Docherty third in Las Vegas half ironman
Docherty made his move early on the 21.1km run to push up into second place on the first of three laps before being passed by defending champion Craig Alexander of Australia.
The 35-year-old New Zealander, who finished 12th at the recent London Olympics, held on to take third ahead of fast-finishing Americans Tim O’Donnell and Andy Potts.
Docherty’s 3hr 56min 25sec was less than two minutes behind upset winner, German Sebastian Kienle, who clocked a race record 3:54.35 in draining 37C heat, just on a minute ahead of second-placed Alexander.
It’s only the third time Docherty has contested the testing distance – the first was 12 years ago, with a more recent victory in Panama over Lance Armstrong last year.
Docherty says he went into the Las Vegas event unsure of his chances.
“I really didn’t know what to expect – I’m so new to this game, I just wanted a good race,” he said.
“I knew if I did manage a good race, I could get on the podium. There was a small chance I could win, but Sebastian rolled the dice and was able to get away and we couldn’t even touch him.
“I still have a lot of learning to do.”
Seven-time Ironman New Zealand champion Joanna Lawn finished fifth in the women’s event, running through the field from 10th off the bike.
US-based British athlete Leanda Cave claimed her second Ironman 70.3 world title, pushing hard on the bike after a strong swim to open up a telling three-minute lead.
She held off fast-finishing American Kelly Williamson to win in 4:28.05. Lawn wound up with a strong 1:29.23 effort over the 21.1km run to finish in 4:36.08.