A POSSE of Stratford Triathlon Club members enjoyed success at the annual Copenhagen Ironman.
Along with the seven Stratford athletes, there was a strong contingent of supporters to cheer them through this gruelling event which is defined as the toughest one-day sporting event in the world.
First home in the beautiful Danish city for Stratford was Emma Bexson in a stunning time of 10.10.26. This resulted with first place in her age group and 15th female overall.
Bexson stuck to a rigid race plan which she demonstrated with superb accuracy and determination throughout the tough weather conditions.
Horizontal driving rain and winds challenged all the athletes throughout both the bike and the run, but the team supporters proved hugely beneficial throughout, keeping spirits high and motivation strong.
Second home from the club was James Cusack in 12.03.36. This was an excellent performance in his first full ironman finish and he thoroughly enjoyed every minute of his success.
Next home for the club was Alison Bagnall, who took 13th in her age group in what was a tough category of performance athletes.
Her time of 12.15.36 was a personal best over this distance and she said of her race: “The atmosphere on the run was superb and motivating through all four laps.”
Sam Nicholson was also new to the distance and, despite a persistent injury to his foot, he managed to complete the event in an impressive 13.15.14 whilst still smiling and enjoying the atmosphere.
The remaining trio of iron-distance finishers included Andy Smith in an exceptional time of 13.34.17 – a fantastic result on his first foray at this distance – and Smith will undoubtedly be back for more.
Smith was raising money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK in the hope he could use this challenge to show other sufferers they can push themselves beyond what they think is achievable.
Clive Shepherd, who has been unable to run for the last three months due to injury, had a solid swim and bike split and also exceeded his expectations with a negative split run, taking the first half very carefully before finding his rhythm in the second half to finish strongly in 14.55.27.
Club legend Richard Eden completed his first ironman distance and, despite being physically and mentally drained, he took a moment just before the finishing line to sink to his knees and propose to his lovely partner Cherry with a ring he had carried throughout the bike and run elements of the course.
They crossed the line together in 15:49:00 and, yes, the happy couple will be planning their future nuptials in due course, although let’s hope Richard does not plan on another Ironman for their honeymoon!
To complete the Stratford success over the weekend, Alex Adams ran the ‘Ironkids’ race over a course of just over 2km and led from start to finish to win by 65 seconds.