TRIATHLON: A TEAM of 14 Chester Tri Club members jetted to the Canary Islands to compete in the formidable Ironman Lanzarote last Saturday.
This ultra-distance triathlon, held from Puerto del Carmen, involved a 3.8k sea swim followed by a 180k bike ride and a 42.2k marathon run.
The sub-tropical heat coupled with a bike course around the island's volcanoes in the face of a relentless wind has earned this competition the reputation of being the toughest Ironman triathlon in the world.
'It is quite remarkable, if not a record, to have so many athletes from a single club competing in the event,' said club captain Andy White. 'And the majority of them were doing an Ironman for the first time and completed the race - a fantastic achievement by any standards.'
Their performances were a tribute, and result of, the months of long, hard preparation with dozens of gruelling hours spent each week training in all three disciplines.
Gavin Canning powered in first for Chester in 11 hours 23 minutes 24 seconds, having produced the fastest bike leg of the group. The fastest swimmer was Jeff Nagle who emerged from the water after only 58 minutes 33 seconds, while his bike leg was jeopardised by a collision with a motorbike that necessitated a wheel being replaced, he still romped home in 11:44.46.
A whisker behind him was Keith Fraser (11:45.11), followed by Iain Parsons (12:07), Chris Marshall (12:38.08) and Nigel O'Connell (12:38.26).
Julian MacDonald may have been one of the last out of the water but he went on to run the fastest marathon time for the club in 3:38.04, to finish in 12:48.18 in what was, astonishingly, his first triathlon of any kind.
Equally impressive times were recorded by Mark Worrall (12:49.34), Mark Bennett (13:20.09) and Chris Morgan, who fell into a lava bed as he tried to get his chain back on while on the move (13:39.56).
Then came Linda Worrall, the first Chester Tri Club lady home in 13:42:25, followed by Ritchie Roberts (14:13:04), Kenny Davenport (14:53:43) and Sally Napthen (15:28:34).
'It was the most physical swim I've ever done,' said Chris Morgan. 'Absolute mayhem! Yet the weather was kinder to us than it might have been and the support around the course was phenomenal. Finishing was an emotional experience for all of us - an event we'll never forget.'