Liz Lyles won in commanding fashion at Ironman Chattanooga, not just winning the Women’s race but posting the fastest time overall on the day out of all the athletes.

Text By Laura Siddall | Lead Image Getty Images


Always near the front of the race, Lyles bike / run combo put her well clear of the rest of the women, and showed impressive form to take the win in just over nine hours.

Kim Schwabenbauer ran herself onto the podium as she did in Mont Tremblant last month, with Jessica Donavan finishing in third.

Kelly Williamson led out the water, with a two-minute lead over a chasing pack of Lyles, Skye Moench and Leslie Miller. Schwabenbauer was three-and-a-half minutes back in sixth while Donavan sat in ninth, eight minutes off the lead.

Lyles bike split of 5:04:35, (only matched by Donavan 5:04:50), meant she gave herself control of the race, with over five-and-a-half minutes lead as she started the run.

Donavan’s bike split had moved her through the field and into second. Sky Moench was third onto the run just under seven minutes behind Donavan, with Schwabenbauer a further (almost) two minutes behind.

Lyles stretched ahead on the run, (with only Kelly Williamson running a little quicker), to take the Ironman Chattanooga Championship, to add to her already long and impressive resume and having won Ironman 70.3 Santa Cruz, just a couple of weeks ago.

Schwabenbauer was able to move up during the run, overtaking Moench and Donavan to finish second, and another podium as she returns to racing*. Donavan held off the fast running Williamson, to take third.

Donavan mentioned on social media – “3 years, 4 surgeries, accident, concussion, turned 40, then 41…then I got the crazy idea to try to “come back”, emotional day out there” and an impressive return after a tumultuous few years!

Not wanting to take the limelight from Liz Lyles and her win, but post race we discovered that perhaps for the second place woman, Kim Schwabenbauer, it was the end of her professional triathlon career. We dug a little deeper to find out more.

Schwabenbauer turned Professional in 2012, having started the sport and been the overall amateur champion at Ironman Cozumel (2010) and Ironman Lake Placid (2011). As a Professional she’s been a regular on the podium in the long distance events.

3rd – Ironman Texas (2013)

5th – Ironman Mont Tremblant (2013)

3rd – Ironman Melbourne (2014)

2nd – Ironman Lake Placid (2014)

3rd – Ironman Chattanooga (2015)

3rd – Ironman Taiwan (2015)

3rd – Ironman Coeur d’Alene (2015)

She then took time out to have her daughter Emma. Speaking to Kim, she decided to return to racing last December, but in May was offered a full-time tenure track assistance professor, which she took. Knowing that her best chance to do a few races would be this autumn before starting the job full time, she came back to racing. She certainly proved she could and had returned to the right level with the following results;

2nd – Ironman Mont Tremblant

2nd – Ironman Chattanooga

However, Kim, as she posted on Facebook, stated…”Always the bridesmaid” and whilst she’s had great results, has never managed to take the tape and the win she wanted. Over the last few months though, Kim realised that trying to balance training, teaching, a PhD, coaching and of course being a wife and mum has been incredible hard and a big ask on the family.

“Since school started I’ve been barely hanging on with training. It just feels like it’s finally time to close the book on it and enjoy more Mom time and (academic) career time.”

If this is indeed the case, we wish Kim and her family the very best for the future years. I’m sure with her background and (academic) career she’ll still be involved in sport and at races as a coach and supporter.

Ironman Chattanooga 2017 Results

Name Country Rank Swim Bike Run Finish
Lyles, Liz USA 1 0:45:13 5:04:35 3:10:33 9:05:33
Schwabenbauer, Kim USA 2 0:48:51 5:15:01 3:19:11 9:28:46
Donavan, Jessica USA 3 0:50:33 5:04:50 3:30:09 9:31:49
Williamson, Kelly USA 4 0:42:15 5:37:00 3:09:06 9:33:41
Fillnow, Kelly USA 5 0:49:47 5:19:23 3:25:03 9:40:05
Whiting, Fawn CAN 6 0:49:54 5:23:28 3:23:48 9:42:44
Miller, Leslie USA 7 0:45:14 5:28:05 3:29:01 9:47:57
Paulson, Ashley USA 8 0:55:32 5:32:34 3:16:30 9:49:51
Godesky, Alyssa USA 9 0:46:40 5:32:07 3:41:17 10:05:57
Moench, Skye USA 10 0:45:13 5:16:50 4:43:11 10:51:11






About The Author

Laura Siddall

Pro Triathlete, Ironman Champion and multiple half distance Champ.
4x Amateur World Champ.
Witsup contributor, Sid Talks (Fitter Radio) podcaster, Global Traveller, British, Aussie, Kiwi.
Ambassador for MORE Than Sport, SisuGirls and Women’s Sport Trust. Engineer, Consultant, ex-Military, Public Speaker.

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