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From triathlon rookie to two-time Ironman champion in five years

Two Ironman races, two wins ... a nice record of long-distance racing

Photo by: Club La Santa/ James Mitchell

We introduced you to Great Britain’s Lydia Dant yesterday – in 2018 she decided she would sign up for Ironman Wales, even though she couldn’t run 10 km. One of the first things her coach did was convince her she wasn’t ready for an Ironman – that would have to wait until 2022.

Lydia Dant went from novice triathlete to Ironman champion in just a few years. Here’s how she did it

When Dant did finally make that debut, at the event renowned around the world as the hardest full-distance race in the world – Ironman Lanzarote – she set a new bike course record (5:19:21) and took the win in 9:37:25, holding off Els Visser by just under two minutes.

Dant returned to the Canary Islands again this year hoping to defend her title, which she did in impressive style. She led out of the water run in 58:36, with France’s Jeanne Collonge and Belgium’s Alexandra Tondeur close behind. Once she got out on the bike, though, Dant quickly separated herself from the rest of the field. By 90 km she was 11 minutes up on Collonge, with Belgian Liesbeth Verbiest in third, 17 minutes down. By the time she got to T2 Dant was almost 14 minutes up on Collonge and 19 minutes  ahead of Verbiest.

While the conditions were near perfect for the athletes on the bike today (Cam Wurf would set a new bike course record), the near windless conditions made for a hot run. Dant hung tough through a 3:21:28 marathon to take the win in 9:59:13, the only woman to get to the finish line in under 10 hours. Verbiest would run the day’s fastest marathon (3:09:20) to take second in her first full-distance race as a pro in 10:06:10, with Collonge rounding out the podium in  10:20:53.