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“I was never going to give up on that dream” – IRONMAN World Champion reveals extent of Kona injury

Lucy Charles-Barclay reveals how badly she injured herself during the marathon at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona.

Staff Reporter
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Having finished as the runner-up on four separate occasions at the IRONMAN World Championship, Lucy Charles-Barclay was adamant that she wouldn’t let anything get in her way at the fifth time of asking.

True to her word, the British long course star put together a monumental performance in Kona to not only clinch the World Championship title, but also smash the historic course record in the process.

If all that wasn’t remarkable enough, the 30-year-old Londoner did it all with a torn calf, having injured her leg in training a week out from the race and pushed through the pain from the very first step of the run.

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“I was in a lot of pain from the very beginning”

Revealing on YouTube the extent of her injury, Charles-Barclay shared that scans after the race confirmed tears in her gastrocnemius and soleus, as well as the connective tissue in her calf.

Lucy Charles Barclay wins 2023 IRONMAN World Championship photo credit Getty Images for IRONMAN
[Photo credit: Getty Images for IRONMAN]

“Getting on to the marathon I actually was unfortunately in a lot of pain from the very beginning. I had a calf strain one week out from the race and I just had to be mentally strong at that point and accept that no amount of pain I was going to endure would be worse than losing that race.

“I feel like mentally I was able to take myself to a completely new place that I’d never been before when I’d raced where it didn’t actually matter how much physical pain I was in, I was never going to give up.” 

The long road to glory

Charles-Barclay, reiterating the lengths she was willing to go to in order to clinch the win, reminisced of her first time on the Big Island of Hawai’i, which was when she first dreamt of winning the title.

“When your someone that has wanted something for so long, since I first stepped foot on the Island in 2015 as an age grouper, I dreamt of coming back to race as a professional and possibly one day to win it.

“To come second on my debut in 2017, then come second three more times after that, I just thought that no matter how much physical pain I was in during that race it would hurt me so much more not to win it this time around.

“I wasn’t blocking out the pain entirely, I was feeling it and I felt it every stride if that run, but I was never going to stop running and give up on that dream that I’d worked towards for so long.” 

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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