Holly Lawrence, the new Ironman 70.3 World Champion

It was a stunning performance from Brit Holly Lawrence to claim the 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, in a time of 4:09:12.

Lawrence has been dining at the top table in 2016 already, after wins at Escape from Alcatraz and Ironman 70.3 Vineman, but this victory confirmed her as the occupant of the top seat and the very best in the world right now at the middle distance.


Lawrence was up against a very high quality field, and against perhaps more fancied opposition, at least amongst the triathlon media and followers of the sport, with the seemingly invincible Daniella Ryf looking for a 3rd world title and Melissa Hauschildt in the race also. Leanda Cave was another former world champion lining up for the 2016 event.

Lawrence showed them all however, with a nearly gun to tape effort, to take the biggest win of her career and launch herself onto a stellar path amongst the stars of the sport. For context, previous British champions include Jodie Swallow, Leanda Cave and Julie Dibens. Lawrence now occupies this illustrious company.

Once again, via the performances of Holly Lawrence, we are reminded that British Triathlon is in a very, very special place.

Meanwhile, Tim Don would finish in 8th place for Best of British male in a race that was won by Australian Tim Reed.

Pos Women
1st Holly Lawrence (GBR) 4:09:12
2nd Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) 4:11:09
3rd Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:13:36
4th Daniela Ryf (SUI) 4:14:09
5th Caroline Steffen (AUS) 4:17:16
6th Annabel Luxford (AUS) 4:17:26
7th Laura Philipp (GER) 4:17:40
8th Alica Kaye (USA) 4:17:53
9th Radka Vodickova (CZE) 4:18:17
10th Magali Tisseyre (CAN) 4:18:19
12th Laura Siddall (GBR) 4:21:43
18th Leanda Cave (GBR) 4:26:53
25th Nikki Bartlett (GBR) 4:35:00
29th Caroline Livesey (GBR) 4:58:03

 

1. Tim Reed (AUS) 3:44:13
2. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 3:44:15
3. Ruedi Wild (SUI) 3:44:39
4. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:45:51
5. Sam Appleton (AUS) 3:46:01
6. Nicholas Kastelein (AUS) 3:46:20
7. Tim Don (GBR) 3:46:31
8. Maurice Clavel (GER) 3:46:46
9. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 3:47:13
10. Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:47:27

Editors memory – my first meeting with Holly Lawrence

One of my first professional jobs in the sport of triathlon was working on the Vachery Triathlon Festival 2013, a weekend of racing in Surrey highlighted by a middle distance race that offered a £10k prize purse. I was hired to help with creating editorial content for the event and to build the pro race for the event organiser. It was also my first commentary gig after the pre-booked commentator pulled out sick the night before! As a triathlon fan it was an amazing opportunity and being a fan of long course racing, I set about inviting all the up and coming long course racers as I saw it to what I thought of as the best new event in the UK.

One of those racers who answered my emails was Holly Lawrence, whom I had interviewed for Beyond Going Long after her win at the Elche Middle Distance triathlon in Spain earlier in the year. It was a local race for Holly and she signed up!

To be honest, I thought the race was between three ladies and with respect to Holly, I really thought that it would be Lucy Gossage’ to lose. If not Lucy, then perhaps the better known Susie Cheetham or Amy Forshaw would win.

Holly proved me wrong and her performance that day really sticks in my mind, and with the benefit of hindsight, I now know what I saw was a world class act in the making.

Holly was the constant threat to Lucy all day. She was close in the swim and the bike, and then the pair went out together on the tough, mixed terrain run. Just behind was uber runner Susie Cheetham. Hey, I thought, good job Holly, but this was going to be a duel between the two runners. I even announced it during my commentators duties which was pretty embarrassing!

At the half way point Holly was in the lead and I was amazed at her strength and thrilled at the race unfolding. We wouldn’t get any splits or news out on the course until another 10km later when the lead athletes would re-enter the event field and we would get a glimpse of the last 1km. Well, Lucy did catch but it was so, so close. Holly would hang in there and claim 2nd with just an 8 second gap.

It was a class race and a great result, in less pressured circumstances perhaps than the 70.3 or 5150 circuit that Lawrence was racing in, but nonetheless that field was a world class race.

I look back on the Vachery Triathlon Festival with fond memories. The event folded for 2014 after the council withdrew support after pressure from locals and that was a real shame. However, when I think of the top names that contended and what they have gone on to achieve it was amazing:

Lucy Gossage (multiple Ironman champion), Holly Lawrence (Ironman 70.3 World Champion), Susie Hignett (world class 70.3 racer), Joe Skipper (UK’s fastest Ironman), Amy Forshaw (International Ironman athlete), Charles Pennington (AG World Champion), Louise Fox (Silver European Off-road champion), Claire Cunningham (Paralympian) – as well as some class veterans including Sam Gardner, Richard Stannard, Mark Livesey and Craig Twigg, and some young guns still getting it done, such as Harry Springall and Rhys Davey.

The event and the people I met changed my career path and my life. I’m proud of the role we played in helping some of these athletes develop, earn a domestic payday and get some local exposure. I’m proud to have a small footnote in the story of a world champion.

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