It was mixed fortunes for three of the British triathletes racing in Kona as Laura Siddall and Susie Cheetham battled hard to finish 10th and 11th, with Ruth Astle ruing a miserable day but still rallying to place 14th and in the prize money.
As tends to be the case with the British women – particularly after they’ve left it all on the course in one of the most exacting arenas in world sport – there was no messing about in their post-race appraisals.
Siddall said: “I’m pretty happy with that top 10 and a bit overwhelmed at the moment.
“I’m super stoked with my swim. I’m going to give credit to Penny Slater. I found her feet on the way out and she pulled me all the way back. She was amazing and I apologise Penny for any toe tapping!
“I stuck to my numbers on the bike and was on my own all day. The only person who came past me was Laura Philipp and I wasn’t sticking with her at that point.
“The run I had to take super steady. It had been such a long day and I wanted to get to energy lab still feeling strong.
“There was nothing special about the run. I felt good going into and out of the energy lab, but I got to about 7km to go and felt as if the world was ending.”
Siddall was also positive about the dedicated woman-only pro race, with the pro men set to line up on Saturday.
“It’s awesome. Just seeing everyone at bike racking yesterday and then all the women out on course. And we had a clean, fair race.”
Cheetham said: “I’ve had a rough, rough, rough 18 months. I’ve been so close to quitting because I had so many illnesses and injuries.
“This is the first time I’ve managed to put eight weeks of training together and that shows in an Ironman.
“I went into Des Moines with four weeks of training and got my [Kona] slot but knew I wasn’t going to be strong.
“But this ticks the box for a solid performance and makes me realise that I am still one of the best in the world.
“I said before that I’d be really happy with a top 10 and satisfied with a top 15, so I think I’m a bit more than satisfied.
“To be honest, I was really conservative. My game plan was to rely on people blowing up, so I paced the bike really conservatively.
“Kona is Kona. I think I just slowed a little bit less than everyone else.”
Astle said: “I felt s*** the whole way. A s*** swim and s*** on the bike, but thought I’d keep going in case I found some magic on the marathon.
“Out of the swim I thought I could maybe salvage this, but the bike legs never appeared.
“Of all the places to have a shocker, Kona is the one where most people end up doing it. I don’t feel too bad for that and to be honest I’m just happy I finished.
“I don’t have a reason, I felt really good coming in so I need to go back and have another look. But I think I’m done for this year, I need to learn how to swim.”
Top image credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman