A top contender going into October's Ford Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, Missoula's Linsey Corbin finished this year's race in a respectable but nevertheless disappointing 11th place, trailing winner Chrissie Wellington's record-setting time of 8:54:02 by 50 minutes. After her fifth-place finish last year, Corbin had hoped to make the podium in 2009, but things didn't go her way. However, Corbin finished her season with a strong second place at Ironman Arizona in Tempe, setting high expectations for next year's charge back to Hawaii.
The race in Hawaii was a struggle. Outpaced by the lead female swimmers, Corbin found herself paddling in what she calls "no-man's land." Then, on the bike leg, she was slapped with a four-minute penalty for failing to drop back quickly enough when passed by a competitor. Corbin, a stickler for the rules, remained unfazed. The real trouble started during the marathon.
Corbin's typical race has her trailing on the swim and steady on the bike. Her moment comes when she blows past competitors on foot, but at Kona, Corbin never found the burst of speed she needed to compete at the top of the field.
"In that long of a race there are always things that you look back on and think, 'I could have done this, this and this better,'" says Corbin. "So, you find yourself signed up for another race looking to improve."
After her disappointment in Hawaii, Corbin scrapped plans to race in the XTERRA and Ironman 70.3 World Championships in favor of tackling Ironman Arizona on November 22. She had something to prove.
"I was a bit disappointed with how my day panned out," she says. "I figured I would throw my hat into the ring and race one more Ironman to end the year."
Corbin ran her trademark race at Tempe, coming up from behind in the marathon to post a second-place finish, barely trailing winner Samantha McGlone (9:09:19), and setting a personal Ironman record of 9:13:46. If she'd gone that fast in Kona, Corbin would have easily made the podium.
"I am really happy with how the day ended up," she says. "I'm already looking forward to 2010."