Corinne Abraham on top at IRONMAN Kalmar

KALMAR, SWEDEN - AUGUST 19: Participants compete in the swim leg of the race during Ironman Kalmar on August 19, 2017 in Kalmar, Sweden. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for IRONMAN).

A second IRONMAN start. A second IRONMAN win and a second course record of the 2018 season. It’s fair to say that Saturday was another good day for Great Britain’s Corinne Abraham at the ever stunning IRONMAN Kalmar in Sweden.

A female-only race in terms of the Pro’s (the men race on Sunday in Copenhagen), the weather proved to be on the athletes side and contribute to some fast conditions, especially on the bike. The course is primarily flat save for the iconic Öland Bridge near the beginning of the ride, but can be exposed to wind, as 12 months ago, slowing the athletes down. No so for the 2018 edition.

Annie Thoren (SWE), Kimberley Morrison (GBR) and Dede Griesbauer (USA) exited the brackish waters in close order in a swift 52:25, five minutes ahead of the chasing group of Abraham, Emma Graaf (SWE), Angela Naeth (CAN) and Sofie Goos (BEL), with previous winner and home favourite, Åsa Lundström (SWE), just 12 seconds outside the hour mark.

Based on her riding this season, seeing Kimberley Morrison quickly to the front of the race, solo, was exactly to script. Heading out onto the second section of the bike course, Morrison was riding well and almost four minutes clear – but in second place was Corinne Abraham, actually riding a touch quicker over that first 100km.

That trend continued over the second half of the ride, with the two Brits actually reaching T2 in close order, Abraham with a rapid bike split (4:34:32) dismounting her bike just 22 second ahead of Morrison (4:40:51). Naeth and Lundström were next to arrive – eight and nine and half minutes respectively – later, both having ridden impressive 4:42 splits. It had been a good ride from Morrison, but so impressive has she been in many previous races, you feel that she would have been hoping for a little more of a buffer with 26 miles of running to come.

Corinne has been incredibly consistent and strong on the run through her IRONMAN career and little was going to change here. As expected, she steadily pulled away from Morrison and was never seriously challenged from further behind. Lundström did eventually run a few seconds faster than the Brit to move into second, but it still left Abraham to enjoy to fantastic finish line in Kalmar with a nine minute victory margin.

Morrison was suffering in the run; she held second place through to around the 26km mark, but first Lundström and with 7km remaining, Naeth, made the catch and she had little left to respond with. Another step on her IRONMAN education however in only her third start over the distance.

A great day for Abraham, who has now won Challenge Lisboa, IRONMAN France and IRONMAN Kalmar this year as well as securing her start for the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona.

IRONMAN Kalmar, Sweden – Saturday 18th August 2018
3.8km / 180km / 42.2km

PRO WOMEN

1st – Corinne Abraham (GBR) – 8:45:06
2nd – Åsa Lundström (SWE) – 8:54:35
3rd – Angela Neath (CAN) – 9:01:03
4th – Kimberley Morrison (GBR) – 9:07:49
5th – Sonja Tajsich (GER) – 9:13:10

AGE-GROUP

2nd – F40-44 – Claire Shea-Simmonds – 9:53:39 (3rd AG athlete overall)