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It ‘kind of broke something’ – Philipp still sore over Kona penalty

Laura Philipp reveals it took her some time to process her penalty at Kona last season - but she's now ready for an exciting 2023 season

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As she unveiled plans for her 2023 season, which will start with IRONMAN South Africa in early March, Laura Philipp revealed that her five-minute penalty at Kona last October still rankles.

The world #6 was right in the mix at the sharp end of the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii but her hopes were dealt a hammer blow early on the bike with a sanction for drafting.

That meant that rather than riding in an ideal group featuring the likes of Daniela Ryf and Anne Haug, she was instead left isolated.

Nonetheless she still managed to take fourth place and speaking about it three months later, in what is her first YouTube video since then (embedded below), it’s clear it hurts.

She explains: “I still don’t agree with that [the penalty], the whole process was quite challenging. I felt my chance for the win was gone but I’m so proud that I continued and fought hard.

“After Hawaii my motivation was pretty low. I took a long break off and really feel like I needed the break, physically but also mentally. I do feel like the penalty experience kind of broke something inside my mind – I needed to pick myself up.”

Raring to go

She explains in the video that the processing of that has gone well and she’s now relishing her 2023 race calendar and being part of an exciting era for the sport, especially on the women’s side.

She said: “We are in a really great time in triathlon at the moment. The level is just sick, it’s getting faster and better with every year. I’m just so proud to still be able to compete with all those fast ladies.”

She reveals that she’s planning three full-distance races this season, starting with IRONMAN South Africa on 5th March, where she hopes to seal Kona qualification.

The middle of that trio of events will be “one of the big ones in Germany in the summer”.

Philipp of course was just seven seconds off the fastest-ever full-distance time by a woman when she retained her IRONMAN European Championship title in Hamburg last June.

As for 2023, with Hamburg taking over as location the Pro Men’s IRONMAN European Championship this year, it will be another venue for Laura’s ‘home’ summer race. That will almost certainly be either in Frankfurt on 2 July (all but a given, should her Kona qualification plans in Port Elizabeth not work out), or – if that box is ticked – then Frankfurt remains an option, alongside a potential debut at Challenge Roth, a week earlier on 25 June.

And – in common with a lot of athletes – she is still waiting on final announcements of races from the likes of the PTO before she can finalise her full calendar.

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Training has been going well – an impromptu camp, where swimming was the focus, in St Moritz has been followed by a three-week block in the somewhat warmer climes of Fuerteventura where she’s been racking up the bike miles.

And she rounds off the video by talking about her views on the much-debated decision to split the IRONMAN World Championship hosting between Kona and Nice.

It will be Hawaii for the women this year, followed by the French Riviera in 2024 and the German sees both plusses and minuses: “I’m quite curious to see how this experience will be. I’m kind of not fully decided about it. 

“On the one hand I love the decision to have a women-only race, I also like the idea of racing in Nice. But what I don’t really like is that men and women are separated.”

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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