Tri Spirit Team athletes were racing all over the world last weekend, with three athletes plus supporters travelling to Italy for Ironman racing last weekend.
Nick Whitfield, Andy Stewart and Deb Milton were all taking on the epic Ironman Italy race in Emilia-Romagna , which consisted of 2.4 miles sea swim, 112 mile bike section and a marathon to finish.
The water temperature for the sea swim was a balmy 24.5 degrees Celsius, which would normally mean athletes were banned from wearing wetsuits. However, officials and organisers made the decision to allow wetsuits for the athletes’ safety, as there were so many jellyfish in the water it would have resulted in too many athletes suffering from stings. Stewart knew only too well what damage these can cause, after suffering a crippling sting across is chest in a practice swim.
Whitfield was chasing a five-year dream of wanting to go sub 11 hours for the first time. After working on his weakest element for months, the swim training really paid off for Whitfield and he exited the sea in 1.21.25, smashing his previous times for an Ironman swim. Onto the bike and the flat fast route was just ideal for Whitfield’s strength, and he completed the two-lap course in a blistering 5.28.21. A sub 4-hour marathon was required to achieve the five-year goal, and Whitfield smashed his target, running an amazingly steady marathon in 3.52.29. He ran down the finish chute and crossed the line in 10.56.44 and the dream was achieved.
Stewart, who was racing his first Ironman, was always looking forward to the swim, and exited just behind the female pros in 1 hour 47 secs. Onto the bike and with the temperatures rising Stewart put in a fast bike split of 5.49.29. Great pacing for a first Ironman. Onto the run, and this section is never easy, but Stewart stayed focused and got the race done with a very credible marathon time of 5.02.31, to complete his first Ironman in 12.13.29.
Milton was racing her second Ironman and wanted to get to the finish and be able to celebrate the finish line. The swim has previously been her nemesis, but she overcame both the swim and the sea to complete a great swim in 1.22.09, which managed to banish some demons.
A super steady bike section saw Milton finish the bike in 6.47.08, leaving her with fresh legs for the run – her favourite discipline. The marathon was a breeze for Milton, and she ran a consistent run in 4.28.48, crossing the finish in 13.01.18 which was also a new personal best time.
Elsewhere, Jonathan Leeson raced the London to Brighton mountain bike event which covered 95K off road, no mean feat especially in the changeable weather conditions.
Team-mate Gemma Carter-Collins took on the Sprint Plus triathlon at Hever Castle, and was racing in open water for the first time. She finished fourth in her age group and was fifth female overall, in a great time of 2.28.38.