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Marjolaine Pierre takes biggest win of her career as Holly Lawrence led off course while leading at 70.3 Bahrain

Bahrain Victorious 13 team member finds herself "riding amongst ... cars on the highway"

Photo by: Marjolaine Pierre Instagram

Holly Lawrence couldn’t buy a break at the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship in Bahrain – her bike was lost in transit on the way to the race, then, while leading on the bike she was led off course, adding four miles (6.4 km) and having to negotiate her way back to T2 from a highway. In the end the Lawrence would have to settle with a fourth-place finish behind France’s Marjolaine Pierre, who took the women’s title over Australian Natalie van Coevorden.

Lawrence has been a member of the Bahrain Victorious 13 team (formerly Bahrain Endurance 13) since 2017, the year after she won the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, so we’re not likely to hear any criticism of the event from her. Based on the times of the day, though, she certainly would have been in the running for the win had she not gone off course. The Brit finished the swim right behind Australian short course specialist Natalie van Coevorden, 1:47 ahead of the UAE’s Lottie Lucas and 3:07 up on Pierre. By 31 km into the ride Lawrence was 1:36 up on van Coevorden, 3:38 ahead of Lucas, with Pierre at 3:56 in fourth. Through 58 km the gap was 4:15 on van Coevorden and 5:25 on Pierre and Lucas.

Then disaster struck, with Lawrence being led off course. We don’t have many details, but based on Lawrence’s social media post, it would appear that she ended up on a highway. By the time she made it to T2 her lead had evaporated and she was 1:34 behind new race leader Dede Diederiks (NED), who was 16 seconds ahead of Pierre and 49 seconds up on Lucas. Starting the run Lawrence found herself just a second up on van Coeverden.

Pierre is one of the fastest runners in the sport, so it was hardly a surprise to see her take the title (4:05:54) thanks to the day’s second-fastest run split – 1:19:32. Van Coevorden was 10 seconds faster than the Frenchwoman on the run, enough to get her to second in 4:07:11. Diederiks held on for third (4:07:43), with Lawrence ending up in fourth (4:10:34) after a 1:22:44 run.

For Pierre the win comes after a year plagued with injury – we’ve seen her at numerous major events this year as a spectator. It is certainly the biggest win of the 23-year-old’s career.


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