Ben Meir

Ben Meir

A Catch Up with Fenella Langridge

Whilst her palmares is already brimming with podiums, make no mistake about it, Fenella Langridge’s performance at Ironman Coeur d’Alene, was a huge statement of intent as she booked her Kona spot at the first time of asking.

Fenella ran into T2 in Idaho in June with the woman’s bike course record before running a 3:13 marathon split to secure an impressive sub-9 on her full distance debut. A feat made all the more impressive knowing that she only had three full weeks of run training in the bank coming into race day post-injury.

Her bike course record fell just minutes later when Carrie Lester came into T2 with a split just 15 seconds faster, but nonetheless, 4:49 on a course with 2149m of elevation gain, just shows what immense speed the Brit has at her disposal.

With the race on the Big Island now pushed back to February due to a rise in Covid cases in Hawaii, Fenella’s intentions of putting together a huge race on the world stage show no signs of waning as she recently announced that she will be toeing the line this weekend at Challenge Roth.

We caught up with Fenella in Germany to get her thoughts ahead of race day.

q & A

Q: A sub-9 and Kona slot on your full distance debut on a tough course is nothing short of incredible. 

What was your secret?

A: I just stayed composed all day and stayed realistic on what I thought I could do. Looking back now I probably raced it conservatively rather than racing to compete. Although my preparation wasn’t ideal, run wise, it makes you think that all those years of training have transferred. For a course like that and the demands of the conditions it probably played to my strengths in that respect.

Q: How did you manage such a fast run split given the time you were off with injury?

A: We didn’t do any really fast run training in the short time that we had, nothing really above threshold. We did 2, maybe 3, key brick sessions; under, overs off the bike. We didn’t want to do anything too long.

Q: …so was that your first ever marathon?

A: Yes. I think my longest run – maybe 3 years ago – was a 20 miler.

Q: What are the goals for Roth this weekend? Are you thinking podium?

A: Yeah definitely! According to a lot of the stats, I should be leading for a lot of the way; and I wouldn’t disagree with that, but this is triathlon, and anything can happen. I’m going there to try and podium, to be right up there for the top spots. In terms of time, it should be a PB as it’s a slightly shorter course due to route modifications, I’m sure it will be a fast race.

Q: Is ‘full distance’ now the future for you?

A: I really enjoyed my first one but I think I’ll wait until after the weekend and my second one before I could honestly answer that. I still really love racing the shorter distance; you can race a lot more and I think the way the sport is going now, 70.3 distance is only going to get more and more competitive and I always want to keep my name in there. I’m still young and I think my recent performance shows that 70.3 training can transfer across to full racing. Maybe you don’t have to be a long course ‘specialist’ to compete.

Q: Is everything in your schedule going forward pointing towards Kona?

A: Yes, definitely. I want to be highly competitive at Kona. Top 5, maybe even a podium. In that race having a good swim is important, so I need to make sure I maintain that and then making sure you are staying with and around that front group. The run at Kona is only getting faster, so I need to be aiming at the 3 hour mark.

Q: Finally, what has been your favourite training session while preparing for the longer racing?

A: That’s a tough one! I have favourite sessions in all 3 disciplines. For the swim, it’s a mixed open water session. On the bike, I really like the long big rides – keeping it super chilled, enjoying it, maybe even a stop for coffee. And then again, for running it has to be a long run. It’s not that exciting but nothing beats it. Just the long chilled sessions are my favourite, preferably with nice surroundings.

Fenella will be off at 06:03 GMT just three minutes after the male pros, and the event will be streamed live on the ‘challengeroth’ Youtube channel. You can hear more about Fenella’s recent races by watching the video below – don’t forget to like and subscribe!

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