Anne Haug today made it a German sweep of the top step of the Ironman World Championship podium, crossing the line in 8:40hrs to win her first Kona title after Jan Frodeno had scored victory in the men's race. Haug would pass Britain’s Lucy Charles-Barclay halfway through the run to deny Britain a first Kona crown since 2012.
The talk ahead of the women’s Ironman World Championships race was largely centred on the battle between four-time Kona champ and Swiss athlete Daniela Ryf and Britain’s Lucy Charles-Barclay. The latter had led out of the swim and for the vast majority of the bike for the past two editions of Hawaii, but Ryf had run her way to Kona glory.
The big swell on the swim saw Charles post a slightly slower time than in 2018, coming out of the 3.8km swim in 49:02mins, first female and ninth overall including the men’s field. At the halfway point of the 180km bike, Charles, 26, was leading by 5mins over Germany’s Anne Haug, 36, a formidable runner on both the ITU and Ironman circuit.
Ryf, who looked to be suffering, was back by 8mins and failing to gain time on the leading riders, with the deficit extending to 10mins by the three-quarter 135km stage.
Charles had said at the press conference on Thursday that “the fire was in her belly” after a drafting violation put paid to her chances of Ironman 70.3 World Championships at Nice in September. Lucy would arrive into T2 after 4:47:21 on the bike, chased down by the German pair of Daniela Bleymehl and Haug. Ryf was an unheard of 12:55mins in arrears. Could Charles-Barclay become the first Brit winner since Leanda Cave in 2012?
When the mercury rising, the Kona marathon run saw Haug whittle down Charles-Barclay’s lead of 7mins to 5mins by a third of the way through. Charles-Barclay had run two sub-3hr Ironman marathons in 2019 and she’d need to again in Kona to hold off Haug’s challenge. By the halfway stage of the marathon run, the Brit’s lead had been whittled down to 2mins by Haug and 4:30mins by Aussie Sarah Crowley.
Haug would finally make the pass in the Energy Lab, with Charles-Barclay having held the lead for over seven hours. The German would cross the line in 8:40hrs to take Germany's first women's Kona title; her marathon run leg was 2:51:07.
Charles-Barclay was passed by Crowley but dug in to retake second spot and hold on for her third consecutive second-placed finish in Hawaii after an 8:46hr finish. Crowley was third.
WHO IS ANNE HAUG?
Half a decade ago, Anne Haug was one of the most consistently strong athletes on the ITU circuit. The German won the Grand Final in 2012 to finish second overall in the WTS standings and followed that with two WTS wins and five podiums in 2013.
A stress fracture in her hip in both 2014 put paid to the German’s winning-WTS form, and she contemplated quitting the sport for good. But she soon become a 70.3 powerhouse due to her half-marathon run split, and recorded victories at Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote, 70.3 Dubai and 70.3 Oceanside in 2017.
The German made her full-distance debut at Ironman Frankfurt in 2018, where she finished just off the podium, before coming third at Kona 2018 after the day’s fastest women’s run split of 2:55hrs.
She’s also coached by Dan Lorang, a man who knows a thing of two about converting ITU athletes into Ironman greats (see also one Jan Frodeno).