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2023 TRI247 Triathlon Awards: Female Performance of the Year Award Nominees and Winner

We look at the nominees for the 2023 TRI247 Female Performance of the Year Award and announce the winner.

Staff Reporter
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To celebrate an incredible year of triathlon racing, we decided to look back on the season and carefully select a handful of winners for our 2023 TRI247 Triathlon Awards

For our next award, we’re recognising the efforts of the best female performances across all distances, with our ‘Female Performance of the Year’ Award, picked from a shortlist of phenomenal athletes by our expert panel. 

This year, the shortlist was made up of Lucy Charles-Barclay winning in Kona with a new course record, Kat Matthews and her incredible victory at IRONMAN Texas and Daniela Ryf shattering the course record at Challenge Roth.

The Nominees

With so many great female triathletes making their case for this award in 2023, we were left with the difficult deliberation required to narrow it down to a shortlist of just three performances. Eventually, we came up with the three stunning displays by Ryf, Matthews and Charles-Barclay, whose incredible races we’ll look at in depth.

Kat Matthews ticker tape IRONMAN Texas 2023 [Photo credit: Kyle Rivas / Getty Images for IRONMAN]
[Photo credit: Kyle Rivas / Getty Images for IRONMAN]

First up, Britain’s Matthews showed incredible strength throughout her win at IRONMAN Texas in April, just six months after a horrific incident when a person in a car drove into here when she was on a training ride. It left her with fractures in her skull and vertebrae as she had been preparing for the 2022 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona.

The collision, which happened on a training camp in The Woodlands, Texas, could easily have been the end of her triathlon career, but remarkably, Matthews got herself back on a start line just six months later, first at IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside and then in Texas.

Racing on a course not far from the site of the traumatic incident, Matthews showed great patience having entered T2 close to ten minutes down, reeling in Danish athlete Maja Stage Nielsen with a remarkable 2:49:31 run to clinch a memorable victory.

Ryf’s performance in Roth is another race win that we cannot just overlook, as the multiple time IRONMAN World Champion obliterated a field that included an in-form Anne Haug on the way to smashing the course record previously held by Chrissie Wellington.

The Swiss star, who was racing her first full distance event since a disappointing eighth place finish at the 2022 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, led out of the swim alongside Brit Fenella Langridge and then never looked back, riding eleven minutes quicker than her next best competitor before splitting a 2:51:55 marathon.

Her finishing time of 8:08:21 broke the previous fastest time set for the Ironman distance by almost ten whole minutes, as she smashed Wellington’s 8:18:13 set at Roth in 2011. With so many wins and World Championship titles to her name, the elusive fastest time was finally hers at the age of 36.

Both the performances of Matthews and Ryf were more than worthy of winning the award, with their wins in Texas and Roth some of the best Ironman performances of recent years. However, for our panel, one race stood above the rest at the end of a thrilling year.

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Our Winner – Lucy Charles-Barclay in Kona

Having spent so long coming out second best on the Big Island of Hawaii, with four second place finishes to her name, Lucy Charles-Barclay put together the performance of her life to win a maiden IRONMAN World Championship and break the course record in Kona.

Lucy Charles Barclay wins 2023 IRONMAN World Championship photo credit Getty Images for IRONMAN
[Photo credit: Getty Images for IRONMAN]

The British star, who had prepared mostly at home with a lot of time spent on her indoor trainer in the build up to the race, led from pillar to post and with a time of 8:24:31, lowering the mark of 8:26:16 which had been set by the great Ryf in 2018.

Having spent so long building up to this moment, it was a joy for much of the triathlon community to watch as Charles-Barclay came across the iconic finish line on Ali’i Drive, with her victory an incredible example of her perseverance and commitment since she turned to triathlon.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.

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