Anne Haug won an ebb and flow race reminiscent of the early years of this race. The third-place finisher last year, who few picked for the win but who everyone in the race feared, rode solid and ran like a deer. Or more precisely, for Kona watchers, ran like a Carfrae in her prime.
While not a record, Anne Haug’s 8:40:10 was very fast. It was the first victory for a German in the women’s race, and made this an all-Germany day.
Lucy Charles-Barclay led the entire women’s swim with Lauren Brandon on her feet. They raced to a big gap over the chasers, which included perennial winner and defending champ Daniela Ryf. Those who would catch her on the run would exit the swim 6 minutes behind LCB's 48:13.
Sarah True’s up-and-down season continues, with a flat just after leaving T1. She would abandon after the bike. American women had more bad luck when Linsey Corbin took a spill at the mount line, dropped a chain, and dropped a minute fixing it. But she would soldier on and run herself into the top-10.
The women’s chase pack came out 5min behind the leading pair in the water, and they remained right at that distance. Ryf came out in that swim group. But Ryf’s gap fell to 8min and change behind the LCB on the bike. Last year Ryf’s last 30k on the bike was second best of the day. Not in the women’s race. Second to Cameron Wurf. But this year it was not to be.
After the left turn at Kawaihae Charles-Barclay looked to be riding away from everyone, keeping every second of that more-than-5min lead on Annie Haug, Imogen Simmonds, Sarah Crowley and Carrie Lester and, in fact, adding a minute to it.
Canyon driver Daniela Bleymehl rode a better position, a better cadence, and better technique than just about everyone over the last 25 miles of the ride, and she pulled the chase pack back to LCB, from over 6 minutes to the mid-5s. But that was short-lived as last year’s runner-up stretched the gap out to over 7 minutes by T2.
But that chase pack included Anne Haug, and Haug ran her marathon 10 minutes faster than LCB ran hers in 2018. Still, if LCB just looks a world better on the bike, year-over-year, she’s a different runner too. The difference between Lucy Charles-Barclay last year and this? She looks like Frodeno when she runs.
The two – Charles-Barclay and Haug – seemed running just too fast early, LCB running what looked like a 2:50 marathon pace and Haug running closer to 2:40.
As good as LCB looked, as fast as she ran, and despite the progress she made from last year to this, Anne Haug just ran faster. Just an inexorable 15sec per mile faster, like a hammer and chisel taking little chunks out of a big rock.
Thirteen minutes behind the leader was Daniela Ryf. She was that amount going out onto the run after a – for her – dreadful bike ride. She was having a somewhat better run, shaving a minute off her deficit to the leader by 7 miles into the run, and drawing closer yet by the run's halfway point. Ryf got herself up into 7th and doubters wondered whether there was more Ryf magic to come.
Closer to the race front, watching Anne Haug run up the Palani hill, it was obvious she was going to be a handful for Charles-Barclay. Her lead was down from 8 minutes to 5. Then to 2, and then the pass came in the Natural Energy Lab.
Haug soloe’d in for a clear win. “The whole run felt amazing,” she said. “I made up 8 minutes on the first half marathon, but after the half-marathon the marathon starts. I had to focus on my own run. Race smart. Take aid at the aid stations.”
Haug’s run of 2:51:06 compares favorably to Carfrae’s run course record of 2:50:26. Her total time of 8:40:10 better her 3rd place time posted last year of 8:41:58.
But the drama wasn’t over. LCB lost second place to Sarah Crowley, who breezed by. But a short few miles later Crowley hit the wall, as happens in Kona. Charles-Barclay gathered herself, smelled the finish and executed the rare repass. She finished as the runner up, again, and Crowley held for third. America's Heather Jackson (above) charged up to finish 5th after a fine bike and run. Ryf suffered mightily, visibly, over the last 10k and came home 13th.
Vega Hawaiian Ironman World Championships
October 12, 2019
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi
1. Anne Haug (DEU): 8:40:10 (54:09; 4:50:18; 2:51:06)
2. Lucy Charles (GBR): 8:46:44 (48:13; 4:47:21; 3:06:00)
3. Sarah Crowley (AUS): 8:48:13 (54:05; 4:50:13; 2:59:20)
4. Laura Philipp (DEU) 8:48:13 (59:03; 4:45:05; 3:02:12)
5. Heather Jackson (USA): 8:54:13 59:12; 4:46:46; 3:04:17)
6. Kaisa Sali (FIN) 8:55:33 (54:14; 4:53:54; 2:57:19)
7. Corinne Abraham (GBR) 8:58:38 (1:02:46; 4:51:16; 2:59:28)
8. Carrie Lester (AUS) 8:58:40 (54:05; 4:50:02; 3:09:37)
9. Daniela Bleymehl (DEU) 9:08:30 (59:06; 4:45:08; 3:19:33)
10. Linsey Corbin (USA) 9:09:06 (59:09; 5:00:26; 3:03:51)
PHOTOS: Eric Wynn