In the lead up to the 2016 Ironman World Championships in Kona we highlighted the full listing of GB & Ireland entrants who had made it to the big island of Hawaii.
So, how did they all do? Well, here are the results for the MEN. ALL OF THEM.
In aggregate, it wasn’t the best of days for the five British Pro athletes racing – yet one managed to set the fastest time ever from a British athlete at the IRONMAN World Championship.
11th last year on his debut in Hawaii, David McNamee actually dropped back two places to 13th this year. With the prize purse rolling down to the top ten places, the six minutes between himself and tenth placed Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) will be a painful one (to the tune of $10,000), but there was some consolation – David’s finishing time of 8:28:05 is the fastest ever by a British athlete in Hawaii, surpassing the the 8:29:02 set by Tome Lowe in 2011, when finishing 11th.
While he didn’t have the fastest run time this year (that went to Patrick Lange (GER) who set a blistering course record of 2:39:45 on the way to third place), 2:49:56 was another strong effort from the Scottish athlete who tops the ‘fastest Brit’ table for a second consecutive year in Hawaii.
The day didn’t go so well for the other four British Pro’s. Joe Skipper ‘rolled the dice’ on the bike and it looked like it was going to pay off too. In the company of Sebastian Kienle and Michael Weiss among others, he got within 30 seconds of the leading group, eliminating his swim deficit before “I just blew up. Literally went backwards after that and could barely turn the pedals. Sometimes you have to take a chance and I’ve raced this race twice now with different tactics each time.”
Joe would have company to the finish however, as Will Clarke was having a very tough introduction to Kona – which many before and after him will also suffer!
“I’m really proud of myself for choosing the difficult option to keep in the spirit of Ironman that most of the 2500 other athletes do and muscle it round to the finish carpet, rather then pull the plug and go home feeling even worse. That’s just not the Ironman spirit!”
It was also a day of contrasts for Harry Wiltshire. In excellent form this year with wins at IRONMAN Vichy and IRONMAN 70.3 Weymouth, Wiltshire took the kudos for leading out the opening 2.4 mile swim. He went with the pace too and, like Joe Skipper, didn’t play the percentages game – and paid for that bravery later on in the day.
Like Harry and David, Tim Don was also in a great position after the swim and through the early stages of the bike before his day would come to an abrupt end:
For the Age-Group Men, there was just one podium (top five in Hawaii) finish from the British and Irish contingent, and that went to the second fastest British athlete overall on the day, Andrew Greenleaf (30-34) from Team Freespeed. It was a close one though; so swift are the athletes in Hawaii that his 9:08:27 on his debut was just 14 seconds ahead of sixth place. Those seconds are key however, as that means that Andy will return home with the coveted Umeke.
The fastest Irish athlete on Saturday and a man who certainly made some headlines with his biking was Irish Ironman record holder, Bryan McCrystal. The first Age-Group athlete overall off the bike, he would finish 12th in the 35-39 division.