Staffordshire provided a sunny backdrop for the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire after rain, wind and grey skies threatened in the preceding days. The sun would not be the only thing shining in Stafford as Lucy Charles-Barclay and George Goodwin put in stellar displays to both take their maiden wins at the English West Midlands race. Charles-Barclay was in control from the start while Goodwin executed expertly to trump an experienced campaigners in Will Clarke and one of the UK’s rising stars in Elliot Smales.
PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S RACE
The professional women’s field featured some intriguing match-ups going into the race, not least defending champion, Emma Pallant versus the dominant Lucy Charles-Barclay. Charles-Barclay last raced in Staffordshire as an individual in 2016 in her very early days as a professional where she finished fourth. This year would be a very different prospect with her now going into most races as the favourite.
As expected, Charles-Barclay took the early lead on the swim and exited the water first in 23:46, recording the day’s fastest overall pro swim time. She was followed into T2 by Chloe Cook +1:08 and Emma Pallant +3:56.
Charles-Barclay pushed on throughout the bike leg gradually increasing her lead over Cook to little under four minutes going into T2. Pallant finished a further minute back followed by Katrina Rye who ensured the positions out of the swim remained intact.
With Charles-Barclay holding a four-minute advantage over Cook and nearly five minutes over Pallant, the latter started the run at a strong pace in a bid to make ground. Pallant’s pace saw her move into second place within the first 3km, and by the midway point had shaved more than 2 minutes off her deficit to Charles-Barclay. However, it was from this point that Charles-Barclay starting pull away, putting another minute between her and Pallant to take the win. Katrina Rye managed to hang onto the coattails of Chloe Cook who started dropping her pace after 13km, eventually passing her to take third place in the last 5km.
“I’m over the moon, I don’t often get to race in the UK so to actually come here and win is fantastic. I think I’ve probably only raced twice as a pro in the UK so it’s really nice to come here and feel at home with a nice crowd backing you,” said Charles-Barclay.
PROFESSIONAL MEN’S RACE
Defending champion, Elliot Smales was the athlete to watch after he made his breakthrough win in Staffordshire in 2018. Since then, he has had tremendous success with multiple podiums although he would be up against the experienced Will Clarke and the 2018 runner-up, George Goodwin.
The swim was a tight affair with a group of five athletes, led by Thomas Davis, exiting the water within seven seconds of each other. The group consisted of Davis, Smales, James Teagle, Will Clarke and Yvan Jarrige.
Smales made it out of T2 onto the bike at the front of the group but was overtaken by Clarke within the first 30km. George Goodwin moved up the field into third by the same point to be less than 10 seconds behind Smales. Goodwin continued his momentum moving into second place eventually cutting Clarke’s lead to only four seconds going into T2. He and Clarke would be followed by Yvan Jarrige and Smales who both trailed by three minutes.
The run was where Goodwin showed his class. He pipped Clarke to be first out of T2 and duly proceeded to press his advantage continually building his lead. Clarke, possibly feeling the effects of racing IRONMAN Brazil two weeks prior, wasn’t able to stay with Goodwin who went one better than 2018 to take his first IRONMAN 70.3 win, a comfortable 3 minutes and 50 seconds ahead of Clarke.
“I’m delighted to be first on the podium. I was second here last year, and I knew I had a tough battle with the depth of the field here today,” said Goodwin.
More information at: www.ironman.com/staffordshire70.3