A strong triathlon team represented Ireland at the Ironman World Championships in Kona over the weekend. The early morning weather forecast suggested relatively cool conditions and low wind. Instead they got a swelteringly hot and humid day with winds topping 35mph on exposed sections of the Hawaii lava fields.
Wexford’s Alan Ryan was prepared for the conditions having simulated the heat and humidity by training in the sauna of a local hotel and in the heat of his attic. The countless hours of training paid off as he claimed an impressive 3rd place in the 45-49 years age group.
The swimming conditions were challenging with a considerable current making the return leg of the 3.8km swim tough going. Ryan exited the swim, his weakest discipline in 1hr 13mins and 121st place in his division. Ryan soon went to work over the 180km bike and steadily made his way through the field as he averaged close to 36kph for a shade over 5 hours. At this distance pacing and energy management is vital and Ryan had this spot on. He left enough in the tank to finish with a 3 hour 10 minute marathon, completing the course in 9:33:34.
The Irish Ironman Record Holder, Martin Muldoon also lived up to his billing and crossed the line as the first Irishman home. Muldoon had a strong showing across all 3 disciplines but finished it off with a 3 hour 5 minute marathon passing Ryan in the final miles.
“That was hard! Some of the worst conditions yet for me in Kona.” Commented the Derry man.
His finish time of 9:29:51 was good enough for 19th place in the fiercely competitive 35-39yrs age group.
Also in the 35-39yrs age group Limerick’s Ivan O’Gorman has a successful outing. O’Gorman lost time during the swim but biked and ran strongly to finish just 10 minutes off Muldoon.
Ireland’s only female representative, Sharon O’Hara of the Liquid Motion Triathlon Club completed the course in 14:04:43. That was good enough for 22nd place in the 18-24yrs division.
While many suffered severely during the full day endurance challenge the entire Irish team performance well with all of them managing to complete the course well within the 17 hour cut off.
In the PRO Division, current World Record holder Marino Vanhoenacker had built a lead going into the run. He pushed on for the first portion of the marathon however the fast running Aussi, Pete Jacobs was eating into his advantage. The punishing pace and heat finally got to the Belgium World Record Holder and he was passed sitting on the side of the road unable to finish the race. Jacobs went on to win in 8:18:37 followed by Andreas Raelert of Germany who managed to pull away from Frederik Van Lierde in the final kilometres.
In the women’s race Britain’s Leanda Cave used a 3:03 marathon to chase down the leaders off the bike. She took the lead with just 3 miles to go, winning in a time of (;15:54. Caroline Steffen was 2nd followed by Mirinda Carfrae in 3rd.
Irish Results Below