IRONMAN World Championships
An outstanding performance full of grit and character earned Lucy Charles a second place finish in the fastest ever IRONMAN World Championships, with Joe Skipper recording a top-10 finish in an superb weekend for Endura’s roster of elite long distance triathletes.
(Image: James Mitchell)
Racing in an #EnduraCustom QDC DZ2 race suit, Lucy opened by breaking Kona’s swim record in 48:13, leaving her rivals trailing in her wake – all were more than three minutes behind as they exited the water, with chief rival and defending champion Daniela Ryf (Switzerland) a staggering nine minutes back. Lucy pressed on during the bike leg, initially opening up a bigger gap, before being pegged back slowly after the turnaround. In a similar pattern to 2017, Ryf carved into Charles’s lead in the closing miles and overhauled her on the run into T2, but once again Lucy refused to be beaten and hit T2 just 1:40 in arrears.
(Image: James Mitchell)
With Ryf working hard on the opening half of the run, Lucy had dropped to six minutes back by the halfway point in the marathon but again called on her remarkable reserves of mental and physical strength to come home in 8:36:32 – a time 10 minutes faster than the pre-2018 record that Ryf smashed by an incredible 20 minutes to record her fourth straight win in Kona.
(Image: Instagram @susiecheetham - photographer: Matt Bottril)
To underline how quick this year’s race was, the entire women’s top-10 broke the nine hour mark, a feat never before seen in IRONMAN. Elsewhere in the women’s race, Susie Cheetham finished in 26th spot in the pro field in 9:27:56.
In the men’s race, Joe Skipper impressed with a top-10 finish with a particularly run that saw him climb from 17th spot to 10th with a 2:54:16 marathon.
The comeback kid, Tim Don, arrived in Kona having fully recovered from his 2017 horror injury that saw him break his neck whilst training in Hawai’i for last year’s World Championships. Having battled through of months in a HALO device and then pushing hard through recovery, the Boulder based Londoner has amazed us with his fortitude over the past 12 months - to not only race again, but qualify for Kona again and then go on to finish in 26th in 8:45:17.
(Image: Instagram @tri_thedon - photographer James Mitchell)
Movistar Team’s new World Champion, Alejandro Valverde, rounded out another outstanding season in the final Monument at Il Lombardia in Italy on Saturday. Valverde’s 11th place finish in Como was good enough to see him secure top spot in the UCI’s season long rankings, a year that’s see him win 14 of his 81 races, hitting the podium 24 and an almost 2:1 ratio of top ten to races ratio.
(Image @movistar_team - photographer)
I felt the tiredness of this long season a bit today. I didn’t really feel bad, and was able to stay close to the top contenders all day, struggling but fighting into those final climbs. However, you’ve got to be honest: there were some of the best in the world in this race, and they might have come to this race in better condition. Disappointed about not winning? Not at all – not if you consider how I’ve fared this season. I’d be sad if I wasn’t able to stay on the bike and had to DNF, but I had on my mind this was one of today’s likely scenarios. I can only be satisfied about my 2018 season and this rainbow jersey on my chest.