World-beating triathlete Chrissie Wellington continued her dominance of the sport with an 8:18:13 win at Challenge Roth today, smashing her own world best time of 8:19:13 that she set here last year. In doing so she finished a remarkable fifth overall, with only four men taking the better of her on the day.
“I just did something that I never thought was possible, and that means so much to me, and hopefully to women in sport,” an elated Wellington said at the finish. ”Those close to me will tell you that I didn't think that the world record could be broken, especially with the bike course being an extra 2km longer.”
The ever-smiling Wellington was dominant from start to finish, exiting the water in 49:49, just clear of chasing Kiwi Belinda Harper and more than 90 seconds ahead of prime challenger Rebekah Keat of Australia. She quickly accelerated onto the bike course under clear blue skies, reaching the cheering thousands lining the famous Solarer Berg climb at 70km with a gap of 3:45 over a chase group that included Australians Keat and former Roth champion Belinda Granger.
By the time she reached the Solarer Berg for the second time, her gap over the rest of the women had ballooned to nearly eight minutes over the duelling Granger and Keat. And when she traded her bike for running shoes she had more than 12 minutes in hand over the chasers. Behind her, Keat had pulled away from Granger in the last stages of the bike to start the run in second.
On the marathon Wellington carried on at a similarly scorching run pace, ticking the kilometres over at sub-4:00 pace for much of the way to produce a 2:44 marathon, a new course record.
“I knew I was running faster than last year,” she said. “The aim was not to fade as much as I did last year and I managed to achieve that aim. I didn't actually know what the time was until I rounded the corner so I really didn't have a clue. I knew that it was close but my watch had fogged up so I couldn't see too much.”
Keat, meantime, was battling alone for second until German long-course newcomer Julia Wagner, racing to a 3:07 marathon, overtook her in the waning kilometres of the run to seal second. Wagner, second at the half-distance Challenge Kraichgau earlier this year, also brought home the German national championship with her finish.
For more, visit www.challenge-roth.com.
10 July 2011; Roth, Germany
1) Chrissie Wellington (GBR) 8:18:13 (49:49/4:40:39/2:44:35)
2) Julia Wagner (GER) 8:56:23 (51:28/4:54:27/3:07:25)
3) Rebekah Keat (AUS) 8:59:22 (51:27/4:51:05/3:13:51)
4) Belinda Harper (NZL) 9:06:47 (50:00/4:55:48/3:17:43)
5) Belinda Granger (AUS) 9:12:56 (51:34/4:50:38/3:26:57)