Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

Lauren Parker completes Kona Ironman as paratriathlete, Sarah Crowley seventh in pro women's race

The last little climb up the Hawaiian Ironman finishing ramp felt like a mountain to Australian paratriathlon star Lauren Parker.

The 33-year-old achieved a major milestone on Friday (AEDT) when she finished the race — the first time she has raced at Kailua-Kona on Hawai'i's main island in seven years.

Back then, Parker was an able-bodied triathlete and finished second in the 25-29 age group.

Then in April 2017, she suffered serious injuries in a bike crash.

Parker is now a Paralympic medallist and a world champion, but she had always wanted to return to Hawai'i and finish again.

After the 3.8km swim and using a hand cycle for the 180km bike, Parker pushed her racing chair through the 42.2km marathon run.

Her arms just about gave out when it came to the small ramp up to the finish arch.

"I just had to keep moving my arms. It was really hard," she said of the marathon.

"Then that finishing ramp — that was probably the hardest hill in the whole race.

"At one stage I thought I was going to go backwards."

Parker finished the race in an outstanding 12 hours 20 minutes 35 seconds and was the only competitor in the women's hand cycle category.

It was well under the 14 hours she clocked earlier this year in her Ironman-distance debut as a paratriathlete.

"I have high expectations of myself. I had a goal of going two hours quicker than what I did at St George.

"I can't be more happy.

"I'm so happy that I was able to finish in a really good time.

"It's been my dream for the last five years since my accident, to come here and race as a para-athlete … it's just unbelievable."

In the pro women's race, Sarah Crowley put the disappointment of a time penalty on the bike to fight back and record a fourth top 10 finish at the historic race, recording a time of nine hours, one minute, 58 seconds.

"It was the most happy, disappointed race of my life, I think," Crowley said.

The 39-year-old was 10th out the water and in the chase group on the bike when handed a five-minute penalty for drafting.

"[There were] a whole heap of rude words … I was really upset," Crowley said.

"I had to run super hard today to get back and earn a spot, so it's good but bad at the same time."

Down in 18th after serving the penalty, Crowley fought back on the marathon run, out-sprinting Kona legend Daniella Ryf for seventh.

"As I sort of got into the race again, I finished quite strong on the bike and felt pretty good on the run immediately," Crowley said.

"I think just fighting, being able to fight [is what I'm most proud of].

"I just haven't had it in me as much for the last few years and I wasn't super sure how I'd tolerate overcoming something that bad, so yeah for me, being able to fight and use all my skills that I have from many years of racing to claw my way back.

"I'm real sick of getting crappy points and people just thinking that I'm done but I'm not, and I think today just showed that there's still a bit of fight left in me.

"I'm excited to race again."

American Chelsea Sodaro shocked the field with a stunning run to overhaul Britain's Lucy Charles-Barclay and win by almost eight minutes, finishing in a time of eight hours, 33 minutes and 46 seconds.

Charles-Barclay, who has now finished second four times, held off a charging Annie Haug into third.

Aussies Penny Slater (24th), Kylie Simpson (22nd), and Renee Kiley (26th) all finished the race, but Dimity-Lee Duke and Kate Bevilaqua both pulled out in stifling temperatures.

The men's race takes place on Sunday (AEDT).

AAP/ABC

Related Stories
Parker comes full circle with Kona finish
Seven years after her last finish at the Hawaiian Ironman, Australian Lauren Parker has returned in triumph as a paratriathlete.
From analysis to the latest developments in health, read the most diverse news in one place.
Sarah Crowley on why it's so hard to compete at the Hawai'i Ironman World Championships in Kona
The World Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawai'i, is arguably the hardest single-day event in sport. To be a contender, you have to put yourself through hell.
Ironman: Parker sets world record as she conquers Hawaii five years after accident
"You can't put any words to the emotions that I'm feeling."
Australia's Max Neumann fourth in Ironman World Championship in Hawaii as Norway's Gustav Iden wins in record time
Australian triathlete Max Neumann pulls off a breakthrough fourth place at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii as Norwegian Gustav Iden wins on debut.
David McNamee made of sterner stuff as Scot gears up for Ironman World Championships
When I suggest to David McNamee that he’s made of different stuff to the majority of the population, he barely takes a breath before…
One place to find news on any topic, from hundreds of sites.
Young engineer from Belagavi completes Ironman event in U.S.
Belagavi