Holly Lawrence takes IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai title

IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai 2019 Holly Lawrence

Lawrence holds off the fast-running Haug to take IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai

The 2019 women’s Pro podium at IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai today had a very familiar look – but after a switch around from their positions at the same race 12 months ago, this year it was Holly Lawrence on the top spot, ahead of Germany’s Anne Haug and fellow Brit, Sarah Lewis, in third.

Holly thus adds to Middle East success which has seen her win the previous two editions of IRONMAN 70.3 Bahrain. With Adam Bowden winning the men’s race (REPORT HERE), a great day for the British athletes in the UAE.

The Race

No surprise at all to see the 2016 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, Lawrence, leading the way through the swim which saw her exit the water in 24:24. That gave here a 1:37 advantage over another Brit, Fenella Langridge, before Anne Haug was next – also solo – 2:20 back. Sarah Lewis would have hoped to have been close to Haug in the water, but this year she was more than a minute back – and almost 3:30 down on Lawrence as they reached dry land.

Lawrence typically races in one way – fast, and from the front – and on to the bike, she had extended her advantage over Langridge at the 45km turn point to 4:41, who now had Haug for company. Two minutes behind that duo, a Sarah Lewis now had Judith Corachán Vacquera (ESP) and Sarah Van De Vel (BEL) with her.

Lawrence pressed on over the second 45km to extend her lead by a further minute, reaching T2 with 5:51 ahead of Haug, who had now managed to pull clear of Langridge, who was third off the bike after a 2:17:19 split, 7:43 back. Her advantage over the trio of chasers was now down to less than a minute however. With the speedy running legs of Lewis close, that was going to put Fenella under some pressure over the half marathon.

Last year Lawrence had a significant lead off the bike but then faded late on to third; how would she fair this year? Rather well.

Haug started to cut into the lead of Lawrence from the start, reducing the British athlete’s advantage at every time split – but that’s not unusual, she’s perhaps the best runner in the sport. 5:51 down off the bike, 4:48 at 4km, 3:36 at 9.5km and 2:50 at 13km. Haug was clearly running faster than everyone else, but Lawrence was not jogging herself… and she was defending her swim and bike advantage well. Try as she might, the gap was not closing fast enough and Holly was going to take the win this year with a gun-to-tape performance.

Lawrence finished with a 1:20:27 run split, versus the 1:16:23 of Haug. Impressive running from both – and enough to take the win (and $6,000 first prize), by more than a minute and a half. Sarah Lewis ran through to complete the podium (1:21:20 run), while Judith Corachán Vacquera was also able to pass Langridge to take fourth, as the Brits finished 1st, 3rd, 5th on the day.

After injury problems and little racing last year, starting the 2019 season the way that she ended 2018 – with a win – puts Holly Lawrence in a great position in early February. And, whisper it quietly, one step of three done on the way to a potential $1million if she could win the 70.3 World’s and 70.3 Bahrain later this year. She’s won both of those before.

IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai – Friday 1st February 2019
1.9km / 90km / 21.1km

PRO WOMEN

1st – Holly Lawrence (GBR) – 4:00:04
2nd – Anne Haug (GER) – 4:01:42
3rd – Sarah Lewis (GBR) – 4:09:39
4th – Judith Corachán Vacquera (ESP) – 4:14:34
5th – Fenella Langridge (GBR) – 4:16:18

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MEN’S PRO RACE REPORT)