Lester tops the field in Couer d’Alene heat-fest

Carrie Lester on her way to the 2019 Ironman Mont-Tremblant title. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

Chalk up another full-distance win for Australian Carrie Lester, who managed to overcome a tough field and brutal heat to take her eighth Ironman title and 10th full-distance win, while also setting a new course record at Ironman Coeur d’Alene.

There were no surprises after the swim as super-swimmer Lauren Brandon (USA) led the women out of the water, followed just a couple of seconds later by countrywoman Haley Chura. Great Britain’s Fenella Langridge was three minutes down, with Canada’s Rach McBride fourth out of the water in 5:38, followed five-seconds later by Australian Carrie Lester. Pre-race favourite Heather Jackson (USA) was 10:24 down, while another podium contender Linsey Corbin (USA) hitting T1 almost 13 minutes behind.

Out on the bike course Brandon would lead the way through 30 km, but Langridge, who was racing in her first full-distance race, powered her way to the front of the race and was 97 seconds up through 60 km. By the half way point of the ride it was Carrie Lester who was making the biggest move in the race, moving to second place and hitting T2 2:24 behind Langridge. After biking her way into third, Jackson would spend over 10 minutes on the side of the road dealing with a mechanical issue, and would eventually pull out.

Running her first marathon, Langridge hung tough through the first half of the run, but by then Lester had clawed her way to second, just seven seconds behind. Lester would eventually pull clear and hang on through the 39-degree C temperatures to take the day in 8:54:51, handily breaking Heather Wurtele’s course record (9:16:02).

Langridge would finish off her impressive full-distance debut in second, breaking the nine-hour barrier with her 8:59:50 and earning herself a qualifying slot for Kona, while Corbin ran her way to the final spot on the podium, also breaking the old course record with her 9:13:21 finish.

“The thought was just to not stop moving,” Lester said after her impressive finish. “I just tried to be patient and let the race come back to me. I was glad that Fenella was that far behind because if she was breathing down my neck I wouldn’t have been able hold her off.”