American favourite Skye Moench was in a class of her own on the run at IRONMAN Florida this weekend, as the PTO World #14 didn’t put a foot wrong on the way to victory.
Coming home in second at Panama City Beach, Britain’s India Lee impressed in just her second full distance event, finishing on the podium and securing a slot at the IRONMAN World Championship next year with a fantastic performance.
Rounding out the top three, American Jocelyn McCauley, who was also third at IRONMAN Texas at the beginning of the season, finished her season with a podium after not being able to hold on to Moench and Lee over the marathon distance.
Swim – Brandon leads the way
Breaking away from the field from the start, American Lauren Brandon led through the first lap, opening up a gap of +0:33 to Lee, with the Brit alone in No Man’s Land in second, with the majority of the field, including McCauley, Moench and American Alice Alberts, in the chase pack at +2:17.
Losing time in the second lap, Lee was over two minutes down to leader Brandon, who exited all alone up front after swimming a strong 53:32. Behind Lee, American Rachel Zilinskas was third at +2:27, with McCauley at 4:20 and the big chase pack, which included Moench, down five minutes.
Bike – Wrapping up the podium
Reeling in Brandon, Lee was at the front of the race by the 54.4km mark, with McCauley also shrinking the gap to the front to just 30 seconds and Moench working her way up to her fellow American. Behind the leading four, the gap to the rest of the chasers remained close to five minutes.
Dropping Brandon, the trio of Moench, Lee and McCauley extended their gap to +0:50 over the early swim leader and +9:04 to fifth place Alberts by 112.7km. Working well up front, the podium seemed to be wrapped up unless disaster struck, with these three a class above the rest of the field.
Making their way into transition together, the leaders had inflicted a serious amount of damage on the rest of the field over the second half of the bike leg. In fourth, Brandon was +7:35, whilst Alberts was close to 15 minutes behind and next best Zilinskias +18:28 back from the front.
Run – The deciding factor
With it all to play for with regards to the win on the run, Lee seized the initiative over the opening kilometres, getting a small gap over Moench by the 3.5km mark and dropping the experienced McCauley, who was close to half a minute down early on.
Building her lead, Lee had +18 by the 10.5km mark, extending that to +0:32 by the 14.5km mark and keeping Moench more than half a minute in arrears through 17.5km. However, having started conservatively, the veteran long distance pro started to reel in Lee, cutting the gap to less than ten seconds at the halfway mark.
Running remarkably even splits, Moench pulled away as Lee began to falter in the second half of the marathon, with the American putting close to three minutes into the Brit over the 10km to the 31.4km timing mark.
Running away with it having put together a strong 2:54:44 marathon, Moench won comfortably in the end, with Lee at +8:31 and McCauley holding strong for third at +11:27, as the rest of the field came in close to 25 minutes behind the winner. Having last won a full distance over a year ago, the victory was a welcome one for 35 year old Moench.
IRONMAN Florida 2023 Women’s Results
Saturday November 4, 2023 – Panama City Beach, Florida
- 1. Skye Moench (USA) – 2:54:44
- 2. India Lee (GBR) – 8:31:01
- 3. Jocelyn McCauley (USA) – 8:33:56
- 4. Erin Snelgrove (CAN) – 8:47:06
- 5. Alice Alberts (USA) – 8:49:14