5 women beating the boys
Michelle McGagh highlights five female athletes who are beating the boys when it comes to endurance events…
“Long distance endurance events are about how you manage yourself and your head. If you rely on explosive power alone, you won’t last long in endurance sports,” says Lee Craigie, former British Mountain Bike Champion, Commonwealth athlete and co-founder of The Adventure Syndicate. She should know, coming third overall in the Highland Trail 550 with a time of four days, five hours and 50 minutes.
It is not just the mental approach to competition that enables women to endure multi-day events better than their male counterparts, there could be physical attributes that give them the edge, too.
“Women are actually much better at managing pain and we have a higher percentage of body fat,” says Lee. “That means we can keep going for longer, plus we are much better at regulating temperature.”
Now to indulge ourselves with some bad-ass ladies who are beating the boys.
Wellington (pictured above) is one of the world’s most accomplished triathletes, no matter what gender she’s up against. She was World Ironman Champion in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
In the 2011 contest, held in South Africa, Wellington set a female world record with a time of eight hours, 33 minutes and 56 seconds to cover the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile marathon. In the process of setting the record she ran the marathon in two hours, 52 minutes and 54 seconds - faster than all the men.
Muller snatched the Zwift distance record from Chris Hopkinson just two months after he set it. The ultra-endurance rider cycled an astonishing 1,828km (1,135.9 miles) on the Zwift virtual training simulator in 62 hours, four minutes and 30 seconds, beating Hopkinson’s 1,625 km.
Muller aims to take two more records this year for the quickest time cycling Land’s End to John O’Groats and cycling 1,000 miles.
Last year Wilcox took first place in the self-supported TransAm Bike Race in the US, beating her nearest rival by two hours.
A total of 66 riders, including nine women, raced the 6,920km from Oregon to Virginia. Wilcox crossed the finish line in 18 days and 10 minutes, two hours ahead of her nearest rival Steffan Streich.
Wilcox met Streich en route and he proposed finishing together, to which she replied: ‘No way. This is a race.’
Californian Peck has taken the gold at the North American Cycle Courier Championships three times; beating the boys and girls in 2009, 2013 and 2016.
The bike messenger Olympics, as it’s affectionately known, replicates a day in the life of a bike courier by seeing how many items they can pick up and deliver on a designated course over a three hour period.
One woman to watch this year is Coker: she’s already bettered the women’s annual mileage record set by Billie Fleming in 1938 and looks like she’s going to take the men’s record too.
It took Coker just 130 days to beat the 29,603.7 miles ridden by Fleming and, with her current pace, she’s expected to take the men’s record from Kurt Searvogel. She is riding 227.5 miles a day around a set loop, moving at an average speed of 19.9mph. This is compared to the 208.85 miles a day ridden by Searvogel at 18.2mph.
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