The Secrets of the Fastest Female Runners in Triathlon


At the 1987 Ironman World Championships, Erin Baker became the first woman to run the entirety of an Ironman marathon without walk breaks, shattering the previously-held run course and overall Kona records and taking women’s professional triathlon to a new level. Since then, women only have gotten faster, and now we’ve entered a golden age for women’s running in our sport. For proof, take a look at recent performances like Tamara Jewett’s 1:13:00 half-marathon at Oceanside 70.3, or Chelsea Sodaro’s 2:51:45 marathon last year in Kona.

So how did we get from there to here, and what can we all learn from the fleet-footed females of triathlon? We chatted with three of the coaches behind some of the top runners: Suzanne Zelazo (Tamara Jewett), Dan Lorang (Anne Haug), and David Tilbury-Davis (Ashleigh Gentle) to find out more.

“The depth of talent right now is incredible,” Zelazo says. “I think it’s a combination of things, but partly because women in the sport are seeing what’s possible and together continuing to push the boundaries. Their respect for each other as competitors and change-makers is community-building. This current group of fast-running women is raising the standard and eroding the gender gap to be sure.”

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