BBC Sport – Olympics
Charles-Barclay celebrates her 70.3 half Ironman world title in Utah
Triathlete Lucy Charles-Barclay can finally say that she is world champion.
After four silver medals, the 28-year-old feared she might miss a gold medal, but she triumphed at the 70.3 Half Ironman in Utah.
And she did it vigorously, finishing the race more than eight minutes ahead of her competitors after a grueling race that consisted of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and a half marathon.
“The race couldn’t have gone better,” she told BBC Sport.
“I had a really positive headspace the whole time and got almost six minutes ahead of the next competitor in the run. That meant that I could really enjoy the half marathon because I knew that a world title was imminent in the end.”
Charles-Barclay also spoke of her relief to finally take the top step on the podium.
“In 2017, in my second year as a professional athlete, I won silver at the World Cup – and when you do that so early in your career, you think that a World Championship title can’t be that far away. I didn’t think I’d have to wait so long to get here. “
From the pool to the podium
Charles-Barclay started her athletic career as a promising swimmer, but after failing to reach the UK team for the London 2012 Olympics, she focused on triathlon.
Showing people they were wrong was “definitely a motivator” at the start of their triathlon careers.
“There was a lot of fire inside,” she said.
The transition served her well, although she says there is one simple ingredient behind her accomplishments: fun.
“I ended my swimming career in 2013 because I had really lost the love of what I was doing,” she admitted.
“I love races and competitions and I think I’ve had a lot more success in triathlon because I’m an athlete who has fun. Whether it’s the local park run, I still go out to have fun and try Win it. ”
Next stop, Paris?
She’s used to long triathlon distances, but Charles-Barclay has the Olympic Games in her sights.
“Paris is definitely one of my next destinations. Olympia was in my heart as a young swimmer.”
She knows it won’t be easy; Tokyo 2020 highlighted the rich streak of the British triathlon, in which Team GB left the Japanese capital with one gold and two silver medals.
Two of the star athletes, Alex Yee and Georgia Taylor-Brown, also received top honors in the 2021 Super League Triathlon Championship Series.
“We have so much strength and depth in British triathlon over all distances,” said Charles-Barclay.
“Just getting a starting place in an Olympic distance race is a challenge.”
Five British women were in the top 10 of the 70.3 World Championships where they took gold.
Charles-Barclay made her debut in the World Triathlon Championship Series in Leeds earlier this year when someone dropped out a week before the race.
“I finished with very little preparation and finished fifth, which gave me confidence that I would be competitive over this distance.
“Over the next year, I want to earn more ranking points and create more starting lines to move towards events like the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.”
Charles-Barclay barely had time to let her World Cup successes sink in after she flew straight to Malibu to take part in the Super League final as a wildcard – a much shorter, variable format of the sport.
So before what sounds like an even busier season in 2022, will she stop and celebrate becoming the best in the world?
“Absolutely! Oh, unless I’m running the London Marathon this weekend. It’s just for fun, I promise.”