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History Made at Women's-Only Ironman World Championships

Incredible action from Kona, improve your buoyancy, and triathlon with a 9-5

Good morning everyone,

Well, there’s definitely some Kona hangover going on here at Tempo HQ. I was glued to the livestream for most of the day Saturday, and it was incredibly inspiring seeing Lucy Charles-Barclay take the wire-to-wire win. Maybe there’s an Ironman in my future?

In today’s edition:

  • 🏆 A breakdown of the historic women’s-only Ironman World Championship

  • 👩‍💼 How do you make triathlon work with a 9-5 job?

  • 🏊 Having trouble with your swimming buoyancy? We’ve got a video for you.

Thanks for being here.

-Matt Sharpe, newsletter editor

Headshot of Matt Sharpe

Have a triathlete in your life who can't stop swimming, biking, or running? Fire this off to them. Forwarded from a friend? Sign-up for free. 


Historic Day for Women at Ironman World Championships


This past weekend the Ironman World Championships returned to its iconic home in Kona - but this edition was unlike any other as history was made with the first women’s-only world championship. 

What happened: Great Britain’s Lucy Charles-Barclay entered the weekend with four second-place finishes to her name and incredibly hungry to reach the top of the podium.

  • But last year’s winner, Chelsea Sodaro (USA), and previous winners Anne Haug (GER) and Daniela Ryf (SUI) would be incredibly difficult to defeat.

  • And with the addition of Taylor Knibb (USA), a game-changing athlete with two 70.3 World Championship titles and an Olympic medal to her name, it was clearly the most competitive women’s field ever assembled in Kona.

From the gun, Charles-Barclay took the race into her own hands as she exited the water solo 90 seconds ahead of the next group.

  • As the bike progressed, it was clear she was having an incredible day - at the turnaround at Hawi, she was over two minutes clear of Knibb, and eight minutes (🤯🤯🤯!!!) ahead of Rfy, Haug, and Laura Phillip (GER).

  • Sodaro, last year’s champion, struggled through the bike and would start the run 22 minutes behind Charles-Barclay.

As she started the run, Charles-Barclay showed no sign of the previous five-plus hours of effort as she exited T2 with a strong rhythm and a simple (lol) marathon ahead of her and the title. As the miles ticked away, the stronger runners simply weren’t making meaningful time on her.

  • Through the famous energy lab section, there was some carnage as Kona rookie Knibb began to falter. Incredibly, she spent most of her first-ever Ironman in second place, but would eventually be passed by fleet-footed Germans Haug and Phillip.

It took an incredible swim, a Kona bike course record, and a personal best on the marathon for Lucy Charles-Barclay to take her first win at the Ironman World Championships in 8:24:31, which is also the new course record.

  • Anne Haug (GER) finished in second, and Laura Phillip (GER) rounded out the podium in third.

Record numbers: Over 2,000 athletes finished the race, making it the largest women’s Ironman World Championship to date.

  • Maelle Derauz (FRA) won the F25-29 age group and the overall age-group World Championship crown.

Tempo’s take: Sadly, we weren’t on site (hopefully next year 💪), so we had our boots on the ground give us their perspective.

Ironman-winning coach Lance Watson said he personally enjoyed watching the women stake their claim to the pier on race morning with their own World Championship.

  • The energy on Ali’i drive was dynamic, and many age group women who were competing would ask him the pro results as they completed their races. The camaraderie among the athletes was clearly evident.

Lauren Vallee, who competed in the 35-39 age group, commented on this year’s vibe of Kona saying, in the simplest terms it felt ‘easy.’

  • But there was nothing easy about the competition - according to Vallee it was one of the most brutal battles she’s experienced in a race, and she was “psyched to come out the swim without a black eye.” 😮

Read more of Vallee’s enlightening Kona insights here.

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🏊 Nail your swim timing: Swim technique improvement can be an exercise in frustration as there are so many variables to consider. But this video from Dan Daly provides an incredible visual on how to time your kick with your stroke - which is crucial to staying buoyant! [Dan Daly]

🤔 Questionable benefits: Proponents of L-carnitine say it can help athletes quickly burn fat and increase muscle mass. But are the claims true? And what actually is L-carnitine? This article helps cut through the fat and get to the facts on this vitamin-like substance. [My Sports Science]

🏃 Endurance addiction: Racing a 2,000 km-long extreme triathlon with a torn quad and bouts of sleep running? For Luke Tyburski, it was all part of his unhealthy addiction to endurance sports. [220 Triathlon]

👩‍💼 What a way to make a living: Tumble out of bed, stumble to the kitchen/pour myself a cup of ambition. Dolly sang it, and triathletes live it. But how do you train for such a demanding sport, all while working 9 to 5? This Reddit thread has some great answers. [Reddit]


Ummmm…somebody’s gotta fix this finish line!


🌴 Daniela’s last dance: According to five-time Ironman World Champion Daniela Ryf, her race last weekend in Kona was her last. [220 Triathlon]

🙏 Tragic loss: Our thoughts are with the family and friends of an Israeli triathlete who was killed last week in the Hamas terrorist attacks. [Marca]

🇪🇬 Breaking barriers: Yasmin Halawa made history this weekend as the first Egyptian woman to complete the Ironman World Championships. [The National News]

👏 Impressive accomplishment: Kitty Holmes, from Wargrave, UK has cerebral palsy. But that didn’t stop her from swimming, cycling, walking, and raising over £3000 for charity. [Henley Standard]

👨‍⚖️ Throw the book: A Madison man who allegedly drove through the barriers at Ironman Wisconsin and endangered athletes appeared in court and was charged with a felony crime. [KTVZ]


Here’s what Tempo readers had to say about Ironman’s new pro race series.

Reader: I think it’s brilliant. For middle-distance athletes who aren’t on the PTO roster it will increase their earning potential while allowing them to earn PTO points. For long-distance athletes, it allows them to race, earn money, and not have to try and compete at an unfavorable distance. I can’t see a negative. I only hope that the coverage improves for us fans.

Reader: It’s the dagger at the PTO and yet another money grab on their part.

Reader: Yes, reallocates a portion of the profits to the professional athletes. I see it as a step forward to becoming a big-time sport. The points race will generate a lot of buzz and coverage.

Reader: Rising tides lifts all boats.- The Ironman Pro Series is good for the sport as a whole. It gives pros more opportunities to race, and make a decent living, and it also gives AGers more exciting races to participate in and see their triathlon idols. Plus it adds more televised races to the calendar, bringing more exposure to the sport, more access, etc... I think it's a win -win for the sport as a whole.

Reader: All Pros are not all number one.. it’s their job so it’s like expanding their job market! Thumbs up!


Challenge Mallorca

Youri Kuelin (NED) bested Alistair Brownlee for the second week in a row. Meanwhile Immogen Simmonds (SUI) was on a tear winning her second race in a row.

World Triathlon World Cup Chengdu

Bianca Seregni (ITA) crushed the swim and comfortably took the win in the women’s race. While Tim Hellwig (GER), who finished second in September’s Grand Final made his move in the final kilometer to dust the rest of the field.

World Triathlon World Cup Brasilia

Alice Betto (ITA) took her first World Triathlon win since becoming a mother. While Miguel Hidalgo (BRA) played the hometown hero taking the win in front of the Brazilian crowd.


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