2012 Ironman World Champ Leanda Cave has announced her retirement from triathlon.
— Leanda Cave (@leandacave) May 17, 2018
One of GB’s finest triathletes has called time on her illustrious multisporting career. Leanda Cave, now 40, started out in Bath in the 90s, taking the U23 world title in Carlsbad in 2001 before embarking on a breakthrough 2002 season. Second at the ETU Euro Champs in Hungary preceded the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, where Cave beat the fancied Australian ITU World Champions, Michellie Jones and Nicole Hackett, to take silver 19secs behind the Canadian veteran Carol Montgomery. 2002 would culminate with Cave becoming the ITU World Champion in Cancun, Mexico, edging a stellar field that included Jones again, Loretta Harrop and Cave’s future coach Siri Lindley.
An injury-disrupted 2003 followed before one of the lowest points of Cave’s storied career arrived, namely being controversially overlooked for the Athens Olympic Games in favour of an injured Jodie Swallow. Cave moved to middle-distance racing in 2006 before 2007 saw wins at Escape from Alcatraz and the ITU LD Worlds, bronze at the 70.3 Worlds and a top-10 at her maiden Ironman in Hawaii. But it would take another four years before she would attain the dizzy heights of mounting the podium in Kona, finishing third behind Chrissie Wellington and Mirinda Carfrae. Just one month later, she took her first full Ironman win at Arizona.
A decade on from her breakthrough season, Cave (now known as Superbird) produced another defining year by doing the double – the title at the 2012 Ironman 70.3 Worlds in Vegas in September came a month before victory on the lava fields of Kona, passing Caroline Steffen with three miles of the run remaining to take the crown by 62secs.
Since then she has consistently collected more podiums, including a second at the Ironman North American Championships in 2015, and two thirds at Ironman 70.3 Miami and Ironman France in 2016.