Fenella Langridge's win in Western Australia was a major breakthrough
Fenella Langridge went to Western Australia targeting her first ever full Ironman win. Mission accomplished, and then some: Langridge set a course record in Busselton, beating Lisa Norden by more than three minutes with a time of 8:29:43.
Langridge has thrived at the Ironman distance before. She took sixth in Kona in 2022, pumping her fist along the way. Then earlier this year, she took second at Ironman South Africa and fourth at Challenge Roth. A win had eluded her, however, until the waning days of the year.
“My goal this year was to win an Ironman and I really wanted it,” Langridge said after the race. “It was No. 1 on the list but these days it is very difficult. To do it, in this way, at the end of my longest season as a professional is amazing.”
Langridge put together a strong race in all three legs. She exited the swim in first place, putting the rest of the field more than three minutes behind. She held off Norden as long as she could on the bike, but was caught after the halfway mark, and entered the second transition needing to make up roughly five minutes. Langridge wouldn’t be denied during the marathon, however, gradually eating away at Norden’s lead, and catching her with under 10 miles to go.
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“The race was a mental and physical challenge,” Langridge said. “I was 100 percent going into this race to win, but I knew I needed a great day to hold off Lisa.”
The win caps an eventful year for Langridge, who got engaged in October. It also sets her up for a big 2024. She is now qualified for Ironman World Championships in Nice next September.
“To be qualified for Nice this early is a huge relief and gives me a real open year to plan what I want to get the best result there,” Langridge said. “Nice is a very technically demanding course and I will need to improve a lot to do well there. I will spend a lot of the winter working on this starting next week with some mountain bike riding.”
Langridge called the win a day she’ll remember “for the rest of my life.” She has won four middle-distance events in her career. To finally break onto the top step at a full-distance Ironman was something special for the 31-year-old Brit.
“You never forget your first Ironman win. They’re harder to get these days with fields getting even more competitive,” Langridge told Tri247. “It’s nothing to take for granted.”