Olympic Triathlon Champion Gwen Jorgensen took on her first marathon – 10 miles further than she has ever run previously – on Sunday in New York, and finished in 2:41:01.
Going through halfway in 1:15:52, a 19:33 5km split between 20-25km was the first sign that her early pace was starting to tell, and that continued over the closing half of the race. No ‘blow up’, but I suspect she’ll feel the effects of the final 15km when she wakes up on Monday morning!
14th place in 2:41:01🏃💪
It isn’t bad at all for a marathon debut, @gwenjorgensen! #NYCMarathon pic.twitter.com/mr4tZtbdWh
— Olympic Channel (@olympicchannel) November 7, 2016
Other Female Triathlon Marathon Performances…
Just last week the 2012 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final winner, Anne Haug, finished the Frankfurt Marathon in 2:36:13 (12th).
The athlete that Gwen beat to Gold in Rio, Nicola Spirig (SUI), ran 2:37:12 when finishing 24th in the 2014 European Athletics Championships Marathon (24th), while another Olympic Silver medalist, Vanessa Fernandes (POR), has run a 2:31:22 (Valencia 2015, 6th).
Other well-known ‘triathlon’ marathon runners include Ironman World Champion Erin Baker (NZL), who ran 2:36:57 (Pittsburgh 1989, 3rd), and the late Jackie Gallagher (AUS), who after her triathlon career (ITU World Champion in 1996, plus Silver medallist in 95 / 97 / 99) went on to a competitive marathon career which included a Commonwealth Games Bronze medal in 2002. She had a marathon PB of 2:32:40 from Nagoya in 2004.
However, to the best of my knowledge, the most distinguished and fastest female ‘triathlete’ related marathon runner was Sonja Oberem (GER). Under her maiden name of Sonja Krolik she was the ITU World Junior Triathlon Champion in both 1991 (Gold Coast) and 1992 (Huntsville), was fourth in the senior ITU World Championships a year later in Manchester, and then in 1994 was ETU European Elite Champion.
Sonja switched from triathlon to marathon running and had a long career including many of the major big city marathons, running under 2:30 at least 13 times, with a personal best of 2:26:13 when winning the Hamburg Marathon in 2001. She also finished eighth in the Atlanta Olympics (1996) and 24th in the Sydney Olympics (2000). She was also fourth in the 1997 London Marathon.