Triathlon World champion Gwen Jorgensen appears to have improved her running even more in the offseason.
The sport’s greatest runner extended her record streak with a sixth straight World Triathlon Series victory in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. True to form, she overcame a deficit going into the run and easily won.
The 2012 Olympian was around one minute behind at the beginning of the final 5km in the United Arab Emirates capital. She ended up winning by 16 seconds over countrywoman Katie Zaferes, who claimed her first career World Triathlon Series podium (full results here).
“You know [Jorgensen] could run professionally, so to be doing all three sports really well is really cool,” Zaferes said. “It’s really inspiring.”
In 2014, Jorgensen routinely erased deficits in 10km runs in Olympic-distance races, including 69 seconds in the Grand Final in Edmonton on Aug. 30.
She passed a different test Saturday, sprinting at half the Olympic distance. Jorgensen won a pair of sprint triathlons last season, but her deficits going into those 5km runs last year were far smaller.
“I didn’t really have the swim I wanted to,” said Jorgensen, who trailed by 38 seconds after the 750m swim, “but I’m shocked with how fast I ran.”
Zaferes’ result was perhaps more remarkable as she had never finished better than seventh in a World Triathlon Series race.
The U.S. can send a maximum of three women to the Rio 2016 Olympics. Jorgensen and Sarah True, who were one-two in last year’s standings, appear favorites to take two of those spots.
Later Saturday, American Alan Webb finished 56th in the men’s race, 4:48 behind Spanish winner Mario Mola. (full results here)
Webb, the U.S. record holder in the mile, switched from track and field to triathlon last year and was making his individual World Triathlon Series debut.
The World Triathlon Series heads to Auckland for the next stop in three weeks.