Lucy successfully defends her Championship title once again for the ‘Three-peat’ – her third win in three years at the 3rd Challenge Championship held at the X-Bionic Sphere in Sâmorin, Slovakia… going even faster than her previous best and once again setting a new course record of 04:00:24.
“First and foremost I was here to try and get the win again and to go under the 4hrs. I’m over the moon with how it went today to get the third title, but year on year the female field is getting stronger and stronger so it’s making it harder to come back and win but it was a great day and I’m really happy. “
The 9am start made for a leisurely start to proceedings, although it was touch and go whether the 1.9km swim would be shortened due to the cold temperature after some bad weather in the days prior … Race morning it was announced that the full swim would take place after officials recorded a water temp of 14,4ºC making it a mandatory wetsuit swim.
With strong currents on the first leg of the swim it was going to be tough, but within a minute Lucy was already putting distance into the rest of the field, leading the swim out with a 6 minute gap on second female Radka Kahlefeldt.
“Even though it was really cold in the Danube River, I felt really good in the swim, happy I put a nice gap in between myself and second place female… Going out on the bike, I felt controlled but I knew the gap was closing a little bit. I kept myself in my own little zone as I knew I wanted to save something in the legs to have a good run … the run was where I felt really good today. »
On the run, Lucy looked the same on the third lap as the second and first lap… Her stride looked very consistent, and strong from the 1km to the last km.
“It seemed to go really quick… the run course is a 3 loop 7km, so it’s breaks it up nicely, the 1st loop flew by, then I was on the 2nd and then I knew I only had one more lap so that helped me mentally, I felt in my stride and in control. I’ve had a good winter of running which is starting to show and I’m enjoying it most at the moment.
I’m hoping it goes from strength to strength, my swim is good but maybe my run can be a weapon as well“
Since it’s inception, the race has been held at the magnificent X-Bionic Sphere in Sâmorin and next to the Danube River …
“Staying here at X-Bionic Sphere is so straight forward, arriving 4 days earlier it allowed me to prepare really well. You have all the facilities you need, so for an athlete it’s perfect race prep. There’s the most amazing gym facilities, outdoor 50m & indoor 25m pools, spa, massage & wellness centre and a really good buffet restaurant… not to mention the size of the rooms.
It’s a really great race, the swim every year has been different, last year was really warm so it was non-wetsuit, then this year was really cold so I guess you never know what you’re gonna get… But the bike & run you know what you’re going to get, it’s a fast flat bike course so you can put a lot of time down on that. And then the run, if you want to test yourself, then you’ve got all different terrain – there’s a steep hill in there too – it’s a quite a challenging run course but it’s also within the X-Bionic complex where the crowds lift you to a really great performance, so i would say if you wanted to come to a race and do a really fast time over the half distance, then this is the one to do it at.”
Lucy’s Kona Qualification was validated at Ironman South Africa in April with Challenge Roth (July 7th) the next big target this year.
“Coming second at Challenge Roth last year – only losing out by 9 seconds to Germany’s Daniela Bleymehl – is going to be redemption for me, I want to go there and get the win.
Even though this race here at Sâmorin is important to me, my training has been tailored towards Roth. It will be back to work on Monday to keep continuing to build towards that, where I can hopefully put down a solid race there as well.”
Challenge Champs Race Stats: