The race recap of the 2018 70.3 World Championship only confirms publicly what I have been telling Ironman athletes for the last 10 years. 70.3 is a race for ITU athletes that can ride a bike. While it’s called 'Half' Ironman, it’s only that in distance. It really is no test for an Ironman. (The New Era is Here)
Ironman is now at the same juncture as 70.3 at the top end of the podium. It truely is no longer an event you can win with a weakness in any of the disciplines. The men’s race lined up with 3 Olympic Gold Medals in it, along with a multiple World Series winner and Olympic medalist. The women’s podium had 2 ladies that have been to multiple Olympics, and another who I personally think is most likely Britain’s best chance for a future Olympic medal. These three ladies will fight out the podium spots at Kona this year - barring injuries.
So the racing was spectacular even if the online coverage was not. Triathlon fans were treated to the best of the best on both days, a great weekend of real racing.
In a real women’s championship without any men’s interference, The Angry Bird again showed how no woman has flown higher and faster than her. Starting with an improved swim, while bird had a garment malfunction before the start of the bike, she kept her composure and made short work of the main pack. She then set out in full throttle pursuit of Lucy Charles, picking her up within 20km. Those who train with the bird knew it was all over there and then, as she pressed on forcing a huge gap to the main pack with Lucy tucked in and hanging on for dear life.
On the run, an uncomfortable looking bird took some time to find her rhythm. However, building into the distance, by 6km she was cruising at 1 hour 15 minute half marathon pace. While much was made of the fleet footed Annie Haug, if one was to look a little deeper they would find from 10km through to 18km, hardly a second was lost by the deceptively fast Daniela Ryf. It would seem while commentators gush over the high stepping runners, they still fail to see that the efficiency of the bird step is far superior when covering longer distances, especially off a tough bike ride.
Congratulations to Dani on another dominant display. Indeed it was a weekend of great Triathlon.