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Kona 2022 – How the Female Race Unfolded

Here are the results of the top finishers and the athletes who had an influence on the outcome of the WPRO race (full results can be found here, there’s also a detailed look at the men’s Pro race):

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to exp. Prize Money
1 Chelsea Sodaro USA 00:54:47 (10) 04:42:07 (4) 02:51:44 (1) 08:33:45 -29:04 US$ 125,000
2 Lucy Charles-Barclay GBR 00:50:56 (1) 04:43:11 (7) 03:02:48 (5) 08:41:36 -17:18 US$ 65,000
3 Anne Haug GER 00:57:57 (18) 04:41:48 (3) 02:57:56 (2) 08:42:21 -07:01 US$ 45,000
4 Laura Philipp GER 00:57:53 (15) 04:45:26 (11) 03:01:32 (4) 08:50:30 00:10 US$ 25,000
5 Lisa Norden SWE 00:54:41 (8) 04:42:24 (5) 03:12:40 (10) 08:54:42 -14:44 US$ 20,000
6 Fenella Langridge GBR 00:51:41 (4) 04:43:24 (8) 03:16:29 (13) 08:56:25 -11:35 US$ 18,000
7 Sarah Crowley AUS 00:54:49 (11) 04:55:02 (15) 03:06:55 (6) 09:01:57 -11:56 US$ 15,000
8 Daniela Ryf SUI 00:57:51 (14) 04:36:10 (1) 03:23:44 (24) 09:02:25 06:01 US$ 13,000
9 Skye Moench USA 00:54:51 (12) 04:44:35 (9) 03:19:37 (18) 09:04:30 -00:57 US$ 12,000
10 Laura Siddall GBR 00:58:08 (23) 04:46:57 (12) 03:17:33 (16) 09:07:48 -13:13 US$ 11,000
DNF Sara Svensk SWE 00:58:09 (24) 04:39:12 (2) DNF

Here’s the Race Development Graph for these athletes (click for a hi-res version):


Here is a quick summery of the race for the podium spots:

  • Since 2017, Lucy Charles-Barclay has always been first out of the water, this year was no different.
  • However, she was quickly joined at the front by Fenella Langridge, and the two worked together for the whole bike leg.
  • Daniela Ryf had to put in a big effort to catch these two before the end of the bike. Daniela started the run in the lead but eventually finished eighth. Fenella also lost a few spots on the run, she finished sixth.
  • Kona rookie Chelsea Sodaro started the run three minutes behind the leaders, but she posted the fastest marathon (2:51) and won the 2022 race by almost eight minutes.
  • With a 3:02 marathon, Lucy posted her fastest Kona marathon so far, taking second place for the fourth time.
  • Defending Kona Champion Anne Haug started the run almost six minutes behind Daniela and quickly moved into the final podium position. However, she just wasn’t able to run up to Lucy, finishing third by just 45 seconds.

Kona Champion: Chelsea Sodaro

The surprise of the day was the performance of Kona rookie Chelsea Sodaro who stormed to the win:

F1 Chelsea

After the swim, Chelsea was about four minutes behind Lucy Charles. Chelsea established herself in the chase group, and the gap to Lucy stayed much the same into T2. The only athlete who was able to overtake her on the bike was Daniela, and she started the run in fourth place, only behind Daniela, Lucy and Fenella. At that point, she was seen as a solid Top10 candidate but what followed then was a surprise to almost everyone: Chelsea was the fastest runner and even took the lead after the aid station on the uphill at Palani Road. After her previous IM in Hamburg she said she had run out of energy in the second half of the marathon, and in the Kona aid stations she always took some extra time, walking a bit to take on extra water and ice. Was that a sign of struggles or just smart strategy in the Kona heat? At the turn in the Energy Lab, she had already built a lead of almost five minutes – an explosion seemed less and less likely. When she crossed the finish line, she won by almost eight minutes, running a 2:51 marathon, the fastest of the day by six minutes. She also posted the second-fastest time ever on the Kona course.

Second Place: Lucy Charles-Barclay

For the fourth time, second place went to Lucy Charles-Barclay:

F2 Lucy

The start (leading into T1) and the end of the race (finishing in second place) must have been familiar to Lucy. What was different to previous races is that she wasn’t able to build a big gap in the swim – she was only 44 seconds ahead of Rebecca Clarke (who finished 17th), Pamella Oliveira (DNF) and Fenella. Fenella then bridged up to Lucy in the first ten miles, and the two traded the lead on the bike. That situation only changed 4 miles before T2 when Daniela rode by them. But it was soon evident that Lucy was the fastest runner of the lead three, and she re-took the #1 spot soon after T2. She was able to hold on to the lead along the Queen K, but at the end of the climb on Palani Chelsea relegated her to second place and Lucy started to fall behind. Unless Chelsea would blow up, Lucy’s attention had to be behind her where Anne Haug was eating into the gap to Lucy. But even after Lucy’s injury at the start of the year, she was running well. Her 3:02 marathon was her fastest in Kona so far – quick enough to hold off Anne and to take second place.

Third Place: Anne Haug

The defending Champion from Kona 2019, Anne Haug, finished in third place:

F3 Anne

Compared to 2019, Anne lost slightly more time in the swim (6:41 in 2022 vs. 5:07) but then rode well in the second chase group with a number of strong bike riders such as Daniela Ryf. After the turn in Hawi, the gap was down to under four minutes but then Daniela rode away from the chase group who was no longer able to make up time to the lead. Even though she posted the second-fastest bike split of the finishers, in the final 90 minutes of the bike she was losing time to Lucy and the other leaders. Anne started the run in seventh place, 5:36 behind the lead. In 2019 she had made up more than eight minutes to Lucy (and won by six minutes!), this year Anne’s first half marathon also went well and she moved into third place by mile 10, but still four minutes behind the new leader Chelsea, and just over three minutes behind Lucy in second place. At mile 20, she was within 30 seconds to Lucy, but then the gap hovered between 21 and 36 seconds. Just as in St. George, Anne ran out of steam and was a bit frustrated to not to be able to close the gap. Her 2:57 marathon was the second-fastest (behind Chelsea) – but also Anne’s slowest World Championship marathon. At the finish line, she had to settle for third by just 45 seconds. This was the smallest gap between female second and third place finishers since the eight-second difference between Natascha Badmann and Nina Kraft in 2003. (The closest men’s gap is 16 seconds between Lionel Sanders and Braden Currie at St. George 2022.)

Fourth Place: Laura Philipp

Laura Philipp repeated her fourth place from 2019:

F4 Laura

This year’s race was a roller-coaster for Laura. It started well when she was able to swim with Daniela Ryf and Anne Haug in the second chase group and they were slowly making up time to the leaders. Around mile 25 she was given a drafting penalty – the circumstances are still unclear (and unlikely to ever be properly cleared up). She was in tears when she served her five-minute penalty at mile 34 and dropped back from a promising position with the race favorites to outside the Top 20, more than ten minutes behind the leaders. She managed to continue to ride well and by T2 had fought her way back into 11th place. In the first part of the run on Ali’i, she gained three more spots but there were big gaps in front of her. But she continued to run at about a 3-hour marathon pace, and the slower runners slowly came back to her. Running towards the turn in the Energy Lab, she was able to see fourth to seventh place in front of her, and she was able to catch all of them in the next half hour. With Anne almost eight minutes in front of her at mile 20, Laura had to settle for securing her fourth position.

Fifth Place: Lisa Norden

After finishing sixth in St. George, Lisa Norden was able to improve to fifth place even with a penalty:

F5 Lisa

Lisa exited the water in the first bigger chase group, starting the bike with Chelsea Sodaro, Sarah Crowley and Skye Moench. When they reached the climb to Hawi, only Lucy and Fenella were about three minutes ahead of them. Then Lisa was forced to serve a five-minute penalty right after the turn and dropped back to 12th place. After that she continued to ride strong, and she started the run in fourth place. In her past Ironman races, Lisa hadn’t been the strongest runner – in St. George she ran a 3:18 and fell back from third in T2 to sixth place. On Ali’i Drive, she dropped a few places into seventh. However, she was able to continue to run her pace and managed to gain back two more spots in the second half to finish with a new marathon PR of 3:12 in fifth place.

Sixth Place: Fenella Langridge

After finishing eighth in St: George, Fenella improved to sixth place in Kona:

F6 Fenella

Fenella had another great swim, only losing 30 seconds to Lucy. She was quickly able to bridge up to her in the out and back on Kuakini and was trading the lead with Lucy on the Queen K, the climb to Hawi and the way back into town. When Daniela passed them a few miles before T2, she continued to ride her own race, losing about a minute in the last 5k of the bike. When Chelsea ran by her on Ali’i, she continued to pace within herself, and that seemed a smart strategy: She was able to re-pass Daniela after Palani, and only the faster runners Anne and Laura were able to pass her in the next ten miles. Towards the end, Lisa Norden was running slightly quicker than her (3:12 marathon vs. 3:16 marathon), but sixth place was another step forward for Fenella.

Seventh Place: Sarah Crowley

After skipping St. George, Sarah’s return to the World Championships ended in seventh place:

F7 SarahC

When looking back, Sarah will probably be as frustrated as Laura about her race day – both met in the penalty box at mile 34. Sarah started the bike in the first bigger chase group with Chelsea and Lisa. The penalty must have hit her hard – just when she usually starts to make up time she was forced to wait five minutes in the penalty tent and then continued to lose time to the front and other contenders for the top spots. With other athletes struggling even more, she had moved into 13th place in T2 but nine minutes out of a Top 10 place. It took her only 10 miles to make up that time, and Sarah probably had been able to switch her mindset: In the last 10 miles she was able to gain another three spots, moving into seventh place practically in the finish chute.

Eighth Place: Daniela Ryf

Daniela worked hard for a better finish, but she had to settle for eighth place in the end:

F8 Dani

Daniela’s swim was about as expected: She started the bike 6:43 minutes behind the lead – maybe a bit more than usual (e.g. it was 4:22 in 2017), but she was part of the second chase group which started to eat into Lucy’s lead. But while she usually rode away from most of the group before the turn in Hawi (or in the first part of the bike as in St. George), she was still four minutes behind Lucy at 60 miles and hadn’t even caught the first chase group. At 70 miles, Daniela stepped up the pace, caught the chase group by mile 80 and then the leading duo of Lucy and Fenella by mile 110, shortly before T2. Would that be a repeat of 2017? In that race Dani needed a big bike effort to catch Lucy shortly before T2 but then was still able to post the fastest marathon of the day. This year, Dani quickly lost her lead and also a podium spot. In the second half she fell back even further, losing another spot in the finish chute. She had the fastest bike leg, but with a 3:23 marathon she only finished in eighth place.

Ninth Place: Skye Moench

After a fourth place in St. George, Skye finished in ninth place:

F9 Skye

For the first five hours, Skye’s Kona race looked like a repeat of St. George: She swam in the first chase group, then rode about three minutes behind the leaders. But then strong bike riders such as Daniela or Lisa stepped up the pace, and Skye started to fall back. She started the run in ninth place, and while she was able to overtake some struggling athletes some faster runners also were able to overtake her. At the finish line, a 3:19 marathon saw her finish in ninth place.

Tenth Place: Laura Siddall

With her seventh place from St. George, Laura’s tenth place meant two World Championship Top10s in 2022:

F10 Sid

After a solid swim in the second chase group (7:21 behind the leaders), Laura hardly lost any time to the front on the bike. She moved up from 25th in T1 to 12th in T2 and started the run 11:35 behind the leaders. She then also had a solid 3:17 marathon which was good enough to move into 10th place.

DNF: Sara Svensk

For a long time, Sara Svensk was in the Top10 spots, but then had to end her race about 5k from the finish line:

Fx Sara

Sara swam in the second chase group with Daniela and Anne. She was not able to follow Daniela on her push to the front but kept up the pace in the last 25 miles and was able to ride up to Chelsea and the first chase group, starting the run in sixth place. After Palani she started to lose time to the front. At the turn in Energy Lab she was still in eighth place. By mile 20 she was in trouble, and after quickly dropping to tenth place she wasn’t able to cross the finish line.

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