In her gutsiest performance to date : CRC Pro Lucy Gossage takes 2nd place at Nelson Mandela Bay.
CRC/Vitus Bikes Pro Lucy Gossage put up the fight of her life to win the battle of the Brits in South Africa, with a superb 2nd at Ironman South Africa in 9hrs:33mins. The race was hard fought from the off with fellow UK Pro Jodie Swallow establishing a commanding lead early on – providing Gossage with a big challenge to chase.
The race proved to be a fantastic day for with two of the UK’s most talented female Pro’s taking on an early season major race. Swallow – the 2013 Ironman 70.3 South Africa Champion had placed 2nd in last years IM South Africa and was clearly on a mission to make it to the top spot for 2014. Attempting to win the race from the front with a swim time of 48:34 she continued her lead onto the bike leg. Having a solo ride on the bike leg CRC’s Gossage was already playing catch-up having lost over 10 mins in the swim to Swallow. In typical “Duracell Bunny” style Lucy smashed the bike leg to get back into the race – moving up through the field after 5hrs:18mins:47secs on the bike..
The run became a war of attrition between three, with Gossage, Swallow and an on form Simone Brandli giving it everything they had across the marathon distance. It was clearly going to go down to the wire!
Despite her lead Swallow was being chased down quickly and the fast running Brandli and Gossage. Losing her lead to Brandii at the 37km point Lucy Gossage overtook her in the closing meters of the race to take 2nd place in the most exciting of fashions.
We caught up with Lucy this morning –
Ironman South Africa. What a race. I’d always said I wanted a race where I found out how much I could make myself hurt on the run and I definitely got it! It was one of my toughest days physically and mentally. Nothing felt easy, not even the warm up and I had to give myself many many HTFU chats throughout the race! I swam completely solo with a couple of guys on my feet and ended up further behind the main contenders than I’d hoped to be. No worries, it’s a long day. The bike course is stunning but far tougher than I expected – a tailwind on the hills and a fierce headwind for the flat made it relentless and I have to admit that, riding solo, at times I was struggling to believe I was still in the race. So when I came into T2 and saw Simone Braendli and Michelle Westerby running out I got a ‘little’ bit overexcited and charged out like I was running a 5 km race. Stupid mistake. Patience usually wins an Ironman. So after starting like a maniac, the rest of the run was a sufferfest like never before. I started counting steps from 10km… That’s 32 km of counting steps which is a lot of steps. Simone passed me with around 7 miles to go. For 2 minutes I settled for 3rd. And then I started fighting again. Maybe I could pass Jodie. Maybe I could catch Simone again. It ain’t over until it’s over… It took a momentous effort but I eventually passed Jodie with around 2 km to go.
I was spent. Jodie was spent. We were all spent.
So it may not have been the float day I’d hoped for but it was certainly my gutsiest race so far and I think one which will have helped me evolve as an athlete.
Anyone who says women’s Ironman racing isn’t exciting is wrong!