The course in Chattanooga was challenging and World Championship worthy and here now are images from the day where only women competed. About 1600 females from around the world started this morning in brisk temperatures in the Tennessee River with a swim that was initially against the current. Wetsuits were legal for age groupers but not for the professional females. Once out of the water the athletes then tackled a bike course that went up Lookout Mountain and test climbing and descending skills. But there was more to this 56 mile course that led through Tennessee and Georgia. Once back in Chattanooga athletes were then greeted by warmer temps and an undulating 2-lap running course.
At 7:30am the start gun went off for the professional women and the atmosphere was electric.
Atlanta, GA native Haley Chura took the early led on the bike but was beaten out of the water by Lauren Brandon.
It did not take very long however for Daniela Ryf to go to the front. Ryf looked very calm, while her competitors looked like they had to work much harder.
Annabel Luxford rode several sections of that climb in the aero position, and she was near the front of the action. Luxford finished 6th.
German Laura Philipp came into the race with the number 3 bib and had to chase hard after a swim that saw her with a large gap to the leaders.
Brit Emma Pallant also had to ride hard to catch the front pack.
Daniela Ryf pulled away further and further and was flying down the descent. A nearby speed trap clocked her at 42 miles an hour on that gentle down slope.
It was on that descent off Lookout Mountain where defending champion Holly Lawrence pulled out. She had chased hard to be in the mix and then felt that she simply did not have "the right legs."
Lauren Brandon was first out of the water but struggled on this day.
Many eyes were on Sarah True (Groff) as she was somewhat of a wild card. She was solid on the bike and during the run she chased down Helle Frederiksen for fourth place.
Meanwhile up front Daniela Ryf pulled further and further away.
Alicia Kaye looked fine during the bike segment but struggled during the run.
A very solid run gave Daniela Ryf her third IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship title in 4:11:59.
Laura Philipp ran 1:21:17 and that gave her the final podium spot in 4:19:40. Emma Pallant with a race best run of 1:19:52 finished second in 4:18:36.
Sarah True fully focused on the way to fourth place.
In the end it was 7th place for Heather Wurtele.
There was plenty of entertainment for pros and age groupers alike on the run course in Chattanooga.
All images © Herbert Krabel / slowtwitch.com