With the thermometer banging on 39 degrees at times during the marathon, Australian Carrie Lester overcame both the tough conditions and the rest of the women in the field for her eighth Ironman title (and 10th full-distance title) with a sub-nine-hour performance that eclipsed Canadian Heather Wurtele’s course record (9:16:02). Rach McBride (pictured above) was the top Canadian finisher in sixth.
“I’m 40 and COVID almost ended my triathlon career, so this is very sweet,” Lester said of her big day.
“The thought was just to not stop moving,” Lester continued after her impressive 8:54:51 finish. “I just tried to be patient and let the race come back to me. I was glad that Fenella (Langridge) was that far behind because if she was breathing down my neck I wouldn’t have been able hold her off.”
Lester came out of the water alongside Canadian Rach McBride, but the two trailed Americans Lauren Brandon and Haley Chura by 5:38 as they hit T1 to start the bike. Brandon led the way through the first 30 km of the bike, but by 60 km it was Great Britain’s Fenella Langridge, competing in her first Ironman race, who had moved to the front. By 90 km Lester managed to move into second, and by the time they hit T2 the Australian had moved herself to 2:24 behind Langridge.
Despite competing in her first full-distance race, Langridge maintained a solid pace at the front, holding on to the lead through the first 21 km. By that point, though, Lester was only a few seconds behind, and would eventually get passed the Ironman-rookie and start to open up a gap. By the end of the race the gap was just shy of five minutes, with Langridge also breaking the nine-hour mark (how’s that for an impressive debut) with her 8:59:50 finish.
American Linsey Corbin, a former Coeur d’Alene champ (2010), ran her way to third, also breaking Wurtele’s course record with her 9:13:21 finish. Chura would hang on for fourth in 9:24:02, Kelly Fillnow (USA) would take fifth in 9:37:14, with McBride finishing sixth in 9:40:59.