Daniela Ryf destroys record to defend Kona title

Chief Correspondent

Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf improves Kona record figures to 8:46:46 & also cracks the three hour mark with a 2:56:51 marathon for a performance of rare brilliance

“That was my best race ever… I didn’t even feel any pain”

That just about sums it up for Daniela Ryf today – a brilliant, faultless, total domination from a quite brilliant athlete at the top of her game, better than ever. Proof, if it was needed, that her fourth place at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships was a temporary blip.

“It was a perfect day – I was doubting my bike form after Mooloolaba (Ed. where she finished an uncharacteristic fourth at the Ironman 70.3 World’s), but I just smashed it! It wasn’t just a great win but it was a great experience.”


As with the men’s race, a close finish to the 2.4 mile swim saw several athletes exiting within just a few seconds, the honour of being first just going to Meredith Kessler (USA) in 52:46, with Brits Jodie Swallow and Leanda Cave right on her heels.

In total 12 athletes were separated by just as many seconds, that group including Daniela Ryf (SUI), Anja Beranek (GER) and Michelle Vesterby (DEN) among others. Mirinda Carfrae was four minutes down (a strong result for her), especially as it was two minutes ahead of expected challengers Melissa Hauschildt (AUS), Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED), Susie Cheetham (GBR) and Heather Jackson (USA). Lucy Gossage exited the water just inside 1:02.

Daniela Ryf took control on the bike


The real shake-out on the bike kicked in after a couple of hours. After some lead trading at the front, featuring Kessler, Vesterby and others, Daniela Ryf kicked through the gears and pulled clear – with just Germany’s Beranek for company. They reached the turnaround point at 59 miles alone and clear by three minutes – the chasing foursome including Jodie Swallow, Annabel Luxford, Kessler and Vesterby.

Heather Jackson would secure the first female U.S. podium for 10 years.
IRONMAN World Championship - Daniela Ryf bike

As we often see, the final third of the bike leg is where the real damage is done – almost a case of early miles for show, closing miles for dough – and Ryf had kept her powder dry early, but was now ready to explode. Pulling away from the determined Beranek, by T2 she had a lead of eight minutes over second place, 14 minutes over 3rd/4th (Jackson and Luxford), and a whopping 22 minutes over three-time champion Mirinda Carfrae.

One of the greatest performances in Kona history


Ryf showed absolutely no single sign of weakness on the run either, producing by far her best in Kona of 2:56:51 to stop the clock at a course record 8:46:46. Stunning.

Three-time champion Mirinda Carfrae battled hard for second – but had no nothing against Daniela Ryf today.
IRONMAN World Championship - Daniela Ryf run

Great Britain’s Lucy Gossage, quite remarkably, improved one place on her tenth position from 2015 in what she says will be her last race in Kona, at least for several years. Just eight weeks ago she broke her clavicle in a bike crash and it has been a battle against time just to make the start line. #downbutnotout has been her motto for the past two months – what a performance.

Lucy Gossage on her way to an impressive ninth place

IRONMAN World Championship Pro Women Results

Saturday 8th October
2.4miles / 112miles / 26.2miles

1st – Daniela Ryf (SUI) – 8:46:46
2nd – Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) – 9:10:30
3rd – Heather Jackson (USA) – 9:11:31
4th – Anja Beranek (GER) – 9:14:26
5th – Kaisa Lehtonen (FIN) – 9:15:40
6th – Michelle Vesterby (DEN) – 9:19:05
7th – Sarah Piampiano (USA) – 9:22:31
8th – Asa Lundstrom (SWE) – 9:22:59
9th – Lucy Gossage (GBR) – 9:25:57
10th – Carrie Lester (AUS) – 9:28:18

22nd – Jodie Swallow (GBR) – 9:49:22
29th – Leanda Cave (GBR) – 10:06:44
DNF – Susie Cheetham (GBR)

John Levison
Written by
John Levison
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