Daniela Ryf finished fifth among the world’s best athletes in the first-ever women-only Ironman World Championships held in Kona, Hawaii.
The five-time Ironman world champion and four-time Ironman 70.3 world champion was competing in only her second full distance race of the year after winning Challenge Roth in July and setting a new world-best time of 8:18:20.
In what she has said is her farewell race on The Big Island, Ryf swam 3.8 kilometres in Kailua Bay in 54:11, rode 4:38:34 over 180 kilometres on the legendary Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, and ran a 3:02:11 marathon through the energy-sapping Natural Energy Lab and into the welcoming streets of Kailua-Kona. Ryf fought until the end and held off defending world champion Chelsea Sodaro in sixth.
She said, “I was hoping for a better second part on the bike, but I couldn’t let the hammer down. I’m glad to have finished with a strong run, where I was able to make up one position…
“For my last race in Kona it was an honour to have been racing with such a strong field of brilliant women. Being out there with them was absolutely liberating. Huge congrats to Lucy Charles-Barclay for finally getting that well deserved win and breaking the course record.”
Kat Matthews racing her Kona debut registered her only career DNF, struggling to make it through the bike course she had ridden many times before in the lead-up to the event.
Matthews said, “I was in an excellent position… Then literally like a switch went and I struggled to make decisions. I was actually pleading with the aid station to give me water, I was unable to control my bike in the bars, my power halved for the same HR. I thought I could try and fight through it, ‘turn it around’ but it just stayed the same.”
The Ironman 70.3 vice world champion will refocus to come back stronger for the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship Bahrain in December.
Alistair Brownlee continues his comeback double with a third place finish at Challenge Peguera-Mallorca after last weekend’s silver at Challenge Barcelona. He said, “Great to be racing a top-notch field on a very cool course.”
Meanwhile this coming weekend, the Bahrain Victorious Scorpions are set to compete in the Super League Triathlon Championship Series Grand Final in NEOM, Saudi Arabia. Led by Hayden Wilde and Henri Schoeman who both have a shot at the individual men’s title, along with swim and run powerhouse Cassandre Beaugrand, the Scorpions will aim to defend their team championship title.