Charles-Barclay sets sights on more world glory after breaking IRONMAN duck

Lucy Charles-Barclay ended a lengthy wait to become IRONMAN world champion in 2023
Lucy Charles-Barclay ended a lengthy wait to become IRONMAN world champion in 2023 (IMAGO/Beautiful Sports via Reute)

Lucy Charles-Barclay spent half a decade with a single goal in mind. Now that she has achieved it, the only way is up.

The 30-year-old had finished as runner-up at the IRONMAN World Championships on four occasions before finally taking gold last year in Kona, Hawaii – setting the course record in the process.

And it was only after finally fulfilling that ambition, that the Hoddesdon triathlete realised quite how much pressure she had been putting on herself.

She said: “It felt like a lifelong journey to get to that point since lining up for the first time in 2017. To get that win, it took a long time to sink in that I’d actually done.

“There have been occasions where I’d be nervous and stressed in my training because I’ve got to win this race. I felt that as I got back into training this year, I’ve been really enjoying it. I feel like that big pressure I had over me is gone.

“I’m hoping that because that pressure is gone, I’m going to perform better now. I’m just doing it because I love it. I’ve always said that if I enjoy something, I generally do better at it. That is what I’m taking into this year and trying to enjoy it as much as possible and see what comes with that.”

Following her Hawaii success, Charles-Barclay has turned her focus towards the rebranded T100 World Tour – an eight-race series which will crown the official world champion of long-distance triathlon.

The tour kicks off in Miami this weekend, with races taking comprising of a 2km swim, 80km bike ride and an 18km run.

And with 40 contracted pro athletes signed up for the T100 (20 women and 20 women), Charles-Barclay believes the revamped event can be a game-changer for the sport.

She added: “I’ve been loving what the PTO (Professional Triathlon Organisation) are doing and building around this tour. One of my favourite years in the sport was in 2021 when I decided to race in every different distance of triathlon.

“I feel like this year I wanted to challenge myself in a new way. By doing this series, I’ve got to be faster, it’s more aggressive racing, there is less time for error, and you have to be a smarter racer. It’s going to challenge me and allow me to grow as an athlete.

“Whoever wins the world title at the end of the year can definitely be titled the ultimate athlete. You are racing the top 20 women to get this prize, so you have got to be the best athlete. It’s definitely going to be quite an elusive world title, everyone on the start line is going to be hungry, me included.”