Not sure the legs are going to hold up tonightâ€ was the fear from some as the Lanzarote Ironman Awards Party kicked off last night to reward those whose superhuman achievements had taken them to a podium place.
It was a dark and chilly start to the event this year as 1500 athletes lined up on Playa Grande, spurred on by an enthusiastic crowd who had sacrificed sleep to lend their support to the pre-dawn start. At the swim section Rachel Joyce and Natasha Badman led the field for the women while Konstantin Bachor and Timo Bracht set the pace for the men.
It was a fast swim section, the conditions and tide proving favourable for the athletes and the leaders emerging from the water in under fifty minutes.
As predicted, it was the cycle section that proved the toughest test for many with the wind being â€œbrutalâ€ in some parts as one athlete described it and even some rain making an appearance during this section. Rachel Joyce maintained her lead for the women with Natasha Badman just five minutes behind her at the start, but Rachel increased that lead to eight minutes by time she returned to Puerto del Carmen. Konstantin Bachor and Timo Bracht continued to lead the field for the men with less than four minutes between them.
Local pro triathlete and Sands Beach Resort sponsored participant, Nico Ward began the cycle section in 20th position but quickly pulled out the stops for an incredible ride, gaining five places to 15th by the time he reached Famara and another four to get him to 11th slot at Los Valles. Coming into his strongest section, the marathon, Nico was looking determined to raise his game even further.
Back in Puerto del Carmen as the spectators waited for the first of the bikes to appear, the sun finally decided to join us, blazing from behind the clouds to add an even tougher dimension to the marathon. As the first wheels came into sight, rumours spread of a new record for the event, adding to the excitement and the party atmosphere being fuelled by the music and entertainment.
To tumultuous support from the crowds, the athletes began their final test under a fierce sun. First to cross the finish line, having made up the gap between him and Bachor to snatch the lead and take the tape in record-breaking time, was Timo Bracht. Bachor came in second place just four and a half minutes behind Bracht. Rachel Joyce maintained the lead she had taken right from the swim to finish in first place for the women and just three and a half minutes short of breaking the record which has been held by Paula Newby-Fraser since 1995.
After an incredibly exciting battle for fourth, fifth and sixth place, Nico Ward finished in fifth position with a run time of 2:50:37 taking his total time to an incredible 09:02:45. Congratulations, Nico, we’re all so proud of you!
As always, Ironman Lanzarote proved to be an incredible day. A huge debt of gratitude goes to all those who participated, volunteered and supported the race and to those who provided live coverage throughout the day. A special thank you also goes to James at James Mitchell Photography for his awesome photos.
We’re already looking forward to 2012.
1 Timo Bracht GER 08:30:34
2 Konstantin Bachor GER 08:44:06
3 Esben Hovgaard DEN 08:54:38
4 Joel Jameson GBR 09:01:49
5 Nicholas Peter Ward MuÃ±oz GBR 09:02:45
6 Gregorio Caceres Morales ESP 09:03:46
1 Rachel Joyce GBR 09:28:12
2 Natascha Badmann SUI 09:43:40
3 Karina Ottosen DEN 10:10:15
4 Heidi Jesberger GER 10:28:33
5 Emma Ruth Smith GBR 10:31:08
6 Angela Niklaus SUI 10:34:05