Ryf rips to a world-best time in taking a fourth Ironman world title

There was no stopping Daniela Ryf - even a jellyfish sting - from entering history with a fourth straight Ironman World Championship win.

| October 14, 2018 | NEWS

Daniela Ryf celebrates her fourth straight Ironman World Championship title in a world-best time.

Daniela Ryf celebrates her fourth straight Ironman World Championship title in a world-best time.

Photo >Nils Flieshardt / spomedis

Heading into this year’s Ironman World Championship it looked like there was no way anyone could touch Daniela Ryf – barring, of course, some sort of incident. Ryf has decimated pretty much every field she’s raced against, winning the Ironman European title by over 25 minutes and Ironman 70.3 Gdynia by over 20. If you talk to her, that’s not the case. The women have pushed her, she’ll tell you. All week the party line has been she’s looking forward to another tough race with Lucy Charles, last year’s Kona runner up, who also pushed Ryf at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in September.

What Ryf doesn’t mention as part of that story is that she wrestled with a busted zipper on her trisuit at that race, which left her riding with the semblance of a parachute on the bike.

There were no difficult zippers on Hawaii’s Big Island today, but there was a jellyfish that managed to sting the three-time world champ just before the start of the race. Instead of coming out of the water in the low-50s, as we’re used to seeing Ryf do when she’s at her best, Ryf finished the swim in 57 minutes, over nine minutes behind Charles. (After the race Ryf would say that the intense pain from the sting made her want to “pull out of the race,” but as the defending champion she felt she needed to keep going.)

Charles would have had no idea that Ryf was having issues with the wildlife, and executed a race plan that showed she wasn’t ready to just hand the race over to Ryf. The former national team open water swimmer hammered through the swim in a course-record 48:13 and proceeded to fly out onto the bike.

Ryf was well back starting leaving T2 – she was 18th and over 10 minutes behind. But almost right off the bat you could see that the Swiss star wasn’t going to let a jellyfish ruin her journey into history – only two people have won four consecutive world titles (Mark Allen and Paula Newby Fraser).

Enjoying near-perfect Kona conditions of very little wind and, for Kona, relatively cool temperatures, Ryf flew through the bike at a pace never seen before on the Big Island for the Ironman. With 20 km to go she had whittled the deficit down to 26 seconds and by the end of the bike she was 1:38 ahead thanks to a 4:26 bike split that took the old course record (4:44) away from her countrywoman Karin Thuerig.

From there the race was pretty much over. Ryf put together a 2:57 marathon which got her to the line in 8:26:16 – not only shattering her own course record, but also eclipsing Melissa Hauschildt’s Ironman best time of 8:31 set in Texas earlier this year.

Charles, at 25 and the youngest pro woman in the field, continued to show that she’s hands down the second-fastest endurance triathlete on the planet, posting a 3:05 marathon to get to the line in 8:36:50, another incredible time on this course.

Behind Charles off the bike was an impressive group of runners, all between 12 and 18 minutes back that included Corinne Abraham (GBR), Sarah Crowley (AUS), Sarah True (USA), Anne Haug (GER) and Heather Jackson (USA). Mixed into that group were a pair of Canadians – Angela Naeth and Rachel McBride, who are not necessarily considered strong runners. A shade under 20 minutes down, though, was the woman considered amongst the sport’s premier runners, Aussie Mirinda Carfrae.

Which set up a great battle for third, which was eventually won by Kona rookie Haug thanks to a 2:55 marathon. True would hang tough for fourth, with Carfrae running her way to an impressive fifth.

In the end the top two spots on the podium served as a repeat performance of last year and likely what we’ll continue to see for a few years to come. At 31, Ryf is hardly going to be slowing down much in the foreseeable future and, at 25, Charles has a bright future ahead, too.

Heading into this year’s Ironman World Championship it looked like there was no way anyone could touch Daniela Ryf – barring, of course, some sort of incident. Ryf has decimated pretty much every field she’s raced against. If you talk to her, that’s not the case. The women have pushed her, she’ll tell you. She’s looking forward to another tough race with Lucy Charles, last year’s Kona runner up, who also pushed Ryf at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in September.

What Ryf doesn’t mention as part of that story is that she wrestled with a busted zipper on her trisuit at that race, which left her riding with the semblance of a parachute on the bike.

There were no difficult zippers on Hawaii’s Big Island today, but there was a jellyfish that managed to sting the three-time world champ just before the start of the race. Instead of coming out of the water in the low-50s, as we’re used to seeing Ryf do when she’s at her best, Ryf finished the swim in 57 minutes, over nine minutes behind Charles. (After the race Ryf would say that the intense pain from the sting made her want to “pull out of the race,” but as the defending champion she felt she needed to keep going.)

Charles would have had no idea that Ryf was having issues with the wildlife, and executed a race plan that showed she wasn’t ready to just hand the race over to Ryf. The former national team open water swimmer hammered through the swim in a course-record 48:13 and proceeded to fly out onto the bike.

Ryf was well back starting leaving T2 – she was 18th and over 10 minutes behind. But almost right off the bat you could see that the Swiss star wasn’t going to let a jellyfish ruin her journey into history – only two people have won four consecutive world titles (Mark Allen and Paula Newby Fraser).

Enjoying near-perfect Kona conditions of very little wind and, for Kona, relatively cool temperatures, Ryf flew through the bike at a pace never seen before on the Big Island for the Ironman. With 20 km to go she had whittled the deficit down to 26 seconds and by the end of the bike she was 1:38 ahead thanks to a 4:26 bike split that took the old course record (4:44) away from her countrywoman Karin Thuerig.

From there the race was pretty much over. Ryf put together a 2:57 marathon which got her to the line in 8:26:16 – not only shattering her own course record, but also eclipsing Melissa Hauschildt’s Ironman best time of 8:31 set in Texas earlier this year.

Charles, at 25 and the youngest pro woman in the field, continued to show that she’s hands down the second-fastest endurance triathlete on the planet, posting a 3:05 marathon to get to the line in 8:36:50, another incredible time on this course.

Behind Charles off the bike was an impressive group of runners, all between 12 and 18 minutes back that included Corinne Abraham (GBR), Sarah Crowley (AUS), Sarah True (USA), Anne Haug (GER) and Heather Jackson (USA). Mixed into that group were a pair of Canadians – Angela Naeth and Rachel McBride, who are not necessarily considered strong runners. A shade under 20 minutes down, though, was the woman considered amongst the sport’s premier runners, Aussie Mirinda Carfrae.

Which set up a great battle for third, which was eventually won by Kona rookie Haug thanks to a 2:55 marathon. True would hang tough for fourth, with Carfrae running her way to an impressive fifth.

In the end the top two spots on the podium served as a repeat performance of last year and likely what we’ll continue to see for a few years to come. At 31, Ryf is hardly going to be slowing down much in the foreseeable future and, at 25, Charles has a bright future ahead, too.

 

Ironman World Championship | Women

October 13, 2018 | Kailua-Kona, USA

Name

Country

Overall

3.8 km Swim

180 km Bike

42.2 km Run

1

Daniela Ryf

SUI

8:26:16

57:26

4:26:07

2:57:05

2

Lucy Charles

GBR

8:36:32

48:13

4:38:11

3:05:50

3

Anne Haug

GER

8:41:57

54:19

4:49:19

2:55:22

4

Sarah True

USA

8:43:42

52:04

4:49:19

2:57:38

5

Mirinda Carfrae

AUS

8:50:44

58:16

4:46:05

3:01:41

6

Sarah Crowley

AUS

8:52:29

54:17

4:43:09

3:10:30

7

Kaisa Sali

FIN

8:54:26

58:21

4:44:32

3:06:06

8

Angela Naeth

CAN

8:57:34

58:27

4:42:26

3:11:13

9

Corinne Abraham

GBR

8:57:54

58:42

4:38:16

3:16:27

10

Linsey Corbin

USA

8:58:57

58:22

4:48:30

3:07:15

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