The weekend lacked nothing in the excitement department across two half-distance events in the Middle East and Asia. In Bahrain it was an absolute nail-biter with a newcomer almost usurping two former world champions, while in Thailand it was a breakthrough win for a rookie professional.

Text By Laura Siddall and Rob Sheeley | Images By Getty Images and


Lawrence Clings On In A Bahrain Thriller

Text By Laura Siddall

(c) Getty Images

Well the head to head battle between Bahrain teammates, Daniela Ryf and Holly Lawrence certainly didn’t disappoint. Ryf was chasing the Triple Crown and Lawrence was out to set things straight after her DNF at World 70.3 Championships.

In a spectacular outcome, it was Lawrence reeling in Ryf on the run and going on to win. But the Bahrain party was nearly gate crashed, as Lawrence only clung onto the win by just 10-seconds from Anne Haug who was hauling her on the run, with a rapid 1.17 split to run herself into second.

Lawrence led out the water, just ahead of Ryf, with Haug a further minute back. A pack of Brits followed with Sarah Lewis, Rachel Hallam and Emma Pallant another minute in arrears.

(c) Getty Images

The leaders rode together at the start of the bike, before Ryf showed her dominance and the trademark strength, pulling away from Lawrence and hitting T2 with a two minute buffer. Angela Naeth was third off the bike and Haug sat in fourth, but she was five minutes down on Lawrence who in second at that point. Pallant had broken way from her fellow Brits coming in to T2 in sixth, a further 30-seconds behind Haug.

The run was where it all kicked off, as the road vanished and the finish line drew nearer. By 5km mark, Lawrence had caught Ryf, and went passed to stretch ahead. However, Lawrence had to keep the foot on full gas, with the speedy runners of Pallant and Haug coming from behind.

Pallant posted the fastest run split at the World 70.3 Championships, but it was Haug’s impressive run at Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote that should have sent warning signals out. Haug was eating away at the five-minute lead of the women in front of her. She caught Ryf and continued through to try to catch the flying Lawrence ahead.

With 5km to go, Lawrence’s lead over Haug had been cut to two minutes. At 3km to go, it was 90-seconds. With 2km to go at the 19.4km mark, just a mere 44-seconds, and by the finish carpet, Lawrence just clung on to claim the Middle East Title only 10-seconds ahead of Haug.

(c) Getty Images

For Haug, it was another impressive run, with a 1.17 split, three and a half minutes faster than the next fastest by Pallant. Haug is certainly setting the standard for women’s running in the sport.

(c) Getty Images

Ryf finished in third, holding off Pallant, but missing out on the Triple Crown, yet still a huge performance off the back of the past few months.

(c) Getty Images

Ironman Middle East Championship 2017 Results

Name Country Div Rank Swim Bike Run Finish
Lawrence, Holly GBR 1 0:24:16 2:12:23 1:23:05 4:02:34
Haug, Anne DEU 2 0:25:30 2:16:05 1:17:27 4:02:44
Ryf, Daniela CHE 3 0:24:26 2:10:06 1:28:20 4:06:14
Pallant, Emma GBR 4 0:26:23 2:15:49 1:22:00 4:07:08
Naeth, Angela CAN 5 0:28:07 2:13:12 1:25:31 4:10:42
Wutti, Eva AUT 6 0:28:05 2:21:41 1:25:11 4:18:32
Lewis, Sarah GBR 7 0:26:20 2:21:42 1:27:38 4:19:41
Schulz, Jenny DEU 8 0:28:09 2:24:34 1:24:58 4:21:35
Thoes, Svenja DEU 9 0:28:46 2:20:47 1:30:00 4:23:06
Hallam, Rachel GBR 10 0:26:21 2:21:59 1:40:01 4:32:43
Bellinga, Rahel NLD 11 0:34:14 2:27:54 1:44:18 4:50:35
Kumhofer, Simone AUT 12 0:29:49 2:22:18
Cummings, Chantal GBR 0:28:41 DNF


Simmonds Breaks Through For Debut Win In Thailand

Text By Rob Sheeley

Imogen Simmonds completed her first season as a professional in the perfect manner when she took out Ironman 70.3 Thailand on Saturday.

The Swiss rookie, who lives and trains in Phuket, stopped the clock at 4:16:49 to secure the victory on what she descr bed as her (semi) home turf.

Ireland’s Eimear Mullan continued her terrific return to racing by finishing second with Australia’s Dimity-Lee Duke in third.

It is not often that we see an athlete from Guam at the head of a race, but that is exactly what happened when Manami Iijima led the field out of the water narrowly in front of Robin Pomeroy. Simmonds was third out a further minute back.

The bike saw a huge play early from Duke. The Aussie erased a three-minute swim deficit in just 38km to be in front with Simmonds. Mullan moves to third, trailing by a minute.

Duke and Simmonds remained together at the 60km mark , opening up the gap to Mullan, which was now almost three minutes.

Simmonds made a definitive move over the next 30km, which saw her ride away from Duke to hold a lead of two-minutes into T2. Mullan remained in third, almost four minutes away from Duke.

Simmonds extended her lead out to five-minutes over Duke in the first half of the run. Mullan began to eat time into Duke and had moved to second by the 13km mark.

While Mullan produced the fastest run of the day (1:23:27), it was only enough to get her within five minutes of Simmonds who was way too good on the day. Duke battled strongly to maintain third place a little over a minute behind Mullan, she will now head to Ironman Western Australia next weekend.

It was a thoroughly deserved win for Simmonds, who has gone from strength-to-strength in 2017. She has racked up a number of podiums including a desperately close second to Mullan at Ironman 70.3 Xiamen at her last race. This victory was the icing on the cake of a quality first season and there is little doubt that we will hear plenty more of her in 2018.

Ironman 70.3 Thailand 2017 Results

Simmonds, Imogen CHE 0:26:18 2:21:53 1:24:54 4:16:49
Mullan, Eimear IRL 0:26:33 2:27:35 1:23:27 4:21:38
Duke, Dimity Lee AUS 0:28:18 2:22:01 1:28:20 4:22:54
Edwards, Parys GBR 0:30:09 2:27:10 1:27:32 4:28:52
Pomeroy, Robin USA 0:25:21 2:35:24 1:25:23 4:30:03
Iijima, Manami GUM 0:25:03 2:35:28 1:26:46 4:31:27
Jefferies, Annelise AUS 0:28:21 2:32:25 1:29:46 4:34:29
Bevilaqua Crawford, Kate AUS 0:26:28 2:34:07 1:29:45 4:34:47
Nieuwoudt, Magda ZAF 0:28:16 2:26:55 1:35:47 4:35:13
Szeto, Leanne Shiu Yan AUS 0:28:17 2:47:56 1:30:56 4:52:21
Boyer Moulin, Isabelle FRA 0:30:41 DNF

About The Author

Rob Sheeley is the Race Editor for WITSUP

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