"I had a difficult day today, and there was a lot that could have gone better, but I'm absolutely satisfied with my second place," Kaisa says after the race. "It was my goal to make the best out of today. Daniela proved to be faster, but since she is an incredibly good athlete, it is not so bad to lose against her. Still, I wanted to chase her a bit and try my best to beat her."
At ideal triathlon conditions at Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth, the TEAM SPORT FOR GOOD athlete came out of the water after 55:29 min at position 6, 3:09 min behind the fastest swimmer Emma Igelström from Sweden. On the 180-kilometer circuit, Lehtonen did not let tempo and position changes in the lead of the race irritate herself and drove by her own pace. She even improved from sixth to second place and finished her race in 5:50:45 h, only 3:32 min after the leading World Champion Daniela Ryf.
"I had some stomach problems last week, so my legs were very heavy. However, this was also a good thing," says Lehtonen. "I was forced to be more clever today than during my previous Ironman."
Despite her health problems, the Finn was running a constant race from the first kilometer on and was able to keep her distance to the leading Swiss. The TEAM SPORT FOR GOOD ahlete completed the first 21.1 km in 1:28 h, just one minute slower than Ryf (1:27 h).
"The race today was tough and absolutely not on the level I expected," Kaisa explains her marathon performance. "When I realized that I could not catch Daniela, that was a damper. I could not run at my highest level today."
In summary, the Finnish TEAM SPORT FOR GOOD athlete is very satisfied and particularly pleased with the motivating crowd at the circuit.
"As the distances were relatively large, I was able to distribute high-fives and cheers to the audience on the last three kilometers. It was incredible," Kaisa says enthusiastically after her run.
Third-placed Susie Cheetham from Great Britain finished with a time of 09:04:49 h and enabled Kaisa to enjoy the flair of the finish line to the fullest.
"The audience in Africa is always great, as they cheer you up all the time. I had goose bumps!"
photographer: Ingo Kutsche