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Butterfield third in Texas

Butterfield broke the eight-hour barrier

Tyler Butterfield produced another strong performance when he placed third in the Ironman North American Championship in the Woodlands, Texas, at the weekend.

Butterfield finished in a time of 7hr 58 min 29sec.

The Bermudian, who was fourth in the Ironman 70.3 Dubai in January, exited the water with a lead group that included Andrew Starykowicz of the United States. As expected, Starykowicz used his superb bike skills to post a quick 4:01:14 to take a commanding lead into the second transition with Butterfield trailing in second place.

However, Matt Hanson of the US — who placed second in the 2015 race — went through the second transition less than a minute behind Butterfield before using his running speed to pull away from the 34-year-old and catch the fading Starykowicz.

Butterfield also had to contend with the fast-charging Ronnie Schildknecht of Switzerland, also known for his running ability, who eventually reeled in Butterfield to finish in 7:56:21.

Hanson, however, set a time of 2:42 in the run to easily take the win in a new course record of 7:52.44. Butterfield managed to hold off the fast finishing Will Clarke, of England, who exited the water close to Butterfield but lost time on the bike.

Clarke finished just 33 seconds behind Butterfield in 7:59.02. Butterfield was out of the water in 49:08 before clocking 4:15:20 on the bike.

His running time of 2:49 was the slowest among the top six finishers as Hanson and Schildknecht increased the gap over Butterfield who was more than two minutes behind Schildknecht, almost six minutes faster on the run.

Butterfield has a potentially busy six weeks on the horizon with four triathlons scheduled.

On May 6 there is the Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championship in St George, Utah, followed by the Ironman 70.3 Pan American Pro Championship in Monterrey, Mexico.

The competition switches to Florianopolis, Brazil, on May 28 for the Ironman South American Championship before the Ironman 70.3 Boulder, Colorado — Butterfield’s home town — on June 11.