British women’s Ironman success [UPDATED]

Bella Bayliss British women Ironman success

[UPDATED following 2017 events: New Zealand, South AfricaAustraliaLanzarote, BrasilBoulder, Austria, FrankfurtBoltonMaastrichtWales and Italy]

British ladies, long distance especially, are on something of a high – indeed, they have been for many years now and just seem to get better and better.

Just when the likes of Chrissie Wellington, Bella Bayliss and Catriona Morrison retire, along comes more success from athletes such as Corinne Abraham, Lucy Gossage, Susie Cheetham and Emma-Kate Lidbury to join the established names such as Rachel Joyce, Leanda Cave and Jodie Swallow. Long may it continue – and with the young Lucy Charles seemingly getting better with every race, the future is in good hands.

From time-to-time your Editor has been known to enjoy a statistic or two – but with good reason. Having asked myself the question of “how many podium finishes have British athletes achieved in Ironman racing?”, the only thing to do was get researching and try and find out.

A couple of notes before I start. For the purposes of this analysis only, the subject is limited to full distance Ironman branded (M-Dot / WTC) races. There are of course many iron-distance events around the world (including the likes of Challenge Roth, Almere, Forestman, Outlaw, Norseman, Embrunman…), many of which – Roth especially – rival any Ironman branded race in terms of spectacle, size and quality.

That said, there is little doubt of the impact that the Ironman® brand has made within the triathlon world over the past 30 years and that for many, winning an Ironman race is a career goal.

So, what follows is my attempt to create the definitive record of Ironman® podium finishes by British female athletes.

If you think any performance is missing from the list, email me via [email protected].

British female Ironman® podium finishes by year *

AthletePositionEventYear
Lucy Gossage1stItaly (Emilia-Romagna)2017
Lucy Gossage1stWales2017
Parys Edwards2ndWales2017
Kate Comber3rdWales2017
Rachel Joyce1stMont Tremblant2017
Corinne Abraham2ndCopenhagen2017
Kate Comber3rdMaastricht2017
Lucy Gossage1stUK2017
Nikki Bartlett3rdUK2017
Lucy Charles2ndFrankfurt2017
Corinne Abraham2ndAustria2017
Rachel Joyce1stBoulder2017
Susie Cheetham1stBrasil2017
Lucy Charles1stLanzarote2017
Corinne Abraham2ndLanzarote2017
Lucy Gossage3rdLanzarote2017
Laura Siddall1stAustralia2017
Susie Cheetham3rdSouth Africa2017
Laura Siddall2ndNew Zealand2017
Laura Siddall3rdMalaysia2016
Nikki Bartlett3rdWales2016
Catherine Faux1stVichy2016
Lucy Gossage1stUK2016
Jodie Swallow1stCairns2016
Leanda Cave3rdFrance2016
Lucy Charles3rdLanzarote2016
Susie Cheetham2ndSouth Africa2016
Lucy Gossage3rdSouth Africa2016
Lucy Gossage2ndNew Zealand2016
Corinne Abraham1stCozumel2015
Leanda Cave2ndCozumel2015
Rachel Joyce2ndHawaii2015
Emma-Kate Lidbury2ndMallorca2015
Lucy Gossage1stUK2015
Caroline Livesey2ndUK2015
Alice Hector3rdUK2015
Caroline Livesey3rdLanzarote2015
Leanda Cave2ndTexas2015
Rachel Joyce3rdTexas2015
Jodie Swallow1stSouth Africa2015
Lucy Gossage2ndSouth Africa2015
Susie Cheetham3rdSouth Africa2015
Rachel Joyce3rdHawaii2014
Susie Cheetham3rdBarcelona2014
Amy Forshaw1stWales2014
Amy Ogden3rdWales2014
Leanda Cave1stKalmar2014
Tamsin Lewis1stUK2014
Joanna Carritt3rdUK2014
Corinne Abraham1stFrankfurt2014
Lucy Gossage1stLanzarote2014
Corinne Abraham3rdLanzarote2014
Lucy Gossage2ndSouth Africa2014
Jodie Swallow3rdSouth Africa2014
Rachel Joyce1stCozumel2013
Rachel Joyce2ndHawaii2013
Liz Blatchford3rdHawaii2013
Catriona Morrison3rdLake Tahoe2013
Lucy Gossage1stWales2013
Jodie Swallow1stKalmar2013
Lucy Gossage1stUK2013
Joanna Carritt2ndUK2013
Amy Forshaw3rdUK2013
Jodie Swallow2ndFrankfurt2013
Liz Blatchford1stCairns2013
Rachel Joyce1stTexas2013
Jodie Swallow2ndSouth Africa2013
Corinne Abraham1stMelbourne2013
Corinne Abraham3rdArizona2012
Leanda Cave1stHawaii2012
Joanna Carritt3rdWales2012
Bella Bayliss2ndSwitzerland2012
Corinne Abraham3rdFrankfurt2012
Bella Bayliss2ndLanzarote2012
Rachel Joyce2ndMelbourne2012
Leanda Cave1stArizona2011
Chrissie Wellington1stHawaii2011
Leanda Cave3rdHawaii2011
Yvette Grice3rdUK2011
Julie Dibens1stCoeur d'Alene2011
Catriona Morrison1stTexas2011
Rachel Joyce1stLanzarote2011
Chrissie Wellington1stSouth Africa2011
Rachel Joyce2ndSouth Africa2011
Chrissie Wellington1stArizona2010
Leanda Cave3rdArizona2010
Julie Dibens3rdHawaii2010
Yvette Grice1stUK2010
Bella Bayliss2ndUK2010
Joanna Carritt3rdUK2010
Corinne Abraham3rdRegensburg2010
Catriona Morrison1stLanzarote2010
Louise Collins2ndLanzarote2010
Bella Bayliss1stUK2009
Bella Bayliss1stAustria2009
Bella Bayliss1stLanzarote2009
Chrissie Wellington1stAustralia2009
Chrissie Wellington1stHawaii2009
Abigail Bayley2ndUK2009
Bella Bayliss2ndCozumel2009
Rachel Joyce2ndLanzarote2009
Bella Bayliss3rdFlorida2009
Rachel Joyce3rdSouth Africa2009
Bella Bayliss1stFlorida2008
Bella Bayliss1stUK2008
Bella Bayliss1stLanzarote2008
Bella Bayliss1stSouth Africa2008
Chrissie Wellington1stAustralia2008
Chrissie Wellington1stGermany (Frankfurt)2008
Chrissie Wellington1stHawaii2008
Bella Bayliss2ndAustria2008
Leanda Cave2ndArizona2008
Abigail Bayley3rdChina2008
Bella Bayliss1stUK2007
Chrissie Wellington1stKorea2007
Chrissie Wellington1stHawaii2007
Sara Gross2ndIronman Canada2007
Bella Bayliss3rdWestern Australia2007
Bella Bayliss3rdBrazil2007
Bella Bayliss3rdSouth Africa2007
Bella Bayliss1stFlorida2006
Sara Gross2ndIronman Western Australia2006
Bella Bayliss1stFlorida2005
Bella Bayliss3rdUK2005
Sara Gross3rdSouth Africa2005
Louisa Edmonston3rdLanzarote2005
Bella Bayliss2ndFlorida2004
Jess Petersson3rdAustria2004
Bella Bayliss1stFlorida2003
Bella Bayliss3rdLanzarote2003
Bella Bayliss1stFlorida2002
Beth Thompson3rdAustria1999
Sarah Coope2ndNew Zealand1992
Sarah Coope3rdHawaii1991
Sarah Coope2ndJapan1991
Sarah Coope2ndNew Zealand1991
(* NOTE: For the purposes of this analysis I have taken overall positions, 1/2/3 as ‘podium’ finishes, irrespective of race category (provided that the event was mass-start with the same pro/age group rules) or event (as in some races, there may be ten athletes physically ‘on the podium’). For example, in the case of Ironman Lanzarote 2010, while Bella Bayliss was the third professional finisher (Louise Collins, age group athlete finished ahead in second place overall), I am treating Bella’s result as fourth overall, and hence not within this listing. Also, Corinne Abraham finished third overall at Ironman Regensburg while racing as an Age Group athlete and is included here for that reason, as in both cases the races were concurrent, under the same rules).

 

Number of British female Ironman® podium finishes by year

Year1st2nd3rdTotal
1991213
199211
199311
19940
19950
19960
19970
19980
19990
20000
20010
200211
2003112
2004112
2005134
2006112
20073137
200872110
200953210
20103249
20116129
20121337
201374314
201451612
201536413
201632510
201786519

British female Ironman® podium finishes – ‘medal table’ style

Athlete1st places2nd Places3rd PlacesPodiums
Bella Bayliss126624
Chrissie Wellington1010
Lucy Gossage83213
Rachel Joyce55313
Corinne Abraham33410
Leanda Cave3339
Jodie Swallow3216
Catriona Morrison213
Susie Cheetham1135
Laura Siddall1113
Lucy Charles1113
Amy Forshaw112
Julie Dibens112
Liz Blatchford112
Yvette Grice112
Tamsin Lewis11
Catherine Faux11
Sarah Coope314
Sara Gross213
Joanna Carritt134
Abigail Bayley112
Caroline Livesey112
Emma-Kate Lidbury11
Louise Collins11
Parys Edwards11
Nikki Bartlett22
Kate Comber22
Alice Hector11
Amy Ogden11
Beth Thompson11
Jess Petersson11
Louisa Edmonston11
32 Athletes543645135

This table is the data above presented in the style you would typically see for the Olympic medal tables. Overall order is determined initially by number of 1st places, then by 2nd places, then by 3rd places.

Aside from summarising an athletes podium history, how much value this adds is…debatable! Clearly, Bella Bayliss has put together, over a long period of time, the most consistent set of performances both in volume and number of wins. (Check out our in-depth interview series with Bella about her career HERE).

However, bear in mind that of Chrissie Wellington‘s Ironman wins (and she won all ten full distance M-Dot races she started – plus Challenge Roth three times – review all of her unbeaten iron-distance races HERE), four of those are Ironman World Championship Kona victories! We suspect Bella would trade a few of her wins for one at the big show… At her career strike rate, Chrissie had looked set to pass Bella’s 12 Ironman® victories in 2012… but not now, having confirmed her retirement from Ironman racing.

Chrissie’s win at Ironman South Africa 2011 also represented the fastest Ironman® time recorded to date, to add to all of her many accolades including the four fastest times ever – until Daniela Ryf raced Roth in 2016.

It is also worth bearing in mind the way that the Ironman circuit has changed over the past 15/20 years. While there are around 40 Ironman events on the annual calendar now, that wasn’t always the case, and hence the opportunities to race were few and far between. With this increase in volume, not surprisingly some events can be considered ‘softer’, in terms of depth of professional field, and hence ‘not all races are equal’. Indeed, with the introduction of the Kona Pro Rankings, races are now specifically classified at different ratings via points status and prize money.

For example, Sarah Coope finished third at Hawaii way back in 1991. It is very easy to believe that she would be a multiple Ironman event winner today given her performance in Kona, and the huge number of victories she achieved in other events. Aside from Chrissie Wellington (four wins), Julie Dibens (3rd, 2010) and Leanda Cave (1st, 2012 and 3rd, 2011), Sarah was the only other British athlete – male or female – to have finished in the top-3 in Kona at the Ironman World Championships…until 2013, when Rachel Joyce (2nd) and Liz Blatchford (3rd) joined that elite grouping. Our current crop of talent suggests that list will continue to be added too – indeed, Rachel Joyce took her second Kona podium spot (3rd), in 2014 and then added another 2nd place in 2015.

Leanda of course joined Bella, Cat and Chrissie with multiple wins by taking the biggest one of all in Kona, while Rachel made it two wins at Ironman Texas 2013, adding another ‘post-Kona’ at Cozumel. Lucy Gossage meanwhile won two within just five weeks in 2013, at Ironman UK and Ironman Wales, and then made it three wins at Ironman Lanzarote 2014 before a fourth at Ironman UK 2015 (and a fifth 12 months later in Bolton!).

Corinne Abraham joined the multiple M-Dot wins club, adding Frankfurt 2014 to her Melbourne 2012 victory – both of which are Regional Championship events. A third Ironman win for Leanda was collected in August 2014 at Kalmar, Sweden while the latest ‘multiple’ winner is Jodie Swallow, following Ironman South Africa 2015 to add to her Kalmar 2013 triumph. That is now three following Ironman Cairns 2016.

You can check out how British men have fared over the years in Ironman® competition IN THIS ARTICLE.


Tri247 Iron-Distance Statistics Library

Do you believe there is a performance missing here? If so, please do let me know via [email protected].