Dutch top athlete Els Visser has just took a wonderful victory at the first edition of Challenge Canberra: her already splendid season gets extra shine after she just beat – in a direct duel – among others Fenella Langridge. The two women went side by side until the last meters but in the end Visser proved to be the strongest.
After the swim, the task of winning seemed quite difficult for Els Visser, because while Fenella Langridge, Radka Kahlefeldt and Chloe Hartnett were the first to come out of the water after 24:09 minutes, it took more than three minutes before Visser, too, was allowed to go to her bike. Visser was sixth at that point, as Fiona Gallagher and Penny Slater were also a few seconds ahead of the Dutchwoman.
On the bike, however, Visser began to show her true level and rode slowly at first, but eventually faster and faster to the front. She managed to position herself in a second place and – at least as impressively – make up almost three minutes on Langridge. When Langridge hung her bike back in first position in T2, Visser was already following at just 26 seconds. The gap to the women behind was already 4:30 minutes at that point.
What followed was a cat-and-mouse game of sorts, with Visser beginning to chase Langridge during the half marathon. Second by second, the Dutchwoman chipped away at her deficit, finally actually hooking up with Langridge after ten kilometers. For her part, Langridge didn’t leave it at that, accelerated a bit and still ran away from Visser by a few seconds again, but Visser too smelled victory and fought her way back to the head of the race. After eighteen kilometers the two women were running side by side once again and everyone got ready for a thrilling finale.
Until the very last meters, Visser and Langridge continued to run side by side, with the Dutchwoman appearing to have slight superiority and always one step ahead of the British. In the end, therefore, Visser was able to take the victory in a time of 4:20:48. Langridge was second in 4:20:57. Kahlefeldt was third in 4:26:58.