Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cave wins first Kona title

Leanda Cave won her first Kona title, outrunning Caroline Steffen who took second.

Rinnie Carfrae was third, Sonja Tajsich was fourth and Mary Beth Ellis was fifth.

Click here for an story on Cave.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top 12 Iron Distance Times

8:18:13 Chrissie Wellington Roth 2011
8:19:13 Chrissie Wellington Roth 2010
8:31:59 Chrissie Wellington Roth 2009
8:33:56 Chrissie Wellington IM South Africa 2010
8:34:51 Caroline Steffen IM Melbourne 2012
8:36:13 Chrissie Wellington IM Arizona 2010
8:39:24 Rebekah Keat Roth 2009
8:43:34 Mary Beth Ellis IM Austria 2011
8:45:04 Rachel Joyce Roth 2012
8:45:48 Yvonne van Vlerken Roth 2008
8:46:09 Rachel Joyce IM Melbourne 2012
8:47:05 Erika Csomor Roth 2008

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Steffen - Second Sub Nine in 2012

Caroline Steffen goes Sub Nine at Ironman's European Championship in Frankfurt - 8:52:33

Roth - Speed Demons

Four Sub Nine performances at Challenge Roth: Rachel Joyce 8:45:04; Sonja Tajsich 8:49:47; Julia Gajer 8:57:02; Gina Crawford 8:59:35.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Team TBB

Brett Sutton - Team TBB

Mary Beth Ellis, Sam Warriner (expecting), Caroline Steffen, Ali Fitch, Carrie Lester, Diana Riesler, Bella Baylis, Maki Nishuichi


Matt Dixon - PurplePatch

 Rachel Joyce, Emma-Kat Lidbury, Belinda Harper, Jess Smith, Linsey Corbin, Sam McGlone, Sarah Piampiano, Meredith Kessler, Jennifer Tetrick

Team Sirius

Siri Lindley - Team Sirius

Rebekah Keat, Leanda Cave, Magali Tisseyre, Michelle Bremer, Anna Cleaver, Kathy Rakel, Amanda Balding, Jenny Fletcher, Yvonne van Vlerken, Dede Griesbauer

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ellis does it again

Mary Beth Ellis is in good form, recording another Sub Nine performance at Ironman Texas on Saturday. The American swam 53:32, cycled 4:45:52 and then ran 3:11:09 for a 8:54:58. For most of the swim and bike, Ellis and Amy Marsh shadowed each other. Ellis broke away during the run. Caitlin Snow showed that she's running as well as ever, clocking a 2:51:46 marathon, which propelled her into second overall in 9:01.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bayliss, Bij de Vaate in Lanzarote

Bella Bayliss returned from her 'baby break' with a second place finish at Ironman Lanzarote. In third was Heleen Bij de Vaate.

Austria 70.3 stellar field

It was a stellar field on the startline at Austria 70.3 with a raft of Sub Nine women and one Kona legend too. Julia Gajer won, Erika Csomor was second, Natascha Badmann third, Sonja Tajsich fourth and Caroline Steffen was fifth. Other Sub Nine women in the Top 10 included Gina Crawford, seventh.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review by Lucy Smith

From the great Paula Newby-Fraser, who in the 1980’s set the bar as high as possible for female iron distance triathletes, to Chrissie Wellington, who is still pushing it ever higher, this book is a peek into the world of endurance success, and the guts and mindset that goes with it.

The great thing about this book is that it is double faceted: it’s a factual, if brief, history of the racing statistics of great female triathletes and it’s a book that offers some fun insider information on an unique and popular niche in endurance sports, the Ironman triathlon.

It is a snapshot of amazing athletes, how they achieved their peak performances, how they perceive and define success for themselves and what makes them tick. It’s only at the end of the book that the reader might reflect on the fact that reading a book that contains stories of 22 incredible women who have gone sub nine hours for Ironman is, in itself, remarkable.

Remarkable in a culture that has only embraced women’s endurance sports in the last thirty years, and where women didn’t race the Olympic marathon until 1984. This is a women’s success story with no gloss. As Moore says in his conclusion: “There are no shortcuts.”

Going under nine hours in Ironman is an immense achievement. In order to do this, the athlete has to swim 3.8km in under an hour, ride close to 5 hours for 180km, and then run a 3 hour marathon, give or take several minutes. Many of the athletes in the book did this more than once, on more than one course. Wellington’s were done on six different courses! By the time this book was written only 22 had actually gone under 9 hours, so it’s a pretty elite club.

Timothy Moore has managed to gather as much real fact and information as he could about the women in the book, using only themselves or their blogs or websites as sources. This makes the book less biography, and more a direct account and factual listing of their accomplishments. I like this: stories and history can be largely subjective, and history about women can often be misleading and full of conjecture about being female.

There is nothing subjective here, and the result is an entertaining and lively read of how some women with super athletic genes got themselves to the pinnacle of their sport. The women are as different from each other as their athletic accomplishments are the same. But these are women who took themselves and their sport seriously, who trained hard, sought out the best training environments and coaches, and who had an obsessive drive to win and be fast. The women talk about professionalism and success, finding a way to make a pay check, choosing races carefully and planning their seasons. They are unabashed in their commitment to the win and that’s what makes the book so entertaining.

For anyone who has been following Ironman for years, this book puts many of the performances in perspective, showing the context in which women were steadily improving on performance and proving that women belong in the world of endurance sports.

It is a retrospective of Ironman winning and Ironman popularity and the people and personalities that are behind the events. Moore should be commended for his respectful treatment of the athletes in the book, both in his unwillingness to intrude in the personal lives of those who are retired, and for his enthusiasm for showcasing their true talents and contribution to the sport of triathlon. Sub Nine is not simply an inspiring story of greatness, but a tribute to the work of a generation of amazing women, a story that should be read by every fan of the sport!


Lucy Smith is a 19 Time Canadian Champion, and World Championship Silver medallist in Duathlon. She has been competing professionally for more than 25 years and now coaches, writes and still races. Lucy is the author of First Triathlon: Your Perfect Plan for Success.

You can follow Lucy on her blog:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Top Ten Ironwomen Times

8:18:13 Chrissie Wellington Roth 2011
8:19:13 Chrissie Wellington Roth 2010
8:31:59 Chrissie Wellington Roth 2009
8:33:56 Chrissie Wellington IM South Africa 2010
8:34:51 Caroline Steffen IM Melbourne 2012
8:36:13 Chrissie Wellington IM Arizona 2010
8:39:24 Rebekah Keat Roth 2009
8:43:34 Mary Beth Ellis Austria 2011
8:45:48 Yvonne van Vlerken Roth 2008
8:46:09 Rachel Joyce IM Melbourne 2012

Steffen resets the bar for herself

Caroline Steffen has just thrown down the gauntlet to every other pro woman. With her emphatic victory at Ironman Melbourne, the Swiss athlete has reset the bar for herself - and her peers.

Steffen is now the second fastest Ironwomen on the planet with the fifth fastest time. Chrissie Wellington holds the four fastest times for Iron distance races.

In Melbourne, Steffen went 8:34:51 (53:29, 4:44:57, 3:01:22). That's almost half an hour faster than her previous best time for an Ironman.

In Kona 2011 she finished fifth in 9:07:32 (57:15, 4:50:26, 3:15:17). Earlier in the season she won Ironman races in Frankfurt in 9:12 and in Port Macquarie in 9:29.

A year earlier in Kona she was second in 9:06 (55:57, 4:59:22, 3:05:47) - her PB at the distance until yesterday.

Steffen was a competitive swimmer for 10 years, then a member of a pro cycling team for two years before switching to triathlon.

Steffen, Joyce smash Melbourne

Caroline Steffen, fifth in Kona last year and second in 2010, absolutely smashed the Ironman Melbourne course in a time of 8:34:51.

"So, so happy, still can't believe it and I'm in the Sub 9h club now as well," Steffen tweeted after the race.

Steffen swam 53:29, rode 4:35:29 and ran 3:01:22.

Rachel Joyce went 8:46:09. "What a day! Stoked with today's performance #IMMelbourne rocked. Big congrats to Caroline on a stonking win, and to Rinnie on third."

Joyce, who was fourth in Kona last year, swam 52:34, rode 4:44:57 and ran 3:05:02.

The fastest pro women splits on the day:

Swim: Joyce 52:34

Bike: Steffen 4:35:29

Run: Mirinda Carfrae 2:58:29.

(*Rinnie ended the day at 9:04.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Super fast field for Melbourne

When the cannon sounds in Melbourne on Sunday morning, hang on because it’s going to be a fast race.

While it’s an inaugural event - so the course is untested and the weather may prove a challenge, there’s every reason to expect the pro women to set a blistering pace.

The pro women’s field is one of the deepest ever outside of Kona for reasons I wrote about in an story several weeks ago: In short, prize money and Kona qualifying points.

The ‘other other’ reason is because there are seven Sub Nine Ironwomen in the field, including the world’s second fastest pro woman, Australian Rebekah Keat.

Who else is among the speed demons?

There’s Mirinda Carfrae, Leanda Cave, Gina Crawford, Belinda Granger, Jessica Jacobs and Jo Lawn.

Each of these women has shown that they have the ability to dominate a race.

I have argued that with Chrissie Wellington taking this year off, we should expect a number of records. It’s a reference to a belief that a dominant athlete tends to lead rivals to compete below their potential.

There’s no doubt that the level of competitiveness within the pro field is rising. It’s great for the sport, especially in Australia, the birthplace to many of the sports most accomplished athletes for the last two decades.

Friday, March 16, 2012

How fast can Chrissie Wellington run?

“Chrissie has done it. Chrissie has done it. Chrissie Wellington - who won in her debut at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii five years ago - has won Gold in the marathon at the London Olympic Games!”

Wellington, still without a hat sponsor, smiles a little wider.


Ok, that isn't going to happen - as far as we know. But what if she had chosen first to qualify for the Olympics and then, compete at them.

While winning a gold medal at the Games has proved beyond the reach of many of the world's greatest athletes, here's a case for why it would have been exciting to see Wellington test herself this summer.

Wellington last month told the Guardian that she'd be keen to run “2:20 something” at the London marathon.

The British athlete said she'd look to do so next year. Next year? Why wait? What if she had chosen to do so next month? Did she give it serious consideration? Did anyone try to convince her to do so?

If Wellington had refocused on running after winning the Ironman World Championship for the fourth time in October, the London marathon would have been the perfect race to do.

The reason to run this year is simple enough: a second round of selection for Team Great Britain’s marathon squad will take place after the April 22 race. As for the qualifying standard - a mere 2:31.

Wellington, who turned 35 last month, must have run some numbers in her own mind. But if not, here goes!

The fastest marathon Wellington has run - in an Iron-distance race no less - is 2:44:35, at Challenge Roth last year. At first glance it would seem a huge ask to run more than 13 minutes faster.

But running fast is what Wellington does. She ran 2:48:54 in Roth in 2010. In 2009, she ran 2:57:32. At Ironman South Africa in April 2011, she posted a 2:52:54 and at Ironman Arizona in November 2010, Wellington ran 2:52:56.

Wellington also has run fast in Kona: 2:52:41 in 2011, 3:03:05 in 2009, 2:57:44 in 2008 and 2:59:57 in 2007. *Mirinda Carfrae, of course, holds the run course record on the Big Island with her 2:52:09 last year.

And each of these runs came after four to five hours of racing a 3.8km swim and 180.2km bike.

In an interview with the BBC in January, Wellington dismissed the idea of competing in London, saying it would be "disrespectful" to think she could switch sports and compete at a global level. She says it’s a decision she would have had to have made two years ago.

But Wellington has never been limited by past performances by herself or other athletes, hence the title of her new book, A Life Without Limits.

And what a better way to “embrace” an opportunity during her “gap” year - or two - from Ironman, and give a 110 per cent, as she told the BBC, in trying to qualify and then compete at the Olympics.

Notwithstanding that Wellington would have needed to be training at a high level the last few months in particular, a number of questions need to be asked.

First, would it have been worth her time and effort? Team GB has already named Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi to its London Games' marathon team.

The window of opportunity would have been narrow. But all that Wellington would have to do is train consistently and get to the start healthy. And then see what would happen on the day. The objective: Wellington, Olympian. A worthy objective, no?

The top UK runner at last year's London marathon, Jo Pavey, crossed the line in 2:28:24 and the next UK woman was Louise Damen, in 2:30:00.

Could Wellington be competitive as an elite marathoner? There's every reason to say yes.

It's not scientific nor representative but both Desiree Ficker and Joanna Zeiger, two superb former pro triathletes, have run more than 30 minutes faster in standalone marathons.

Ficker ran a 2:40:28 standalone marathon in February 2007, about four months after finishing second in Kona with a 3:11:49 marathon split. She has since lowered her PB to 2:39:30. And she recently decided to focus entirely on running.

Zeiger, who won Ironman Brazil 2005 with a 3:16:08 run and had a stellar half ironman career, last December ran a 2:43:48 marathon. Zeiger, who represented the US in the Sydney Games in triathlon, retired from the sport after a devastating bike crash while trying to defend her title at the 70.3 World Championships in 2009.

There’s also an earlier comparison.

Irma Heeren of the Netherlands fell short of qualifying for the Dutch marathon team for Sydney, running 2:35:53 while injured in 1999. In a bid to refocus, Heeren raced at the Iron-distance event in Almere about four months later, posting a 2:55:48 split and finishing in 8:56:23. A difference of almost 20 minutes.

So the question becomes how much faster can Wellington run, when she doesn't need to first swim and bike?

Running 30 minutes faster sounds far-fetched. If she ran 30 minutes faster - like Ficker or Zeiger, she would eclipse Radcliffe’s world marathon record of 2:15:25. If she ran 20 minutes faster - like Heeren, she would finish in 2:24 something. (Interestingly, the Olympic marathon record is 2:23:14, set by Naoko Takahashi of Japan at the Sydney Games in 2000.)

Wellington would appear to have the potential to be one of the world’s top marathoners. That’s why she should be racing in London next month. It's a missed opportunity for her, and sport.

And if she came up short, so be it. No one looks at Michael Jordan with any less respect for his decision to give baseball a try. Nor does his tenure as a coach detract for a moment from all the Wayne Gretzky achieved on the ice.

So what if Wellington could run about 2:25? How would she have ranked going in the London Games?

At the Boston marathon last year, Kenya’s Caroline Kilel won in 2:22:36, two seconds ahead of Desiree Davila and six seconds ahead of Sharon Cherop. Caroline Rotich was fourth in 2:24:26, with Kara Goucher rounding out the top five in 2:24:52.

In Houston last month, Shalane Flanagan set a US Olympic Trials record of 2:25:38 in only her second marathon, Davila finished in 2:25:55 and Kara Goucher in 2:26:06.

For perspective, Radcliffe has qualified for the UK team with a 2:23:46 time in Berlin last September. Yamauchi got her spot with a 2:27:24 in Yokohama in November.

There have been seven Games that have held the women's marathon, and a Brit is yet to secure a medal of any color in the event.

Alas we'll have to wait until next year to see how fast a marathoner Wellington is.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Featured in BC Bookworld

Sub Nine: History's Fastest Ironwomen is featured in the Spring 2012 issue of BC BookWorld, Canada's largest circulation newspaper about books. The newspaper is published four times a year and reaches 100,000 people through libraries and schools across the province as well as on BC Ferries, which carry 10 million passengers a year.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

So how fast can she run?

Chrissie Wellington says she’d like to run a 2:20 something at the London Marathon.

It begs the question just how much faster can one run a standalone marathon in comparison with the one everyone runs to finish an Iron-distance event.

Wellington has consistently posted some of the fastest ever Iron-distance run times for women.

In Roth last July, Chrissie Wellington posted a 2:44:35 marathon split. The previous year she ran 2:48:54. In 2009, she ran 2:57:32.

At Ironman South Africa in April 2011, she posted a 2:52:54 and at Ironman Arizona in November 2010, Wellington ran 2:52:56.

Wellington also has run fast in Kona: 2:52:41 in 2011, 3:03:05 in 2009, 2:57:44 in 2008 and 2:59:57 in 2007. *Mirinda Carfrae holds the run course record on the Big Island with her 2:52:09 last year.

There are two women who offer potential parallels for Wellington, though every athlete is different.

First, there is Desiree Ficker who finished second at Kona in 2006 when she ran 3:11:49. She has a marathon PB of 2:40:28.

Second, there is Joanna Zeiger, the 2008 70.3 World Champion. When she won Ironman Brazil in 2005, she ran 3:16:08. She has a marathon PB of 2:43:48.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Run Chrissie Run

What lies ahead for Chrissie Wellington, athletically speaking, is coming into sharper focus: she’d like to run a sub 2:30 London Marathon.

At least that’s one objective she’s set for herself during the next year or two. Wellington revealed her marathon ambition in an interview this week with the Guardian newspaper ahead of the release of her book, A Life Without Limits.

Exactly how fast Wellington can run a standalone marathon will be a new test for the reigning, and four-time, Ironman world champion.

Last year, 20 women finished Sub 2:30 in London; and two women had 2:30:00 finish times. The winner was Kenya’s Mary Keitany, who crossed the line in 2:19:19 - shy of Paula Radcliffe’s women-only (2:17:42) and mixed (2:15:25) records.

Wellington didn’t say in the interview whether she wanted to win or place in the top 10 or 20 or whatever - simply, she has the time target in mind. While there’s no need to be more specific, Wellington has made winning fast her trademark.

Perhaps more interesting news in the interview, in talking about her day in Kona last October, Wellington told the Guardian that she has “maybe completed the journey”. She added that: “I’m not retiring but I’m going to take a break for a year or two.”

The interview was mostly about the book that Wellington has written, which is set to go on sale in the UK this week and in the US later in the year.

There’s potentially great value in an elite athlete opening up about personal demons, which Wellington apparently has done in terms of an eating disorder and a lack of confidence with which she says she has struggled.

Many elite athletes have inner, hidden battles and when they talk about them, it has a way of making them more of this world and encouraging other people to ask for help.

In his book, I’m Here to Win, Chris McCormack talks about how the sudden death of his best friend and the death of his mother changed his perspective on life and sport. He talks about how he came to realize that he needed something beyond finishing first to drive himself in training and racing.

Wellington has had a similar transformation. She has talked openly for several years about wanting to use her platform to help others, and she says that’s a key focus this year.

I do hope that the book inspires and motivates people to look beyond what they think they can accomplish in sport and life. It’s an important message.

What I’m keen to see in the book is how she relates to her peers within the sport.

I also would like to see at least some detail on the training she’s done the last five years to better understand how she has become the world’s fastest Ironwoman and the level of commitment that she’s put into being the best she can be.

And I’d like to see whether she hints at what would draw her back to the sport. She told the Guardian that she had nothing else to prove. If ‘having to prove herself’ has been a key motivator to train as hard as she has, it is unclear how a break will renew it.

Her decision, at the age of 35, to take one to two years off the sport seems odd. She’s arguably at her peak. Professional athletes have such short careers. There are few athletes who step away and then return at the same level.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Siri swaps athletes

Mirinda Carfrae has ended a seven-year coaching relationship with Siri Lindley ..

Here is the slowtwitch article about Mirinda and Siri.

And Siri has recently - earlier this month - become the coach of Bek Keat.

Chrissie Wellington's new book

Chrissie Wellington's new book is about to be published in the UK. She spoke with the Guardian newspaper about it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Records to fall

It’s early, very early in the season and yet the dynamics for the pro women’s field have been significantly altered.

Chrissie Wellington opened the door the last few years for a rush of personal best performances by the elite of the elite with a Sub Nine performance in Frankfurt in July 2008. Since then, 17 women have surged into the group.

The majority of those athletes are keen to show that their performances the last four years weren’t a fluke.

Wellington’s decision to take this year off begs a few questions. Will a new world record be set this season? Will more athletes finish Sub Nine? Will more athletes finish Sub 8:45? Will another athlete finish Sub 8:30? Why not?

For more see

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chrissie to take a break


16th January 2012 – London, UK: Four time World Champion and World Ironman Distance Record Holder, Chrissie Wellington has announced that she’ll be taking a break from competing in Ironman during 2012 to explore other opportunities, including the forthcoming publication of her autobiography.

You can find more details on her website: