Canberra’s Penny Slater has led home Australia’s professional female triathletes at the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona Hawai’i, crossing the finish line in 13th position.
Slater was impressive in just her second appearance on the biggest stage in the sport, improving on her 24th place finish last year by over half an hour to shoot up the leaderboard.
The 27-year-old was 27th out of the water following the 3.8km swim, getting to work early on the bike to work her way up the field. Slater had to overcome a five minute penalty for drafting midway through the 180km bike leg, eventually returning to town in 19th position.
“It’s a pretty amazing feeling, I think I had the best day I could of, apart from the drafting penalty on the bike,” said Slater.
“The sensations are really good and it’s one of those performances where you’re like I think I have it in me but you don’t know until you actually do it, it was really special to be riding and running alongside so many girls who I have looked up to for such a long time to be honest, it means I can enjoy my holiday now.
“In the swim I literally got pounded in the first kilometre but I stuck with it and actually had an amazing swim for me, when I came in to T1 I was surprised there were so many bikes still there. Then I got to work on the bike and I was riding with Skye Moench for the first 40kms but then I got a drafting penalty so I had to serve that and then I just made sure I had nutrition in the tank, put my head down and went to work.
“I knew that the backend of the bike you can make up a lot time so I tried to stay positive and go with that, I felt strong in the backend and caught up to the group in front of me.”
Slater hit the 42.2km run course in 19th position, working her way through the field to eventually cross the finish line in 13th.
“I just got to work on the run, I tried not to start too fast, I was trying to play the long game,” said Slater.
“I ran up to a group of girls, there was five of us running together for five ks which was really cool, I’ve never really been in a run battle like that and I came out on top which was nice, I just tried to hold it all together until the end, it was hot out there. I think I’m still one of the youngest in the field, it’s amazing and I’m so happy.”
The 2023 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship was a historic one, with it marking the first time there has been a women’s only race in Hawai’i, with the men racing last month in Nice, France.
Slater said that she enjoyed the support on course, with fellow athletes, their families and friends, and the local community getting behind the event.
“It’s so cool when you’re running on the Queen K and all the age groupers are coming back in and cheering for you and it’s really cool, a lot of them know your name which is awesome,” she said.
“Even on Ali’i Drive it was the same atmosphere as last year, it looked like a lot of locals had come out to cheer us on, and lots of families, it was an amazing field of professionals, it was really cool and really special to be amongst the best in the world.”
Chloe Lane was the second Australian over the line, finishing in 34th position, just ahead of Brisbane’s Sarah Crowley in 35th.
Kate Gillespie-Jones was 38th in her IRONMAN World Championship debut, with Laura Brown 39th and Sarah Thomas 42nd.
2023 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship
Professional Women’s Race – Final Results
1. Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) 8:24:31
2. Anna Haug (GER) 8:27:33
3. Laura Philipp (GER) 8:32:55
4. Taylor Knibb (USA) 8:35:56
5. Daniela Ryf (SUI) 8:40:34
6. Chelsea Sodaro (USA) 8:42:25
7. Skye Moench (USA) 8:43:34
8. Sarah True (USA) 8:47:06
9. Lisa Norden (SWE) 8:49:36
10. Jocelyn McCauley (USA) 8:50:39
13. Penny Slater (AUS) 8:57:17
34. Chloe Lane (AUS) 9:28:31
35. Sarah Crowley (AUS) 9:35:11
38. Kate Gillespie-Jones (AUS) 9:43:05
39. Laura Brown (AUS) 9:48:01
42. Sarah Thomas (AUS) 10:04:10
For more information about the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship women’s race in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i, please visit https://www.ironman.com/im-world-championship-2023.