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Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand won the 2010 St Croix Ironman, a distance of 70.3 miles of swim-bike-run competition, in only 37 seconds last Sunday.

He finished just ahead of last year’s defending champion, Tim O’Donnell. It was the 2nd time in two weeks they finished 1-2 within one minute of each other in the same distance triathlon. They are scheduled to compete twice more in their next two races this season. After O’Donnell mentioned the rivalry during the race, “Terenzo just had an extra gear that I did not have today,” the reigning ITU Long Course Champion said.

The 25-year-old Bozzone finished the “half” Ironman — a 1.2-mile swim, followed by a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run — first overall in a time of 4 hours, 6 minutes and 2 seconds. The mark was about four minutes shy of the course record O’Donnell, a Colorado resident, set last year.

On the women’s side, Catriona Morrison, a 33-year-old from Scotland, became only the second woman in the 22-year history of the event to repeat as champion. She finished in 4:31:06, which was 10th overall and more than 10 minutes faster than the next female competitor.

The women’s runner up, Sam Warriner, a former Olympian from New Zealand, couldn’t catch Morrison on the final stage and finished at 4:42:28. “That was the toughest course,” Warrnier told a race announcer moments after she crossed the finish line. “I was dying during this race.”

Comfortable cloud cover surrounded St. Croix during the early hours of the race and a steady breeze swirled as the professionals finished up the swim. But midway through the bike portion, the sun started to glare down on the athletes and the temperature rose to 87 degrees (with a heat index of 95 degrees).

“Everyone knows this race doesn’t start until the second running loop,” said O’Donnell, whose debut in this race was just last year, when he won. “The conditions were very rough. The heat was crazy. It was much worse than last year.”

Both O’Donnell and Bozzone committed to return next year and continue the competition. “I think we’re both up-and-comers and we’ve both won a world title in the last two years,” O’Donnell said. “So, yeah. I think we could be one of the new rivalries for the sport.”