Second chance: Philipp taking it ‘slowly but surely’ as she plots Kona path after Covid

Laura Philipp says she must be patient as she continues her recovery from the Covid-19 infection that ruled her out of the IRONMAN World Championship

Philipp, who was #1 in the PTO’s rankings before St George, has not yet confirmed when she will return to racing, but said the year’s second World Championship in Kona will be her focus. 

Speaking on her YouTube channel and embedded below, the 35-year-old German revealed Covid had left her with a high fever and bedridden for three days, but stressed she was progressing well. 

Philipp said: “Of course, I am super hungry to race because I had this huge block of training over the last months leading up to the World Championships and then I couldn’t race. 

“Right now, it feels so wrong for me to go back to training and do another big training block. I want to race. 

“Probably, the next training sessions will be good and the numbers come back and then maybe I get the ‘go’ to race. 

Leaving options open

“It’s very likely that you’ll see my name on many startlists at the moment. That’s because there’s no way to do a late entry. 

“That doesn’t mean I will race all these races, but I will decide very spontaneously if I will race [Ed. that seems to have happened as she’s since confirmed she’ll race 70.3 Kraichgau this Sunday]. 

YouTube video

“I have to be patient and see how my progression is going. So far, I am very happy that I am back in training and have already done some days that felt like proper training days. 

“That’s what I am focusing on right now. I am sure Covid had a big impact, but I will be back.” 

Frustration lingers

Phillip tested positive for Covid just before she was due to fly out to Utah for the IRONMAN World Championship in St George, but had initially hoped for a quick recovery. 

However, it soon became clear that it would take longer. 

She said: “We still had the hope in the back of our minds that a few days later when my test turns out negative again, we could still make it.  

“Of course, this was not something I would put on the table if it was just some preparation race. But because I prepared for months and worked so hard for this World Championship race, I really wanted to still believe that there was a chance that I could make it. 

“From the moment that we decided that we won’t be able to travel to the US, the symptoms really hit me hard. I got high fever, such a bad headache, and I couldn’t leave the bed for two or three days. 

“I also had to face that I wouldn’t be racing at St George. That was a really low point.  

“I am still super frustrated and sad about it. This was my big goal and it felt like with the challenging course and wetsuit swim and hilly bike and hilly run that this could have been my chance of having a really strong performance. 

“I felt ready for it, and I had to let go of a big goal and dream. Maybe the positive is that this year we have two chances? 


Second chance

“There will be another IRONMAN World Championship race in Kona, hopefully, in October, and this is the big goal I’m working for now.” 

Philipp also revealed the impact Covid had on her, saying: “Overall, it took me eight or nine days before my tests turned out negative again. After that, I started to move a little bit. I just went on some easy walks with the dogs. 

“But as soon as I started to walk a bit faster, or when there was an uphill section, I really got out of breath.  

“That was kind of scary because a week before I was in the best shape ever. 

“I take this Covid infection very seriously because I know many athletes and other people who have had quite some damage coming out of the infection and also some heart muscle infections. 

“That is definitely something that can end your career or your life. I am very careful, I listen to my body a lot.” 

Philipp will have a lung function test and an ECG as she continues to monitor her health, but there have been some positive signs. 

She said: “After week three, I can say I feel a lot more normal. So that means less fatigue and I have hardly any headaches. 

“My heartrate has come down a lot, so it looks like normal, but then I also missed nearly three weeks of training, so that definitely has an impact. 

“I feel less fit, of course, so my goal is now to get back into training slowly but surely.”  

Written by
Ed Mezzetti
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