Flora Duffy showed just how much she has improved as a runner, by powering away from the competition at World Triathlon Yokohama last night and moving to the top of the ITU WTS overall standings.
Once upon a time, the final of the three triathlon disciplines was considered Duffy’s weakest link, but the Bermudian powered away from the competition on the run after finishing the bike among a group of nine.
It was a stark contrast to almost total domination of that unforgettable afternoon in Hamilton at MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda two weeks ago, but the 30-year-old ended up crossing the line in her customary first place in a time of 1hr 53min 25sec; 33 seconds ahead of Katie Zaferes, of the United States. Non Stanford, of Britain, was third in 1:54:41.
“Coming off a big high in April with Commonwealths and Bermuda, it was definitely a stretch and a push to get here, but I’m very happy with my race,” Duffy said. “I think I often don’t get enough credit for my running.”
Duffy came out of the water first in a time of 18:33, one second ahead of American Summer Cook. However, she finished ninth fastest on the bike and ended up in a pack of nine going into the second transition.
It was then that Duffy made her most significant strides. Gone was the Flora who was well beaten on the run in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where she finished eighth with American Gwen Jorgensen taking gold, instead leaving Zaferes and the rest in her dust.
Indeed, her run was the fastest yet again — in 33:26 — after she became the first woman in WTS history to complete the fastest times in all three disciplines. To confirm her status as arguably triathlon’s top runner, she ran faster than Ashleigh Gentle — highly renowned in the discipline and the only woman to beat Duffy in a race she has completed in the past 18 months — by a walloping 28 seconds.
And Duffy was almost in disbelief at becoming the new leader, despite her crash in the opening race in Abu Dhabi in March.
“That was not the goal; it was just to get a good score and set myself up for the series,” the two-times world champion said. “But if I’m top then I can’t complain!”
She seems to be getting used to her dominance after her tenth WTS win in almost two years.
“Yeah it is a little freaky I suppose,” she said.” I was thinking about it today. I was like: ‘I haven’t [not] finished first or second in a long time’. I came into this race a bit tired and wasn’t sure how it would go and I freaked myself out a little bit, but at the same time it’s pretty cool.”