The Unstoppable Natascha Wins in South Africa a 4th Time!

On a windy and cold day in the Eastern Cape, Natascha Badmann takes the lead from her fellow countryman Simone Brandli at the 23km mark on the run to win by 5 minutes and 16 seconds, finishing at 9 hours 47 minutes and 10 seconds. Diana Riesler rounds out the podium for 3rd.  At 45 years old, Badmann proves that age is no obstacle for champions and that experience pays off.

After a bad bike crash due to a misplaced orange cone at Kona in 2007, it was thought that Badmann might be on the road to retirement. But she fought back to recover, showing up in 2008 and every time since. With the new KPR points system, past Kona winners are no longer able to toe the line unless they’ve received enough ranking points. How do you feel about this controversial rule? Should past winners continue to be able to start at Kona without qualifying? Or should those only with enough qualifying points?


2 thoughts on “The Unstoppable Natascha Wins in South Africa a 4th Time!

  1. I definitely think past Kona championships should be able to enter Kona. I had thought the rule was they don’t get an automatic entry as a pro, but once they stop competing pro they get an automatic age group entry – is this a misinterpretation on my part?

  2. I think the new rules are confusing and that was part of the controversy–that the pros no longer get automatic entry as an age grouper or pro unless they can qualify. Upon reading the rules, I made a mistake. Natascha is now qualified for Kona because she’s completed a full Iron distance race. She may also have enough points by August to be in the top 30, which means it will go to 31 women.

    Here are the automatic qualifying rules from

    ◦Past Kona champions will receive an invitation/exemption to enter the pro division in Kona for a period of five years after their last championship.
    ◦Past champions will not be required to qualify in the KPR during this five-year period.
    ◦Past champions entering as pros will be required to validate their entry by completing one full-distance Ironman race, excluding Kona, during the Qualifying Year. (Natascha is qualified)
    ◦Automatic Qualifiers will be accepted into Kona in addition to the 80 pro slots. If, for example, a returning champion is ranked in the top 30 women, the 31st ranked woman will qualify for Kona.

    Thanks for the question Donna! Your answer was correct under the old rules. And I agree with you–let the past champions compete! Elizabeth

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