October 10, 2011 on 12:01 pm | In Announcements, Athlete Profile, Sponsorship | 2 Comments
By Jaclyn A
There are a few words that come to mind when I think about Leanda Cave’s 3rd place Ironman World Championship performance: consistent, inspiring, and relentlessly strong. Leanda turned professional in 2000 and has raced on the big island 5 times now. Her highest ranking was 8th place in 2007 during her Kona debut. Since then she has humbly surrendered to the island gods, suffering from GI issues, DNFs and island fatigue.
Leanda is always a consistent swimmer/biker, so it was no surprise when she exited the water amongst the top women with a 53:54 swim. On the bike she spent the day working and pacing with fellow Brit Rachel Joyce and gained a spot as she entered transition in 3rd place. Heading onto the run course Leanda was looking strong, and her run form was noticeably different from years past, she was flying! Shortly into the run she passed Julie Dibens, who led the race for the swim and bike portions, but unfortunately Dibens DNF’d due to a foot injury that has been bothering her since June. Now in second place with World Champions Chrissie Wellington and Mirinda Carfrae hot on her heels, she was still looking and running strong. As Wellington made her stoic pass, Leanda placed a friendly hand on her back congratulating Wellington on her good form. Unlike most passed by Wellington, she did not crumble and quickly fall behind; instead, Leanda stayed strong running on her heels, letting Wellington know that she was not going to win as easily as she had in the past. She was later passed by marathon course record holder Carfrae, but made a pass of her own, running by last year’s second place finisher, Caroline Steffen. This secured her 3rd place finish before heading down Ali’i Drive with a 14 minute marathon PR.
In the past few years, we have not seen much of a race amongst the women for first place as Wellington and Carfrae have run away with the title, usually with no competition in sight. This year we saw the greats suffer, struggle, and fight as the top 5 women were only separated by a mere 12 minutes. What an incredible day of racing by the women of the Ironman World Championship!
A huge congratulation to our girl, Leanda Cave! We have enjoyed working with you over the years and are beyond proud of you for your inspiring race, determination, and example of sportsmanship. Now hurry back to Tucson so we can celebrate properly!