Lucy Charles continues her incredible trajectory towards the top of the sport with a dominating performance at the Ironman African Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.
April 15, 2018 | NEWS|
If there was even a smidgen of doubt that Lucy Charles might not be the woman to watch in Ironman racing for, say, the next decade or so, that was put to rest in style today as the 24-year-old British star dominated the Ironman African Championship. As his her typical modus operandi in all her races, she took off right from the gun and never looked back in taking her second Ironman title.
After winning Ironman Lanzarote in the same fashion last year, Charles went on to finish 2017 in even more impressive style, winning the Challenge Championship in a come-from-behind sprint to the line, finishing second at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt and rounding all that out with a huge runner-up finish in Kona.
What makes Charles even more frightening, in terms of her potential, is that its hard to imagine the pressure of high-performance racing will ever get to her. This is a woman who, at the age of 18, found herself in the pressure-cooker world of elite swimming, trying to make the British Olympic team in a hotly contested battle for a spot in the open water race. She didn't make that team, but two years later started on a triathlon career that has quickly put her amongst the best in the world.
Swim course record
All of which she proved in dramatic style in Nelson Mandela Bay. Only Josh Amberger swam faster than Charles, who set a new swim course record with her 47:32 split. That put her five minutes ahead of Canadian Rachel McBride and eight minutes up on a pack that included some of the pre-race favorites - Emma Pallant (GBR), Susie Cheetham (GBR) and Linsey Corbin.
Padding the lead on the bike
If the swim was good, the bike was every bit as impressive as Charles opened up more time on the rest of the women. By the end of the bike her lead was a whopping 11:29 on McBride, who is typically renowned for her strong rides, 12 minutes on Cheetham and almost 19 minutes on Corbin.
Cheetham would gain some time on the run, eventually finishing just under seven minutes behind, but Charles was never really challenged as she posted a solid 3:05 marathon split to take the win. Corbin put together the day's only sub-three hour marathon to round out the podium, with McBride hanging on for fourth and Frances Manon Genet finishing fifth.
Ironman African Championship
April 15, 2018 | Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa
3.8 km Swim
180 km Bike
42 km Run