There were close races for both the men and the women at Ironman Mallorca today with two first-time Ironman champions crowned along the way. Ruth Astle (GBR), the top age group competitor at the 2019 Ironman World Championship, turned pro the following year and took her first professional Ironman title in a close race – getting to the line just over a minute up on France’s Justine Mathieux, with Germany’s Kristin Liepold taking the sprint for third over Sweden’s Lisa Norden.
As she did last week at Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote, Great Britain’s Fenella Langridge led the way out of the water, but this time had some company in the form of 2012 Olympic silver medalist Norden. Those two were 2:33 up on Germany’s Anna-Lena Best-Pohl and about 5:30 up on a big group that included Astle.
Langridge managed to hold Norden off through the first part of the bike, but eventually the strong-riding Swede (she’s won numerous Swedish cycling championships over the last few years) would eventually pull clear. Norden led into T2, but it was actually Astle, another fast cyclist, who would post the day’s fastest bike split. The Brit was second into T2, 4:22 behind Norden.
Norden didn’t lose much time to Astle through the first 10 km, but then the Swede started to steadily lose time. Halfway through the run the lead was down to about a minute as Astle steadily gained ground, with Mathieux and Liepold suddenly running themselves into podium contention, too – Mathieux had started the run 9:30 behind Norden, while Liepold had hit the run course 14:40 behind. With just under 20 km to go they had reduced those deficits to 2:27 and 5:48.
Norden hung tough, though, managing to hold off Astle until just before 26 km. Once the Brit got to the front, though, she held up a fast enough tempo to get to the line for her first Ironman win in 8:59:15 after a 3:07:25 marathon. Mathieux would hit the line just 1:23 later (9:00:39) thanks to her 3:03:13 marathon split. The real fireworks came in the finishing chute, though, as Liepold (9:02:53/ 3:00:05) managed to catch Norden (9:02:57/ 3:15:02) just before the line to round out the podium.
You can find full results from today’s race here.