Daniela Ryf says she couldn’t drop the hammer with Lucy Charles-Barclay “too strong” in Kona

Daniela Ryf shares her thoughts after the 2023 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona

Staff Reporter
Last updated -

Daniela Ryf, the five-time IRONMAN World Champion from Switzerland, finished fifth in Kona on Saturday in what may well turn out to be her last dance on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The 36-year-old, who for so long has been at the pinnacle of long-distance triathlon, saw long time rival Lucy Charles-Barclay break her course record last weekend, as the Brit took her maiden victory.

Reflecting on the race, the Swiss star revealed that she just didn’t have the firepower she needed to close the gap on the bike, but was happy with her performance following a tough day of racing.


Daniela Ryf Kona debrief

With the next IRONMAN World Championship in Kona scheduled for 2025, this year’s edition looks set to be the last time Ryf races at the spiritual home of triathlon, with the PTO World #10 taking the positives from her race after finishing fifth.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

“It was maybe not my perfect day, but it was quite a solid day. I had a good swim, the bike was good and I tried to catch Lucy [Charles-Barclay] but there was no way, she was too strong today.” 

Ryf revealed that over halfway through the bike, she knew that the bike power she had so often relied on to break the field at previous world championships was not where it needed to be, despite a late second wind.

“After 100km, I realized that pace was not going to do it for me and that I really had to step back a little bit. That was quite mentally challenging, as I’m normally starting to put the hammer down after 100km, but today that wasn’t possible. I tried to get back over the final 40km, but felt tired coming off the bike.”

Enjoyment key on the run

Fearing the worst on the run, Ryf said she was actually quite happy with how she paced the marathon, moving from sixth to fifth and running strongly from start to finish, whilst also soaking in the atmosphere.

“I managed to finish with a solid run, so I have to be happy with my performance because it’s what I can do at the moment with my fitness and I think it shows the level of the women.

“I did feel good on the run and I had a lot of positive energy out there, with my friends on every corner. I tried to enjoy it and gave it all I had. I came into this race knowing I wanted to enjoy it and reach my best and I feel like I did that.”

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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