Ultraman Florida 2024 - 1st female


Ultraman is a series of Ultratriathlons. I believe there are four Ultraman races around the world, plus the World Championship. They are: UM Florida, Arizona, Canada, Australia and the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Of course, everybody wants to get to the Hawaii race. They only allow 40 people in every year. The qualification criteria is to finish one of the other 4 races - that gives you the right to apply for Hawaii anytime after. I believe there might even be exceptions where they let people in who are strong Ironman athletes but have never completed an Ultraman before, but I'm not 100% sure. I didn't want Hawaii to be my first Ultraman race, I wanted to do one before putting all that money, training and effort into racing in Hawaii and I'm glad that I did. One day, I want to go to Hawaii to that race. The original plan was to do that this year, but then eventually I decided to focus on ultrarunning instead for the rest of the year, so at this time, I don't think I'm going this year, although I'm still not 100% sure. I will probably make that decision after the 6-day World Championship in September. Now, that I saw the bike form I could get myself into with only 2 months of serious bike training, I'm tempted again. We'll see.

Ohana - family in Hawaiian. Ultraman is a super niche community where we are all part of the family and it is a very important sentiment around all Ultraman races


I have been toying with the idea of doing an ultratriathlon for years. I could just never fit one into my race schedule, because ultrarunning has been the priority for the past 4 years, although I did keep up my triathlon training and racing all along. What I really wanted to do was a double or triple continuous Ironman distance and I don't think I want to aim for anything less than a World Championship race. This year the ultratriathlon WC is a 5x distance, which might be a bit too much of a jump from IM but also, it just doesn't fit into my racing schedule. So I looked at my other options and Ultraman sounded like a fun race and that is how I ended up here. What I absolutely didn't realize was that Ultraman training is actually harder than training for a simple continuous double or triple IM, because you won't be going out for 12h or 18h bike rides to train the full bike distance of a double or triple, but you will (or at least I did) ride the full 9h of day 2 of Ultraman in training. The other big difference is the intensity. For Ultraman, you are riding at a much higher intensity because there is no swim before (on day 2) or run after. So you have to keep training not just distance but also intensity. I still think that I will go to Hawaii to do this race again one day. The race itself was immensely fun. The training wasn't. It was just too hard.

The race itself was fun! But the training was too hard. 


In ultratriathlons there are no aid stations. Each competitor must have a crew - usually 2-4 people are allowed, this race allowed up to 5 - who provide all aid to them. Unlike in Ironman events, the crew can assist with almost anything except in forward movement (there are even exceptions to that). This creates a team atmosphere which I very much enjoy. An ultraman consists of 3 days of racing similar to a stage race in ultrarunning. Then the times are added up to determine the winner. 

Day 1: 10 km / 6.2 mi of swimming + 145 km / 90 mi of biking

Day 2: 276 km / 171 mi of biking

Day 3: double marathon run, 84.4 km / 52.2 mi

The 45 athletes who took on Ultraman Florida 2024


Anyone who saw my social media posts knows that unlike most triathlons, this was a team achievement. It always stresses me out to organize anything of this magnitude, but I feel I nailed the team this time. I'm a fast learner...

My crew chief was again, the magnificent Pam Smith, accomplished ultrarunner and my Badwater 135 crew captain. Even though she isn't a triathlete, I wouldn't have done it without her. I trust her, trust her decisions, I get her and she totally gets me. It is a match that was meant to be. I hope one day I can give back at least a fraction of what she does for me. She also kayaked for me for the swim which was very comforting.

I had 3 more people for the whole 3 days, Tom Moore is a dear ultrarunner friend, 79 years old and my biggest cheer leader. He was our driver. Keith Brown drove down with me from home, he was the only triathlete in my crew, he knows a lot about bikes, he also paced me for the run and was just generally super helpful with everything. Britta Devitt is a mom of 5 who is also an ultrarunner and was a very valuable member of the team. Mandy Richmond joined us for the last day to pace, she is also an ultrarunner with race wins under her belt, she ran the most out of my 3 pacers although they all ran similar distances, Mandy, Pam and Keith. We were all Ultraman newbies which is not ideal but it worked out at the end.

It was all a great experience this time, the right team means so much in these races. I'm extremely grateful for every single one of them.

The Team, left to right: Keith Brown, Pam Smith, Thomas Moore, Britta Devitt, Mandy Richmond - thank you, guys!


This was baaaaad. I'm not even sure why, but I was literally crying race morning! Maybe nerves. But it makes no sense. I knew I could do the distance and I'm a very confident swimmer, I'm just slow. So I really don't know. Maybe the magnitude of a 10 km / 6.2 mi swim just hit me. Even before the start I was just standing in the water with my arms crossed, very tense. Once we started swimming, all was well!

I was just standing there with my arms crossed (green cap on the top of the picture) thinking what the heck I got myself into, while my friend and Badwater crew member, Leida is having a great time, waving to her friends

Ultraman swim is very different from normal triathlons in that you get a kayaker who shows the way and also carries your nutrition. It is an open water swim. The kayakers wait a few hundred meters / yards out on the course for their swimmers.

I've read about this part in several race reports, that you need to be able to identify your kayaker and how hard that is in the chaos. It is one of those things that you simply can't fathom until you actually experience it. It is hard to believe that the kayakers have no idea who is who and you have to swim up to your kayaker and I even had to call her name out for her to realize which one I was. They just see swim caps and no faces.

We nailed the identification part. I got Pam to wear a bright yellow party hat and Christmas lights on her front and back. It was perfect! First, I saw the Christmas lights and that is how I knew it was her - out of the 45 kayakers waiting for their swimmers. Then the party hat was perfect for sighting so I could swim towards her.

Pam in all her Christmas light and party hat glory

The course was 3 laps of a triangle. The first lap we had calm waters but the waves picked up for the second lap and we were pushed out a bit, so our straights were actually curves and then the waves died down by the 3rd lap so we could go straight again.

The secret to it is to just not think about the distance or anything. "Just keep swimming" like Dory says. I told my crew to expect a 4-hour swim but of course I was hoping for better, however, 4 hours was the realistic time and I ended the swim in 3:59:10. The leading swimmer who did the course in less than 2.5 hours passed me during my 2nd lap! He was already on his 3rd!

In my training I only swam the full 10 km / 6.2 mi distance once, it was done as 5 x 2000m with 60-90-second breaks. So I have never done it straight without breaks. I train in my FORM goggles because I love the convenience of seeing my time, splits and other metrics displayed right in the goggles in training. But I race in my trusted Zoggs Predator Flex goggles. Which I have only used for Ironman distance before, that is about 40% of the length of this swim. During the second lap, so not even half way, I noticed the right side leaking a little bit which bothered me a lot I think because of my lasik surgery that I had had done about 8 years ago. So I pushed the goggles on to be tighter which was a mistake. I couldn't see anything on the right eye after that. It didn't bother me that much since I breathe to my left so I was sighting my kayaker with my left eye. But by the 3rd lap it started to hurt too. Oh well, there was "only" an hour of swim left.

4 hours is a long time to kayak! It is a long time to swim too!

The nuances in the rules of Ultraman are important. We didn't know that the crew could help me - almost carry me - out of the water when I hit the land. It would have been very helpful because I fell as I was trying to run out. I've seen both of these in Ultraman videos before: people falling as they were trying to stand up and come out of the water and also that the crews were carrying other athletes out. It just never occurred to me to do that, but I will know for next time! (If there is ever a next time, that is!)

By the end of the swim both eyes were badly swollen, a vessel broke in the corner of my right eye so I also had purple eye like someone had punched me in the eye. 

As I came out of the water I was ecstatic to be done with the swim but I couldn't see anything on my right eye. I told my crew in transition that I couldn't see on my right eye and everything was blurry on the left too. They said "yeah, they are a bit swollen" and that was that. Off I went on the bike. 

It got better in about an hour and my vision started to come back...

Crazy happy that the swim was over. Let the fun begin!!!!


In Ultraman the roads aren't closed. You need to follow all rules of the road both on the bike and run. This includes stopping at stop signs (and putting your foot on the ground) and red lights. It adds a significant amount of time to your ride and run. We weren't allowed to pass the cars on the right side at stop signs and red lights either so one red light turned into 3 for me because of traffic. I spent 5 minutes just at that one red light, in line behind cars.

Many people don't know, but I'm actually a stronger cyclist in triathlon than runner. I love running but I like cycling a lot too. Compared to any Ironman field I always pass the most people on the bike and place the highest on the bike out of the three disciplines. When I became a bit more competitive in long course triathlon in 2019, my competitors would still pass me on the run and I would lose a few positions. Then for a few years I was aiming to just hold position on the run and I slowly achieved that goal in my races. Then finally there came a time when I started to crawl up a few spots on the run too. Nowhere near as many as on the bike - that still remained my strongest, but rather than losing a few positions on the run, I started to make up a few positions on the run as well. But even to this date, bike is my strongest out of the three in Ironman distance. It is only when we start going much longer on the run that my endurance really shows.

You can see my badly swollen eyes during the day 1 ride!

The ride on Day 1 is shorter than Ironman distance, 145 km / 90 miles vs 180 km / 112 mi in IM. Coming out of the water as a back-of-the-packer means a lot of people to pass on the bike, but luckily, this is not a big race with only 45 competitors total, so it wasn't bad at all. Although some of the guys took it very personally when I was passing them. At the end of day 1 there was one of them, who sprinted to the finish to beat me, even though my riding time was still better than his either way, because he came out of the water 15 minutes ahead of me. This was a fun back-and-forth, he shouted at me "sprint finish?" and we were having a good time, but I was nervous about it too. We dropped back every time the other one passed, which is what the drafting rules call for but then we would swap positions again, 4-5 times in the last 2 miles! His ego just couldn't tolerate me finishing in front of him. I definitely wasn't going to red line just to beat him to the finish.

I really enjoyed the ride. To be honest, once the swim was over, I really enjoyed everything! The two rides as well as the run. It was super simple, we exchanged bottles with the crew every 60-90 minutes and that was it.

We only practiced bike bottle hand-offs the day before the race and we actually only did it one time. I would have liked to do some more but we figured it was good enough. Well, I dropped the bottle right at the first hand-off on race day! So my fantastic crew changed the set up. First, someone would spray me with cold water. Then another one would stand with a bottle. If I missed the bottle, there would be a third person standing with a second bottle! After the first missed pick-up, I didn't miss any of the other ones, got them all at the first hand-off.

Just a girl and her bike on the Florida roads

I went with liquid calories for the whole race. It is the easiest for our bodies to handle and I didn't see any reason to do it differently. The only thing I added was caffeinated gels which I carried in my bento box on the bike and my pacers carried them for the run. I took them at 2, 4 and 6 hours on the bike. I think I only took 2 on the run.

The one thing that I had with me was the "secret" ketones. I started playing with exogenous ketone supplementation a few months ago and I find that for me personally they make a huge difference for mental clarity and recovery. I purposefully didn't share this on my social media channels pre-race. I had a bottle with my crew and told them that I might ask for it and I actually did, all 3 days I took 10 ml at least once. This was the first time I took it in a race, but I took it in training several times before on my long rides. I think on day 2 of the race I took it twice. Basically, there are moments when you know you are perfectly fine physically, but it is starting to get very demanding mentally. I'm experienced enough now to be able to differentiate between the times when I'm on the edge physically or just mentally. More often than not it is only mental and your body still has a lot to give. Research has shown exogenous ketones to work really well for mental clarity and for recovery but to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't even care if it was just placebo. It works for me, that's all I need. But most likely the effects are not placebo and the difference it makes is huge - at least for me.

Day 1 ride in the last few hundred meters / yards - my eyes are still swollen!

There are only 2 companies that I know of, that make the "real stuff". The rest are either too diluted to make a difference (anything cheap you see is probably in this category) or the formula is just not pure. KetoneAid (use VIKTORIA at check-out to get free shipping in the US) is one of those two and the KetoneAid products are double the strength of the other company but not double the price. So to me, they are the most economical solution and I'm just immensely grateful for their support. It was a game changer for me. These products are expensive and also they taste awful, but I'm willing to put up with that. It is not a gastro tour, it is a race. This will be one of my secret weapons (how secret is it if I'm sharing it here? hmmm...) at my backyard ultras and 6-day races going forward. And as much as I would like to keep this to myself and never talk about it, I will be sharing it on Social Media to express my gratitude.

After swapping my bottle at 90 mins and then at 3 hours, I expected to see my crew one more time before the finish, but they seemed to be late. I figured that they couldn't find me or they were having some issues but I was fine riding the last bit without any nutrition and I wasn't too concerned. I had some gels on me so I took one of those instead. Then they eventually showed up right after I took my gel. I think it was my fault and I was expecting them at the wrong time and they were actually on time. There was also another crew that gave me water, which was super nice of them! Thank you. We swapped bottles one last time and I rolled into the finish with a 4:26:08 bike time, 3rd fastest in the field, best female time and the 4th fastest female ride of all time on this course. It was a very nice unexpected surprise, especially that I made up 11 minutes of my deficit from the swim, which meant that I was only 25 minutes behind the female leader after the first day. It was a great place to be.

Day 1 bike finish. I love biking but I was glad the day was over!


Ultraman is as much if not more of a recovery race than a triathlon race. The one who can recover better between two days of racing will be the one to crush it. I can't overstate how important this is in any kind of stage race, let alone one where you have 3 x 8+ hour days. I had a great recovery routine with some "secrets" that I didn't share on social media (ketones again), but I'm thinking that I will express my appreciation to the people who take their time to read this full race report by sharing the details.

Right after finishing the day I sat in the cold lake for about 20 minutes. The lake was cold enough to function as a cold plunge. I covered myself in cold water up to above my hips. It actually felt great. While I was sitting there, my crew handed me 15 ml of KetoneAid Ke4 ketones. This jump started the recovery. Then they handed me a carbohydrate-protein recovery drink which I drank still sitting in the cold water.

Day 1 cold plunge - it actually felt good!

Normally I'm really not a fan of the cold plunge. We know it impairs muscle protein synthesis so if you cold plunge after a hard workout you just undo the work you performed, because the way your fitness improves is by overcompensating for the inflammation that the workout caused. If you bring down the inflammation with a cold plunge, there is no overcompensation. So normally I never do a cold plunge. There are some health benefits if you do cold plunges far enough from any workouts eg. first thing in the morning, but there are other, more pleasant ways of achieving the same benefits so I would never do that. 

There is one single scenario when the cold plunge makes sense to me and this is it. A stage race or when you are racing very close together, so much so that you are willing to sacrifice the fitness gains just so you can perform again the next day. Therefore I did my cold plunge after days 1 and 2 but after day 3 I chose to take the fitness benefits and didn't go in the lake. There was no race the next day.

Once I was done with my cold plunge I went for a massage. They were offered as part of the race. The therapists were absolutely amazing.

After the massage I tried to get back to our airBnB as soon as possible - it was a 5-minute drive. I had dinner and went straight to bed. I was lucky that Keith came with me because I didn't need to worry about bike maintenance. He cleaned my drivetrain and changed my chain to a new, freshly waxed and coated one for day 2. 

Keith helping me get on the bike on Day 1. The crew is allowed to assist in ways that are not permitted in most triathlons.

We followed the same routine at the end of day 2 minus the bike maintenance.

I had great sleep after day 1 which I was super happy with. Unfortunately I couldn't repeat it after day 2 and I barely got any sleep which wasn't ideal but the less you worry about not actually falling asleep the better rested you wake up so I tried to put that out of my mind and just accept it as is.

DAY 2 - BIKE 2

Day 2 format allows for some tweaks that regular triathlons don't. These included aero booties and aero gloves for me. These little improvements add up in the long run and if you save 2-3 watts here and then again there and you have 5-6 tweaks like that, it can become meaningful time saving at the end. I knew that I was only lacking with the helmet. I crashed my favourite helmet in Kona last October and it was an expensive one that tested best for me. I really wanted to replace it with the same but with this being my last triathlon for the time being, it made no sense to spend $400+ on a helmet. The sport changes so fast that even in a year or two if I end up wanting to go for it again, there might be a new version or a faster helmet out. So I rode in my training helmet which I know is significantly slower. Luckily, the set-up was still fast enough to practically win this race on the bike.

The helmet is just not streamlined like my old one was. I'm probably loosing quite a bit of time because of it.

I was positively surprised how great bike shape I was in. My build was only 2 months long. After Kona in mid-October I was out for 6 weeks, first with my shoulder injury from the crash in Kona, then with pneumonia. I started back in December and kept building in January and that was it. But I did have the Kona fitness still somewhat, I guess.

I mostly focused on the bike in my training, putting both swimming and to some extent running on the back burner. Biking is the make or break in triathlon and it paid off big time in this race. 

I was in good shape for Kona on the bike, but not great. This time, I feel that I was in great shape. Similar to 2020 and 2021 when I ran my best Ironman races, both times riding 5h 12 mins for the bike leg. In fact, my Ironman split in terms of power for day 2 was exactly the same as my best IM ride. I went through the IM distance in 5h 20 mins and that is with stop signs and red lights. I was very happy with that.

Day 2 bike start. There was some confusion about the starting order. They lined us up in 2 rows but the volunteers did it by Day 1 finish time which would have made no sense. The race director said we should line up in the order of Day 1 bike times which is what made sense since it was likely we would end up in the same order so from a safety standpoint that was the logical order. So I was pulled from the 9th position to the 3rd and I ended up lining up in a 3rd row because everyone else was already positioned.

After the day 1 bike results I had high hopes for day 2 and I kept wondering if I was strong enough to potentially even close the gap to the female race leader on this day. It wasn't something I had originally expected to be able to do.

It is funny how I just figured out how to improve my climbing right when I'm planning on not doing any more triathlons for a while. My weakness has always been climbing on the bike and I just couldn't figure out why. It should be my strength as a small rider but it has never been. And now I know why and I just changed my indoor training to help with my climbing and bam! I feel that I was climbing better in this race than ever before. Mind you, after the race, I'm really getting very tempted to find a way to keep doing ultratriathlons! We'll see what the future holds, I don't even really know how the end of this year will play out, let alone the years ahead. I really enjoyed this race!

We swapped bottles at 90 and 60 minute intervals. I had two smaller bottles that could hold 60 minutes and a larger one that could hold 90 minutes of fluid so those were our swapping intervals, large, small, large, small and then the second small was our back-up in case I couldn't grab the first bottle, but I was able to pick it up every time on day 2.

Day 2 was my day! 3rd fastest biketime in the field behind 2 guys and the 4th fastest female time on this course ever. Photo: Phil Cuppernell

A few words about my drafting penalty. People who know me know that I follow the rules to the T. I break records. I win World Championships. I can't afford to be caught doing something that breaks the rules and then not be able to claim that record or win. I was put in a situation by some of the other competitors that made it unavoidable to be too close for too long. The rules say that you have 25 seconds to pass someone on the bike, from the moment you enter their drafting zone (6 bike lengths behind them). However, if they pick up the pace because they see you coming, or hear your very loud disc wheel and know you are coming, you will run out of time.

There were several (4) guys, who just couldn't take it that I was passing them. When they heard my disc wheel coming, they sped up. This is against the rules. Then even after I passed them, they would keep hanging on and passing me back because their ego couldn't tolerate it that they would be chicked. I finished both days ahead of all 4 of them. The worst guy was 18 years younger than me! These situations leave it up to the judgement of the referee to call a penalty on either or both of us. I'm not sure when I got the penalty and if the guy got one too or if I was found solely liable. All I know is that I couldn't have avoided these situations and I wasn't the offender. But I did spend more than 15 seconds in the draft zone, even if I wasn't at fault. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter, it didn't change the end result of the race.

After my 8h 26-min ride I was the fastest female in the field by the end of day 2, but because of my 6-minute drafting penalty I was still 3 minutes behind the leading female. However, I had originally expected to be behind after day 2 by way more than 3 minutes so I was extremely happy with this result and I was looking forward to day 3, the double marathon run.

I repeated the recovery routine from day 1 and tried to get to bed early to be ready for the final day.

End of Day 2!!! I was super excited by what I had just done!


I was relaxed by day 3 and confident that this was my race to lose. There were only 3 ways I could lose it:

1. Get lost

2. Get disqualified

3. Blow up

I didn't want to risk any of those. 

The run course wasn't easy at all. The first half wasn't too bad, most of the elevation gain was in the second half. By then the temperatures also rose to 28C / 82F and we caught some strong headwinds too. Some of the footing wasn't easy either. It had 3 long sections of clay / sand. I ran 7.5 hours in my 100-mile record as my double-marathon split, but that was on a track with great footing and perfectly flat terrain. The female course record is 7:21 for Ultraman Florida, there was no way I could have even been close to that. I'm not a fast runner, I'm not a 100k or 50-mile specialist in ultrarunning. I simply don't have that kind of top speed that is required for those distances. That's why I run much longer races where top speed is not the main determining factor of success.

Ready for the run! With two of my pacers, Mandy and Pam. I was much happier than before the Day 1 start! It was my race to lose.

I had already had 2 hard days in my legs too. Optimistically maybe an 8h run is within my reach, or maybe not, I'm not sure. I definitely would have given it a shot if I had to, but chances are, it would have ended with an epic blow-up. 8:15 is more realistic and I probably would have had to run my heart out to do that. If I was about 30 minutes behind after day 2, it would have been a very close race. But with my 3-minute deficit I was simply running to win the women's race and to win Day 3 of the race.

Some might think that it is disrespectful not to run an all-out race once you are in a winning position. I feel it is the smart way to race. If you run all out, you have a way higher chance of blowing up and I wasn't going to take that chance. Is it possible that one day it will bite me in the butt to always be very calculating in my racing strategies? Maybe. But it hasn't yet and I will do my best to avoid any mishaps in the future too. 

Other than blowing up physically there is another risk in red lining mentally. I like to race a lot. I have several races on my schedule for this year that are mentally extremely demanding: the 6-day World Championship and two backyard ultras. I find that I simply can't dig that deep mentally too many times in a season. I would have done it in this race if I had to but the less often I do that the more capacity I have when I really need it. In those ultramarathons I will have no choice but to dig extremely deep so I better save that mental capacity to do so.

Long sections of clay and sand roads also slowed us down

We focused on keeping me cool, very straight forward nutrition with a drink every 15 minutes and that's about it. I had 3 amazing pacers, Pam, Mandy - another fast ultrarunner and Keith who is also a faster runner than me. I really like it when my pacers are simply fast and I don't need to worry about them carrying my nutrition, thinking straight and still keeping the pace up. I had a top notch team.

The rules allowed for the pacers to carry my nutrition, but not to run in front of me. They could be next to me or behind me. We mostly ran next to each other. It helps a lot to have someone there to help mentally as well as physically by carrying stuff for me.

I still started out at a strong pace because I wasn't 100% sure what to expect from my opponents. My crew chief, Pam, who is an exceptional ultrarunner herself, Western States champion and all, said to me (in all seriousness): "You don't need to make up the 3 minutes in the first mile." I guess she knows me pretty well by now. We all laughed but we also knew that she was serious. I think it took me 2 miles to make up the 3 minutes. (I don't want to admit that it might have been just one...)

I hit the half-marathon mark around 1:55 but I didn't keep the fast pace up for too long and dialed it back around that time. I reached the marathon mark right at 4 hours and by that point I had a half-hour lead (27 mins to be exact). That was very convincing. I realized that I could relax the pace further and not risk blowing up which is what I did. I kept running at a more relaxed pace and I was just enjoying my time with my pacers and other competitors for a while. This was a ton of fun and I was having a great time. I think this part of the race, that I really enjoyed immensely, had a huge part in how good the experience ended up being. The memories of the race being a lot of fun probably come from this time on the course.

I was running with Marc Galietta who swam over an hour faster than me (!) and eventually finished the race 4 minutes ahead of me, 6th overall. I was trying to pull him along, he wasn't coping too well with the run. This also gave me something to be proud of, that I was helping someone overcome difficulties even though I could have run 4 minutes faster and finish in front of him overall. But I never seem to worry about guys beating me, I don't feel the need to prove that I'm better than guys. They are in a different race and if I can help someone, I will. Unless we are going for the overall win, of course haha... But for me personally 6th or 7th overall doesn't make a difference and it makes me feel like I have a purpose if I can help a struggling competitor. He was running without a pacer and I had Pam with me so the two of us got him to tag along at least for that sandy part where the footing was making things more challenging. His crew was blasting music from the car on demand for that section - this is allowed by the rules but the runners and pacers can't listen to music on their own devices. His crew also kept us cool with ice cold water which was super nice.

Chilling with Marc and his crew was nice. For the whole race I walked all the hills anyway.

However, my crew noticed that the competitor behind me picked up the pace for the second half of the run. So I said a rushed good bye to Marc and picked up the pace a little bit myself. I had a lot left in me, so it was not an issue. I ran the rest of the race at an honest but not too exhausting pace. To be honest, we let it become a bit tighter than I would have liked. Ideally, I would have liked at least a 10-min win, but a win is a win and there is no prize for winning by a bigger margin. It was perfect the way it was.

On the way back we were struggling with the red lights. It was very frustrating, especially knowing that the race was getting tighter and then I was standing at the red lights for long long minutes. We would press the pedestrian button but the lights just weren't changing when the flow of traffic went our way. We would stand there for 2 full cycles of lights before we eventually decided that the rules of the road allow us to go when our flow of traffic goes (it does). We might have been pressing the wrong button? I don't know, we were both Canadians. After a while we started pressing all the buttons!

I had already had a penalty from my ride. If I was going to get a second one that would have been 12 minutes. I knew I could overcome that and just go that much faster on the run, but the 3rd penalty is the DQ. Also, if I get a 12-minute penalty towards the end it might be too late to make up that difference. And the way it works is that there is no referee showing me a card or anything. They call the crew and tell them that I got a penalty. So I was paranoid of crossing any red lights even if the rules of the road allow for that because I was 2 penalties away from a DQ. I was just standing there for 3-4 minutes at each light very frustrated. I looked at it in a positive 'light' at first: "I'm getting a break from running, this is good, I will be able to continue stronger". But once the race was getting closer I wasn't so relaxed about it any more. It all worked out at the end so all was good, but I still don't know what we did wrong and why those lights never changed to green.

I spent 14 minutes at red lights and stop signs on my run. So my net running time was 8:21. Not great but not horrible either. 

Could I have run 20 minutes faster regardless? Theoretically, yes, but again, the harder I push myself, the higher the chance of blowing up. So maybe I could have and maybe I couldn't have. We would only know if the race was tighter.

My new favourite running shorts and the super stylish artist designed Injinji socks!


It was as ecstatic as it could be. The crew joined me for the last 100 meter / yards and we ran to the finish arch together. I loved having them there. They offered me to cross the finish line alone but I really wanted them to be with me. They made this race a reality and they made the experience special. They were the best.

Once I was through the finish, I set down in front of Steve King, who is Canadian and was the announcer for the race. He did an incredible job of making all of us feel like superstars. After 3 minutes and 5 seconds passed, he announced my win. 

Sitting with Steve King at the finish, waiting for 3 minutes and 5 seconds to pass

Only 2 minutes later the 2nd place runner, Anna from Mexico appeared, crossed the finish line and collapsed on the ground - fully healthy, just exhausted. Shortly, we found out why. Barely another 2 minutes later the third place runner and 2nd overall female appeared. After crossing the finish line, she disappointedly accepted that she was over 3 minutes behind me, which meant that she finished the race as 2nd woman.

It was an exciting finish and I'm glad it all played out in my favour. It was one of those magical races where everything clicked, everything worked out the way it was planned or better and everything went my way. I felt lucky and extremely happy with the whole three days. And now I'm reconsidering my original intentions of not going to the Ultraman Hawaii World Championship this year, haha... We'll see. It was definitely an unforgettable experience that I will cherish forever.


I would like to thank everyone who was involved in this success and there are many!

First and foremost, my crew: Pam, Britta, Mandy, Keith and Tom! I couldn't have done it without you!

The race organizers, Jen and all the staff and volunteers as well as Steve King for the commentary and the incredible photographers for documenting these amazing moments.

My family, my husband and the three girls, who put up with my training and racing; my biggest fan who is my mom and my sister and her family back in Hungary.

My sponsors for their support! Here they are:

Injinji toe socks - they kept my feet blister free on the run!

TheFeed - I fueled with drinks and gels from their HUGE selection

KetoneAid (use code VIKTORIA at check-out for free US shipping) - a game changer for me this year

Squirrel's Nut Butter lube - it kept me chafe-free all 3 days!

and the Running Free Canada running store - from where I get all my gear, including the new Saxx running shorts that I was using!

My coach, Sebastian Bialobrzeski whose main job is to hold me back when I'm about to do stupid sh*t haha...

All the people who were following online and rooting for me - I could absolutely feel the vibes!!!! And if you are reading this, you are one of them. Thank you!!!!