Sarah Crowley was full of mixed emotions after her seventh-place finish in the IRONMAN Triathlon World Championship 2022 in Kona, Hawaii.
It was an impressive performance from the 39-year-old Australian on the gruelling 226km course, and she persevered despite a five-minute penalty she picked up for drafting on the bike.
‘Good but bad’
Crowley was seventh with a time of 9:01:58, but if it wasn’t for her penalty, she could have potentially slipped below the 9-hour mark.
“It was the most happy, disappointed race of my life, I think,” she explained after the race.
“I got a penalty on the bike, so I had to run super hard today to get back and earn a spot, so it’s good but bad at the same time.”
It’s so good to see it back as it is, and then to remember how hard this race is,
Regardless, the Brisbane-based athlete loved being back on the punishing Kona course, the first time since 2019 that the IRONMAN World Championships have been able to take place at its spiritual home in Hawaii.
“It was brilliant, it’s so good to see it back as it is, and then to remember how hard this race is,’ she said.
“We got a pretty hot one today. Out of all the races I’ve done this is probably the hottest. Quite challenging but it’s so good to see everyone out there, the boys cheering, and they’ll get their turn in a couple of days.”
Tenth out of the water but onto the bike in eighth, it was shaping up to be an impressive race from Crowley.
She rode strongly in a group of four, but at the 40km mark she received a five-minute penalty for drafting.
“A whole heap of rude words but Laura [Philipp] came in at the same time and she was really upset, I was really upset,” Crowley remarked.
“Matt Lieto was there and was like, ‘people have come back from five minutes before to win the race.’”
I’m real sick of getting crappy points and people just thinking that I’m done
While Crowley didn’t quite manage that, she clawed back several places on the concluding marathon, running a 3:06:56 to regain her eighth spot and more, finishing seventh.
“I think I started back pretty slow, Laura could just go but I needed a bit of time to work back into it,” she said.
“But as I sort of got into the race again, I finished quite strong on the bike and felt pretty good on the run immediately so you just never know, focus on your own race and things come to you.
“My highlight is I think just fighting, being able to fight. I just haven’t had it in me as much for the last few years and I wasn’t super sure how I’d tolerate overcoming something that bad, so yeah for me, being able to fight and use all my skills that I have from many years of racing to claw my way back.
“I guess it means really that I’m back, I’m real sick of getting crappy points and people just thinking that I’m done but I’m not, and I think today just showed that there’s still a bit of fight left in me.
“I’m excited to race again.”