Karen Axelsdóttir, a 36-year-old Icelandic mother of two who works as a triathlon trainer in London, learned on Monday that she had qualified for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii by completing Ironman Austria in 9:24.31 hours on Sunday.
Swimming in an ocean or lake is part of an Ironman triathlon. The photo is unrelated to the story. By Páll Stefánsson.
“I made it; this is such an honor, unbelievable, just fantastic,” Axelsdóttir told Morgunbladid, adding that she was surprised to qualify as most qualifiers are men and sometimes it isn’t even enough to top one’s own age category.
On Sunday she broke her own Icelandic record and the Icelandic record among men, set by Steinn Jóhannsson, placed second in her age category, third across all age categories and 11th among professional and hobby female athletes; 411 women finished the race.
Axelsdóttir first participated in Ironman in Australia last year and has now improved her real time by 20 minutes. In Australia she was mainly focused on completing the race but this time she decided to do her best. “I gave it all I could and it worked out.”
Ironman consists of 3.8 kilometers of swimming in an ocean or lake, 180.2 kilometers of cycling and 42.2 kilometers of running—a full marathon.
It is considered by many to be the toughest organized race one can enlist in and the World Championship is the most trying.
Axelsdóttir completed the swimming in one hour, the cycling in 5:06 hours and the marathon in 3:11 hours.
Click here to read about Axelsdóttir’s achievements in Ironman Australia.