14 October 2012

Cave wins Women's World Ironman

In Hawaii this year the women had for the first time their own start in the World Ironman Triathlon championships, that is a 2.4 mile (3.86km) swim, 112 mile (180.25km) cycle and full 26 mile 385 yard (42.2km) marathon to end. Unlike in the Olympic distance drafting is not allowed.

So overnight the results came through in the women's race three triathletes Amanda Stevens (USA) 55:09, Meredith Kessler (USA) 55:56 and Gina Crawford (NZL) 55:59 emerged first from the water. But hot on their heels were GBs Leanda Cave 56:03 and Mary Beth Ellis (USA) 56:06 with 2010 World Champion Caroline Steffen (SWI) 90 seconds further back.

On the cycle though Steffen caught Cave and Ellis who had dropped Stevens who had kept with them for a while. But then the Swiss racer got carded for drafting and had to serve a 4 minute penalty. But she caught the other two once more only for Cave to suffer at the hands of the officials getting a card herself,but couldn't catch them on the lap after serving her penalty on the way into transition 2. But Ellie herself was carded as she headed into that transition. So it was all level on the penalties by the time they exited the transition to go on the run.

Steffen ended the cycle in 5:06:49 ahead of Ellis 5:08:06. By the time Ellis had served her penalty she came out along side Cave who arrived at T2 in 5:12:06. Meanwhile behind them a penalty free Mirinda Carfae (AUS) came in in 5:14:19. On the run Carfae was going fast closing on Steffen and caught Cave and Ellis. She managed to drop Ellis but was not able to get past the Brit but her chase actually spurred Cave on. She started to pull away from Carfae and close on Steffen herself.

With just three miles to go Cave finally took the lead of the race then pulled away from the Swiss competitor. She ran a 3:03:13 marathon to end as World Triathlon champion in 9:15:54 ahead of Steffen 9:16:58 and Carfae 9:21:41.

So in a year of great British sporting achievements we have another women winning a world title. She may not even get a mention in BBC's Sports Personality of the Year, despite such an impressive performance.

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