Flora Duffy showed today that she can win in more than one way as she started the run with 8 other athletes and still left the field in her dust to win by another convincing margin of around 30 seconds with a blistering run.
The 1500 meter swim did not go quite as Flora might have liked as she emerged from the water with a group of athletes including some excellent runners. Another superb transition saw her exit transition with the USA’s Katie Zaferes and open up a 10 second lead after a lap. However the group behind was well organised and slowly reeled in the two leaders. A couple of mishaps that almost took out Flora left the group reduced to just 9 athletes with WTS points leader Kristin Kasper, 4th in Bermuda, ending up in hospital with a suspected broken wrist. Flora tried to surge again but was quickly reeled back in by the group who now had over a minute on a larger chasing group.
Flora, perhaps now confident in her run, settled in to the group conserving her energy for the first real test she has had for some time. The question now was just how good was her new found running prowess against the likes of the UK’s Non Stanford, a renowned runner.
And Flora wasted no time answering that question as she set a blistering pace in the opening 1km of the 10km run that only Zaferes could match. Zaferes however could simply not hold the pace and it soon became clear that Duffy was going to once again take top honours as she went into complete concentration and stuck to her relentless pace clocking off km after km without faltering and opening up a 30 second + gap on Zaferes and almost a minute on 3rd place Non Stanford with renowned runner Ashley Gentle of Australia running through from the 2nd group of the bike to take 4th.
Flora has shown for the past year that she could match the best on the run but the question was whether she could do it off the bike with a group of athletes. Answering that question with an emphatic “yes”: will only serve to boost her confidence still further and it was the kind of different test she needed to show what perhaps she has already shown that it is going to take something special to beat her on this form. The relentless pace she is setting on the bike and the effort it takes to catch up is certainly also a factor as she takes the sting out of the legs of the fastest runners without seemingly affecting her own run.
The fact that she admitted to feeling fatigued coming into this race and that most of the athletes in the lead group were fresh having not raced in Bermuda only showed just home dominant she is at the moment.
At press time the full splits are not available but don’t be surprised if in the final analysis Flora has the fastest run time, a massive statement.
Another great performance and she now sits atop of the rankings again and can take a well deserved rest eating sushi and seeing the sights of Tokyo for a couple of days, a city where in 2020 she hopes to realise her biggest dream of an Olympic gold medal.
GO DUFFY GO !