It’s hard to believe that in 2019 Great Britain’s Ruth Astle was the top age group finisher at the Ironman World Championship. In the three years since she’s taken Ironman titles in Mallorca and South Africa and finished fifth at the Ironman World Championship St. George. Last month Astle didn’t have a great day in Kona, finishing 14th, but bounced back today with a huge win at Ironman Israel to end the year in style.
The swim was led by Lottie Lucas, who was a national level swimmer in the UK as a teenager who now represents the United Arab Emirates. Lucas finished the swim in 55:28, five seconds up on Great Britain’s India Lee and Chile’s Barbara Riveros. The two pre-race favourites, Germany’s Daniela Bleymehl and Astle were 10th an 11th out of the water, 6:23 behind Lucas.
Astle had moved her way to the front of the bike by the 67.9 km check point. Through 110 km a group had formed at the front that included Astle and Bleymehl, along with Susie Cheetham (GBR), Agniezska Jerzyk (POL), Maja Stage-Nielsen (DEN) and Riveros. Astle would put the pressure on over the last third of the bike and would hit T2 with a lead of 2:52 on Bleymehl and 3:02 on Cheetham – Stage-Nielsen, Jerzyk and Riveros all found themselves sitting almost eight minutes behind as they started the run.
Astle followed the day’s fastest bike (4:34:57) with the day’s fastest run (2:57:10) to finish the day with a huge win. Bleymehl’s 3:03:30 marathon split was enough to earn her second (8:50:13), while Riveros rounded out the podium (8:55:49). Cheetham would hang on for fourth (8:58:14) with Stage-Nielsen rounding out the top five (9:01:54).