Rachel Joyce has been the fastest British women in Kona for the last three years, during which she has finished on the Pro podium every year – but with Rachel absent in 2016 having recently given birth to baby Archie, there would be a new ‘fastest Brit’ on the list this year.
That honour this year went to the Duracell Bunny herself, Lucy Gossage. That was quite an amazing effort too, as her ninth place (9:25:57) was achieved just eight weeks after crashing her bike and breaking her clavicle. It also represents a one place (and almost three minutes), improvement on her tenth place 12 months ago. Soon to return to work part-time as an oncologist, Lucy says this will be her last Kona – at least for a few years. If it is, what a way to bow out.
The top-10 Pro’s make the stage for the prize presentation, so that means another Umeke trophy/bowl for Lucy to add to that from 12 months ago – plus another won as an Age-Group athlete in 2010.
Jodie Swallow‘s race appeared to be going well for most of the day. The ITU Long Distance World Champion has had a strong season and, despite a penalty on the bike, was well up in the top-10 positions on both the bike and run and looking good up to the 30km point on the run. After that it was “12km of incredibly testing struggle to the finish line”. Jodie can look forward to her wedding now to James Cunnama, adding, “This was a failure but it will nurture the next triumph. Adamant it will.” Jodie is made of strong stuff, physically and mentally; I don’t doubt it.
It was also a tough day for the 2012 IRONMAN World Champion, Leanda Cave.
There were thee Age-Group podiums achieved from British female athletes this year – and all three were familiar with that achievement, having done the same last year. Indeed, we highlighted just how strong their chances were before the race!
The only British victory of the day, male or female, was from Jane Hansom in the 45-49 category. Second last year in her first attempt, her win was no surprise to us or indeed anyone that trains with or races against her. She has been fully focussed on achieving this all year and her 2016 performances at IRONMAN South Africa and Challenge Roth all pointed to her being successful in that quest.
While that was Jane’s second trip to the podium, Alison Rowatt (35-39) made it their for the third time in four attempts. As with her previous two successes, once again it was for second place. She just delivers, every time she steps on the course and in my eyes is one of the best and most consistent British Age-Group athletes we’ve had for many years. With three second places now, she’ll likely come back again determined to try and finally win one…
The third and final British athlete women to podium in Hawaii was Linda Ashmore (70-74). Third last year in the 65-69 division, she improved one place to second in her new category – and also went more than half an hour faster. Now that is impressive.
A worthy mention also for Alison Wilson (25-29). Winner this year of the Outlaw Triathlon in a course record time, Alison was the fastest British Age-Group athlete in Kona this year, just under a minute ahead of Alison Rowatt. Unfortunately for her (with Kona podium awards running five-deep), she finished sixth in her category, just two minutes shy of winning an Umeke of her own.
In addition to the three podiums above (and thanks to Charlie Stannett for highlighting to me), Becky Hoare was also the winner of the Military Division Championship.
GB & Ireland women Kona 2016 full results