Athletics

How Lucy Charles-Barclay and Sebastien Kienle earned IRONMAN podium places

© Graeme Murray/ Red Bull Content Pool
Written by Adam Leitch and Corinna Halloran
The 2019 IRONMAN World Championship proved to be an incredible year with underdog performances, unforgettable battles and the infamous winds of Hawaii's Kailua-Kona – get the lowdown here.
For the past two years the notorious winds that ravaged the IRONMAN World Championship were dormant; this year, however, the easterlies were back with a vengeance, as was a swell like no other, which forced everyone to battle both nature and each other.
Leaving everything on the race course, Lucy Charles-Barclay made it to a third consecutive second-place finish at the IRONMAN World Championship, while Sebastien Kienle finished third in the men’s field in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
For the majority of the day, Charles-Barclay threatened to take her first IRONMAN World Championship title having been twice runner-up to Daniela Ryf in 2017 and 2018. This year, though, was entirely different. Leaving the water with a very strong lead on the rest of the pack, Charles-Barclay put even more time between herself and the others that saw her head onto the run with an eight-minute lead.
But Anne Haug’s stellar run form saw her chase down that eight-minute lead to then put the pedal to the metal and take the victory alongside her German compatriot Jan Frodeno. In the men’s race, after a frustrating past two years, Frodeno became the first German to win three IRONMAN World Championship titles with a dominant performance.
Jan Frodeno wins IMWC.
Jan Frodeno wins the 2019 IRONMAN World Championship
Anne Haug wins IRONMAN World Championship 2019.
Anne Haug celebrating her win after an incredible race
In the morning's swim, with plenty of swell to fight, Charles-Barclay led with Lauren Brandon, coming out of the water in 49:02 with the rest of the chasing group five minutes behind. Brandon was quickly dropped in transition, leaving Charles-Barclay to complete the whole bike on her own, making her the chased instead of the chaser. Although riding solo for the first half of the ride isn't new to Charles-Barclay, riding the entire 140km is. With the reigning champion suffering from nausea, she was left to ride it out with a giant target on her back.
Lucy Charles-Barclay leading ladies race.
Lucy Charles-Barclay with a target on her back
And that giant target is exactly what Anne ‘pocket rocket’ Haug saw. Although Charles-Barclay headed into the run very confident, her run was not powerful enough to hold off Haug. After starting strong and quickly, Haug managed to hold consistent form and pace to slowly but surely close the gap on Charles-Barclay. She was finally able to make the pass at mile 16 and didn’t look back as she picked up her firstIRONMAN World Championship crown in a time of 8:40:10.
Ladies after finishing.
2019 IRONMAN World Championship female winners
It was the battle for second, though, that will leave everyone talking. As Charles-Barclay went from the hunted to the hunter out by the Energy Lab, it was evident that she was suffering. Australian Sarah Crowley was able to capitalise on this dejection and passed the Brit. But Charles-Barclay wasn’t going to let that be her race. So, with only 1km left, she mustered up everything she had left in the tank and went full throttle. With the finish line in earshot, Charles-Barclay overtook Crowley in the final stages to reclaim second.
Sarah Crowley celebrates after IMWC.
Sarah Crowley grabs third at IRONMAN World Championship
Charles-Barclaysaid: “I really had to gut it out at the end. I really wanted to get back to second, so I just had to dig deep. I am so proud, because from 1km into the run my legs were cramping, so I’m just really proud.”
Daniela Ryf, the pre-race favourite seeking an incredible fifth consecutive IRONMAN World Championship crown, struggled throughout the race but refused to quit. Ryf finished 13th, while Camilla Pedersen had to abandon her race during the run.
“Kona never disappoints,” said Ryf. “It was a very tough day for me after feeling flat and nauseous due to a stomach bug, which I caught a few days ago. Giving up was never going to be an option, so I dug deep and gave it everything I had. The pain was real, but the support on the race course was even more real.”
In the men’s race, Jan Frodeno was the dominant force as he set a new course record. He came out of the just water seconds behind Josh Amberger and formed an effective bike group alongside Olympian Alistair Brownlee and IRONMAN veteran Tim O’Donnell. Despite an incredible swim, defending champion Patrick Lange dropped out of the race early on after suffering from a fever.
Jan taking his lead on the ride.
Jan Frodeno alone on the ride
Sebastian Kienle running home.
Sebastian Kienle running in the heat of the day
Throughout the men’s race, we saw a very tight pack and constant shake-up between the lead group, that is until about mile 100, when Frodeno made a decisive break and didn't looked back. For the past two years, Frodeno has endured injury after injury, but this year he was back with a vengeance. Following his breakout at mile 100, Frodeno was able to put a healthy lead between himself and the others.
Tim O'Donnell gets second at IMWC.
Tim O'Donnell celebrates second at the IRONMAN World Championship
Once Jan became the hunted, American Tim O’Donnell set off to secure second (as well as an under eight-hour race), while 2014 IRONMAN World Champion Sebastian Kienle battled his way to a superb third place, making up for last year’s disappointment which saw him forced out of the race during the run with an Achilles injury.
Braden Currie produced another consistent display to end the day in seventh with David Pleše and Matt Trautman 26th and 28th, respectively, while Patrik Nilsson had to pull out during the run. This was Trautman’s first IRONMAN World Championship since being hit by a car during training in 2017.
Matt Trautman finishes 2019 IRONMAN World Championship.
Matt Trautman's first IRONMAN World Championship since his 2017 accident