RUTLAND triathlete Zoe Smith produced a spectacular performance in her debut Ironman distance race at Ironman UK, Bolton.
On what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year so far, on Sunday, July 22, Zoe, racing for Team Tri UK, and a member of Rutland Running and Triathlon Club, completed the 2.4mile open water swim, 112 mile hilly cycle and 26.2 mile marathon distance run in a total time of 11 hours 22 minutes to finish fourth her 4th in her 30-34 age group, eighth overall in field of 135 women to cross the finish line, and an incredible 121st out of more than 1,000 athletes to complete the course.
The 2.4 mile swim was two laps of Pennington Flash with an Australian exit after the first lap when the swimmers leave the water for a short run before diving back in for the second lap.
This was followed by 112 miles on the bike which took competitors over an undulating course with a challenging climb at the start of each of the three laps.
The cycle section ended with a quick transition ahead of a straight run into Bolton town centre via the canal before three loops around the town which included one testing hill on each lap exiting the town centre.
Zoe was coached to success by Mary Hardwick of Inspire2tri and she said “I owe a great deal of thanks to Mary who has provided me with a flawless, well structured training plan over the past seven months.
“Mary has enabled me to go into the race, not only to complete the distance but to also be highly competitive in a strong women’s field which included five professional triathletes and Rebecca Romero (only the second woman in history to win Olympic medals in two different summer Olympic sports).”
Zoe added: “The atmosphere along the course was electric, especially in the town centre where everyone wanted to ‘high-five’ you, which really spurred me on to finish strongly in the soaring heat. It was the best possible start to my Ironman career.”