Holly Lawrence dominates Ironman 70.3 Des Moines after thunderstorms

A delayed start and revised course couldn't throw Holly Lawrence off her game

When thunderstorms delayed the start of Ironman 70.3 Des Moines by three hours, Holly Lawrence didn’t panic. Instead, she reportedly ate a second breakfast and took a nap.

After waking up and warming up again, Lawrence went on to dominate the field, leading the race from start to finish over the course of a 1.2-mile swim, 27-mile bike (shortened from 56) and 13.1-mile run. It was her first win since Ironman 70.3 Cozumel last September.

“It was a hectic morning waiting for updates about what would happen to the race once we knew it was delayed,” Lawrence said. “The race ended up getting shortened on the bike, which I knew might help the strong runners, so I was glad to have a clean swim and put in some time on the bike.”

Holly Lawrence on the run at Daytona.

Lawrence finished 1:40 ahead of fellow British athlete Emma Pallant-Browne. The shortened bike segment meant that Pallant-Browne, a strong runner, would be in striking distance of Lawrence for the win. Indeed, Pallant-Browne was more than a minute faster on the run, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the comfortable advantage that Lawrence had built, particularly during the swim where she was the first woman out of the water by 42 seconds over American Ali Brauer, and 1:41 ahead of Pallant-Browne.

Lawrence held a lead of just over two minutes over Pallant-Browne after the bike.

“It was closer than I would have liked with Emma running time into me,” Lawrence said. “Around halfway the gap was staying at around a minute and I just held strong until the end.

“I’m proud of the run, keeping my head and having a solid run under pressure.”


Lawrence doesn’t have much time to revel in her performance. She quickly left Iowa to travel to Denmark, where she’ll race the Ironman 70.3 European Championship in Elsinore on Sunday. She’ll go up against another fellow Brit, and potential Collins Cup teammate, in Lucy Charles-Barclay as part of what should be a thrilling race.

Lawrence’s schedule may be hectic, but fortunately, as she proved in Des Moines, managing chaos is one of her specialities.