The speedy amateur athletes of IRONMAN Wales 2018
With a record sell-out entry of 2,800 athletes and almost 2,400 starters, the eighth edition of IRONMAN Wales in Tenby on Sunday was the biggest yet. Based on the (massive) crowds around the course and the feedback from hundreds of athletes, it may well have been the best yet too.
No tales of ‘biblical‘ weather this year, but this is still a remarkable event, one that the entire town and area embraces. It really is quite something to witness.
Having been in Tenby working alongside Joanne Murphy and Jay Luke on the commentary / announcing team all weekend, ironically, I’m a little behind on the updates over the weekend. Keeping the website up to speed is not really possible when you are working 17+ hour days and travelling (!), so here is the first step to getting back up to speed, a look at the Age-Group races.
A Welsh One-Two for the men – Outlaw revisited!
The top two Age-Group men in Tenby had a familiar look if you were at the Outlaw Triathlon back in July. On that day, Gareth Hodgson (30-34) lead for the vast majority of the marathon until he was caught by Joe Beech (25-29) with just 600m of the run remaining. Both Welshman, their rematch would take place on ‘home’ soil in Tenby.
This time around it was Gareth who won that battle. Off of the bike it was Sion Stansfield (30-34) who would eventually finish third fastest overall Age-Group athlete just a few seconds in front of Gareth, and both were in turn within a minute of the leader, Tenby resident and multiple Long Course Weekend winner, Oliver Simon. Carrying some injuries into the race, Oliver would eventually withdraw after two of the four lap run course. Starting the marathon Gareth was looking strong, having recently been training in France with Joe Skipper.
We know from the Outlaw how quick Joe Beech can be on the run, and while he was ‘only’ 14th off the bike and more than 17 minutes back, he could not be counted out. Hodgson would go on to clock a 3:14:33 marathon, while Beech was cutting through the field and stopped the clock at 3:03:13 for his 42.2km to move up to second place.
A winning return from Corinne Clarke
The women’s overall Age-Group race saw an impressive display from Corinne Clark (30-34). First out of the water (57:47), she was also first back to T2, by which time she had built a lead of almost five minutes over Finland’s Mirkha Vahtera. The Finnish athlete was able to chip away a few seconds from that lead in the early stages of the run, but never really threatened the catch, and by the finish Corinne had actually extended her lead by a few seconds, finishing with a 3:40:47 marathon, to cross the line just outside the 11-hour mark, for a gun-to-tape win.
Corinne is actually returning to triathlon after three years away racing bikes… but having broken too many bones in crashes, returned to her swim-bike-run roots. With that performance and Kona 2019 secured, she’s done so in impressive style. Remember that name, we expect to see more top results from Corinne in 2019.
Kona 2019 baby!!! @Corinne_Vitfor @iamspecialized @profeetcustom @yondasports @OTESportsGB #teamvitfor #forthewin #ironmanwales2018 pic.twitter.com/0xeOICSN4d
— Corinne Clark (@Corinne_Vitfor) September 10, 2018
Here are the overall top five AG times, followed by all of the category winners.
IRONMAN Wales, Tenby 2018: Fastest Age-Group athletes
1st – Corine Clarke (GBR) – 11:00:33 – AG 30-34
2nd -Mirkha Vahtera (FIN) – 11:06:04 – AG 30-34
3rd -Bettina Strehl (GER) – 11:31:19 – AG 40-44
4th – Anna Jenkins (GBR) – 11:34:24 – AG 35-39
5th -Taryn Roberts (GBR) – 11:36:39 – AG 25-29
1st – Gareth Hodgson (GBR) – 9:43:21 – AG 30-34
2nd – Joe Beech (GBR) – 9:49:58 – AG 25 -29
3rd – Sion Stansfield (GBR) – 9:52:23 – AG 30-34
4th -Thomas Lemaitre (FRA) – 9:53:03 – AG 35-39
5th – Lewis Eccleston (GBR) – 9:55:18 – AG 25-29
Great day yesterday at Ironman wales too end the season on a high securing my kona slot for 2019 with- @paulmsavage #savageplan @AgfaHealthCare #BTheBestUcanB #agfa @thesweatexperts #ironmanwales #ironman #kona #ironmanworldchampionships pic.twitter.com/B8R55q7O9h
— Lewis (@lewis93ecc) September 10, 2018
IRONMAN Wales Tenby 2018: Age-Group winners
18-24: Livia Eggler (SUI) – 11:58:48
25-29: Taryn Roberts (GBR) – 11:36:39
30-34: Corinne Clark (GBR) – 11:00:33
35-39: Anna Jenkins (GBR) – 11:34:24
40-44: Bettina Strehl (GER) – 11:31:19
45-49: Karen Watkins (GBR) – 11:47:01
50-54: Melanie Hayes (GBR) – 12:12:37
55-59: Jo Gundle (GBR) – 12:28:19
60-64: Judith Dutton (GBR) – 15:15:29
18-24: Finn Arentz (GBR) – 10:07:46
25-29: Joe Beech (GBR) – 9:49:58
30-34: Gareth Hodgson (GBR) – 9:43:21
35-39: Thomas Lemaitre (FRA) – 9:53:03
40-44: Yannick Henry (FRA) – 10:09:40
45-49: Paul Lewis (GBR) – 10:08:57
50-54: Martin Schulz (GER) – 10:46:13
55-59: William Schweiger (GER) – 10:47:39
60-64: Stephen Redman (GBR) – 12:03:29
65-69: Gerrard Turbitt (GBR) – 13:05:02
70-74: David Borrell (GBR) – 14:44:17