The history of ‘fast Brits’ at the IRONMAN World Championship
As you’ll no doubt be aware having read the Male and Female Pro reports from the IRONMAN World Championship, the performances in Kona this year are going to leave a lot of people with a lot of work to update a lot of record books. I’m just one of them.
Having started this particular feature 12 months ago, let’s get to it and at least get this one updated!
First up, both Lucy Charles (second) and David McNamee (third) both finished in the fastest times ever from British athletes in Hawaii. Not only that, both also broke the previous overall course record times in the process, meaning they are also the second (female) and third (male) fastest athletes in history, respectively, in the 40 years of the IRONMAN World Championship.
For David (pictured at the top of this page – Photo by Nils Nilsen/Getty Images for IRONMAN), it was also – once again – a new Scottish record time for distance. He is – without question – the best British male Ironman athlete in history. The only British man to make the top-three in Kona (now achieved twice), he has still never been beaten by another British athlete over the distance. Still only 30, he should have several more years of contending for the top step.
Joe Skipper had a great day in Hawaii too this year. Possibly his best ever swim set up his day and he finished it off strongly on the run with a 2:54:16 marathon to finish in seventh place (and collect $14,000). His finish time of 8:05:54, in British terms, is second only to David who finished 4:45 in front of him on Saturday.
Also securing a first ever Kona top-10 in ninth position was Corinne Abraham. Third off the bike, she was able to manage a running injury picked up a couple of weeks before the race to finish in ninth (8:57:54), on a day in which the entire women’s Pro top-10 broke the nine-hour mark.
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The result of so much support and encouragement from so many for so long. Thank you thank you thank you. It was a rocky and emotional lead into the race with no run training for 3 weeks, but I’m happy that I played the hand that I had to the best of my ability. Coming out of the water with the pack – RESULT! Cycling up to 3rd place by T2 – RESULT! Being able to run at all – RESULT! Picking my heels up to keep up with Angela when she passed me so I could hang onto 9th place – RESULT. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Photo (c) @witsupcom 🌸 🌴 ☀️ 🐠 🐙 🌴 🌼 🐠 @castellitriathlon #ironman #ironmanworldchampionship #ironmanworldchampionship2018 #40yearsofdreams #kona #hawaii #palani #witsup
The 2017 edition of the IRONMAN World Championship was certainly a marquee year for British athletes. While success from, in particular, the Female Pro athletes in recent years has been extensive from the likes of Chrissie Wellington, Leanda Cave and Rachel Joyce, the emergence of Lucy Charles (second) and David McNamee (third) was notable not just for being new names to the podium. At just 24 and 29 years of age respectively, they potentially have many more years ahead of them to repeat or improve upon those results.
Such was the impact of those finishes, sometimes other great performances can get overlooked. For example, that David’s finish time this year was (by far) the best from a British athlete in Hawaii was clear; but it was also a new Scottish Ironman record, taking 20 seconds from his time in South Africa earlier in the season.
There were other notable, yet perhaps under the radar, results too. Harry Wiltshire for example – his finishing time of 8:35:41 has only been beaten by two other British athletes in Hawaii, David McNamee and Tom Lowe.
Another top performance came from Susie Cheetham. While Lucy Charles of course grabbed most of the attention from a British perspective in the women’s race, Susie’s result matched her sixth place from two years ago – and was almost eight minutes faster too.
While disappointed with her 15th place finish in her Kona debut, Laura Siddall still cracked the 9:30 mark in Kona which, given the history of the race, is not an easy task.
Given these examples, I’ve decided to collate the fastest times recorded by British athletes at the IRONMAN World Championships. Ever.
Presented below is the all-time list of sub 8:45 (Men) and sub 9:30 (Women).
IRONMAN World Championship: British MEN Sub-8:45 in Hawaii History
|2018||7th (in AG 30-34)||Robert Drake||08:44:06|
IRONMAN World Championship: British WOMEN Sub-9:30 Hawaii History
|2013||1st (AG)||Catherine Faux||09:15:16|