years dating back to his inaugural win in 2015.
Appleton used a solid kick on the run to separate from Tim O’Donnell to take the victory in a time of 3 hours 46 minutes 3 seconds — 1-minute 20-seconds over the American.
Byron Bay resident and 2016 70.3 world champion Tim Reed (Ballina Tri Club) crossed the line in third down 1:30 adrift of the runner-up. An ecstatic Appleton immediately took to social media after the win to share his elation.
He posted: “Super pumped to grab win number three in a row here at #im703santarosa. I love this course and I love this event! Thanks for the great race [Tim O’Donnell] and [Tim Reed]. It’s an honour to share the podium with you guys!
“Going wine tasting now.”
Like Appleton, Reed also published his post-race comments on Facebook.
“A solid third yesterday at #IM703SantaRosa," explained the 34-year-old Reed. “Great swim and ride and then a little off the pace on the run. [Appleton] threw down a beautifully well rounded performance to win with [O’Donnell] not far behind in second.”
In the women’s race, American Chelsea Sodaro took control of the half-Ironman six kilometres into the 21.1-kilometre run to claim the win (4:10:57) over 2007 70.3 world champion and three-time Ironman world champion Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) in second (4:14:34) and Canadian Paula Findley in third (4:15:17).