Last updated on October 16th, 2023 at 10:27 AM
British triathlete Lucy Charles-Barclay became the first competitor to lead from start to finish and set a new course record to claim her maiden Ironman World Championship title in Hawaii after finishing runner-up four times previously.
Charles-Barclay, who finished runner-up in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022, lined up amongst 2,216 women in the first-ever women’s-only Ironman World Championship at the iconic Kona triathlon location.
The previous course record was held by five-time winner Daniela Ryf since 2018 with the Swiss athlete also part of a strong Hawaiian field ahead of the short swim, long bike section and final marathon run.
Charles-Barclay immediately took control at the front of the opening swim and, even though the ocean began to swell on the return section, she exited the water in an impressive time of 49:36.
In the second bike leg, the Briton continued putting time into the main group of contenders behind her as she powered her legs to 326 watts and the fastest bike split of the day in 4:32:39.
Her lead of 12 minutes looked large, however the likes of 2019 Ironman World Champion Anne Haug, American Taylor Knibb and Ryf were looking to make up the gap in the final run into the finish.
Despite the 80-degree temperatures, Haug and German compatriot Laura Philipp began to eat into her lead and both soon passed a wilting Knibb as Charles-Barclay kept up a consistent pace in front of them.
She dug deep in the last two miles and – with a big crowd cheering her on – she secured an excellent 2:57:38 marathon split and 8:24:31 course record to beat Ryf’s previous time by one minute and 47 seconds.
Haug finished strong to capture second with Philipp third, Knibb fourth and Ryf fifth as Charles-Barclay became just the third Briton to win the title after Leanda Cave and Chrissie Wellington.
The 30-year-old, who turned pro in 2016 and also won the Half Ironman World Championship in 2021, revealed: “It’s taken me five attempts and I’ve finally done it. I don’t think it’s sunk in, but I’m just over the moon.
I’ve been wanting this so badly since I started my career. All of the pro women were cheering me on and, to have their support even when we’re all out there suffering, just shows how amazing this sport is.”
Women’s 2023 Ironman World Championship Kona result
1. Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR)
SWIM 49:36 BIKE 4:32:29 RUN 2:57:38 TOTAL 8:24:31
2. Anne Haug (GER)
SWIM 54:10 BIKE 4:40:23 RUN 2:48:3 TOTAL 8:27:33
3. Laura Philipp (GER)
SWIM 56:49 BIKE 4:35:52 RUN 2:55:24 TOTAL 8:32:55
4. Taylor Knibb (USA)
SWIM 51:16 BIKE 4:34:00 RUN 3:05:13 TOTAL 8:35:56
5. Daniela Ryf (SUI)
SWIM 54:11 BIKE 4:38:34 RUN 3:02:11 TOTAL 8:40:34