2022 IRONMAN™ World Championship Photo Essay (Thursday)

Photos © Tony Svensson/IRONMAN™

The professional women’s swim start at the 2022 Thursday race. It’s 06:25 and the sun is still behind the extinct Hualalai Volcano.

First out of the water, not surprisingly, is Lucy Charles-Barclay from the UK with a swim time of 50:57, and with less than a minute gap to second. She is on her way to the bike, for the first time staged about 100 m from the transition tents, and across the street from the King Kamehameha main hotel entrance.

The swim finish showing one of the age group waves and in the upper right corner the transition tents.

Cherie Gruenfeld from California in T1. As the oldest woman competitor in the field, Cherie would win her thirteenth age group title in Kona.

With a 4:36 ride, Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf, a four-time winner in Kona, was first off the bike and 17 seconds ahead of Lucy.

Behind these two were four other women, including 2012 Olympic silver medalist, Lisa Nordén from Sweden, a Kona rookie, here about to arrive into T2.

Running up the first short hill from the transition area, eventual race winner Chelsea Sodaro from Davis-California has just caught Lisa. To the right and further down the hill is Sara Svensk, from Göteborg-Sweden, also a Kona rookie. The top six women all started the run with less than a four-minute gap.

Coming back into town after the first turnaround on Ali’i Drive and half-way up the Palani Hill, Chelsea is now ten seconds behind the leading Lucy.

Some six minutes down, Lisa still shows good form going up Palani Hill.

IRONMAN™ World Champion.

About 20 minutes later, Lisa finishes in fifth, hits the deck and is helped by the ever-present ART team.

Lauren Parker of Australia. After a second place age group finish in Kona, she embarked on a professional career and in 2017 had a life altering bike crash. Accepting the new conditions, she became a world-class paratriathlete. Here she is, laboring up the Palani Hill, slowly climbing, backwards. And smiling!

Millions followed TikTok Star Noel Mulkey from Oklahoma as he trained for, raced and finished in Kona. Dude!

Chris Nikic and Dan Grieb with a wrap and a hug! Chris is a 22-year-old with Down syndrome from Florida and Dan his guide and friend. Living by the credo “Anything is Possible,” Chris illustrates the habit of getting 1% better each day to achieve whatever goal is set. The two finished the race in 15:33.

The customary fire dance after the 17-hour race cutoff.

The top ten women at the Sunday awards banquet, with champion Chelsea Sodaro wearing the leaf crown.