The gap between what male and female athletes can achieve is closing and women it seems are catching up. Certainly in some endurance sports such as swimming, women often seem to fare far better over longer distances than men. When it comes to showcasing athletic abilities with an incredibly challenging fitness journey of power, determination and outstanding prowess, there are many female athletes who endure and have utilized their stamina and endurance to become top of their class as a result.
There are many women who stand out in endurance sports and who have in turn inspired some of the many female athletes across a range of sports. They have each pushed the boundaries of perception of what women athletes can achieve as they have smashed through pain thresholds to achieve world records and set the bar high.
Despite not even discovering sport until her 20s and battling an eating disorder in the past, English triathlete Chrissie Wellington has utterly transformed her life immensely to earn a place in the endurance athlete hall of fame. She is a four-time World Ironman Champion, coming first in 2007-2009 and one of only three women to achieve three consecutive victories. Her first win came a mere 10 months after turning professional She was also a champion in 2011. In 2009 she broke a 17-year standing record for the fastest course time of 8:54:02. She achieved a world-best time of 8:18:14 in 2011 for the Ironman distance world record too. Chrissie retired after a meteoric five year career, and continues to be an ambassador for sport.
A British world champion freediver born in the Cayman Islands, Tanya Streeter's women's world record 'no limits; freedive is still unbroken some 12 years on. She is a woman who has broken many worlds, making history with a descent of 400 feet (122 meters) and becoming the first person to break all four deep freediving world records. Her 2002 'no limits' dive saw her plunge 525 feet (160 meters) in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 3 minutes 26 seconds, breaking the men's record too which was 154 meters. The free dive involves descending on weighted equipment and ascending to the surface with the support of an inflatable bag.
One of the strongest names in ultrarunning, and a true female pioneer of the sport; Ann Trason's career is one of an endurance athlete at the top of her game, and then some. She was the top female winner of the renowned Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, not just once or twice, but 14 times! The Californian native broke 20 world records during her career. Interested in triathlons and endurance sports, a car accident that injured her arm shifted her focus to simply running and for many years she ran long distances faster than anyone. Several of her world record from the 90s still stand today. Over 20 years of running she won an amazing 49 out of 51 finishes!
Next month, we'll take a look at some more female endurance athletes who are at the forefront of sport and an inspiration for any woman on her own personal fitness journey, whatever the goals.