Lucy Charles-Barclay: Second place in Kona feels like a ‘massive win’

The British triathlete's fourth successive runners-up spot on the Big Island is the most treasured yet. Here's what she had to say

Lucy Charles-Barclay celebrates finishing second at Kona 2022

It might have been a fourth successive runners-up position in Hawaii, but it was anything but a disappointing result for Britain’s Lucy Charles-Barclay.

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The reigning Ironman 70.3 world champion who finished second on the Big Island in 2017, 2018 and 2019, had only returned to racing in August after a hip fracture had kept her out of action since the start of the year.

But despite being overtaken by eventual winner Chelsea Sodaro on the marathon, the 29-year-old was proud of the way she dug in to keep 2019 winner Anne Haug at bay and hold on for second (read our full Kona 2022 race report here).

Digging deep

Lucy Charles-Barclay competes on the bike during the 2022 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii (Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for Ironman)

“This second place means the most out of all of them. It’s testament to my resilience this year, never giving up on myself and knowing I could come back.

“I was just digging deep, as hard as I could, and managed to hang on and find something at the end to get that second place.

“I was just doing it for my team. They put so much work into it and believed that I could come back from the injury at the start of the year.

“People will say it’s another second but to me it’s a massive win after coming back from the injury that I had.”

Charles-Barclay led out of the water, and was in touch with reigning champion Daniela Ryf coming off the bike. After a 3:02:49 marathon she eventually crossed the line in 8:41:37, but the numbers only tell part of the story.

“I’m so proud”

Chelsea Sodaro hugs Lucy Charles-Barclay after the duo finish first and second in the 2022 Ironman World Championship (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman)

With eight miles to go on the marathon, Haug had pulled within 2mins of the Brit. But Charles-Barclay refused to be denied, and with similar resolve to what she showed in fighting back against Sarah Crowley in 2019, staved off the German’s challenge.

“People said Anne was closing and I was trying to not think about it, but just believed in the team that believed in me and kept pushing. Annie is an astounding athlete so to hold her off on the run, I’m so proud of that.”

Haug later said it was “mind torturing” to see Lucy’s advantage hold at 30secs for so long, 

Charles-Barclay also paid tribute to the champion, Sodaro, who became the second mother to win the epic contest after Switzerland’s Natascha Badmann.

“Chelsea is just phenomenal,” she added. “Her daughter Skye must be incredibly proud and those mum powers are definitely working.”

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Top image credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for Ironman