Two of the fittest athletes in the area put their bodies through the ultimate test when they took on the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on Saturday.
Kona is the ultimate test of a triathlete, with the challenging course and the athletes’ stop at nothing exploits, like Julie Moss crwling over the finish line in 1982, earning the race a place in sporting legend.
On Saturday Rutland triathlete Roger Canham and Stamford’s Paul Cowling made their own piece of Kona history, returning to Hawaii to take part in the race again, having tackled the 140.6 mile course in 2014.
The iconic course saw the athletes swim 2.4 miles in the Pacific Ocean and cycle 112 miles and run a marathon, 26.4 miles, through the barren lava fields of Kona on the Big Island of Hawai’i battling temperatures of 41 degrees celsius.
Most people don’t get to test themselves even once at Kona. With just 1,900 of the top endurance athletes from around the world qualifying for the event it is for the creme de la creme of the sport. However for Canham and Cowling the 2015 race was about trying to better last year’s effort.
Although slightly slower overall than last year Canham, 51, came in one place better in his age division and 14 places better in the overall rankings.
North Luffenham based Canham got stronger as the race went on, coming out of the water in 1.11:45 in 1019th place, but he picked up more than 300 places on the bike ride (5.17:58) and went past another 357 people over the marathon run, which he completed in a remarkable 3.21:26.
A month earlier on August 30, Canham completed the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Zell Am See-Kaprun Austria, in a time of 4.47:37, ninth in his age group and 376th overall.
Stamford’s Paul Cowling made a remarkable improvement on his Kona performance last year, bettering his overall time by more than half an hour and coming an insane 333 places higher than 2014.
This year the 30-year-old, finished in 9.36:52 to finish 142nd overall.
He completed the swim in 1.01:47 to come out the water in 289th, improved his position to 186th with a cycle of 4.59:52 and then gained a further 44 places over the run which he finished in 3.26:01.
The remarkable performance saw Cowling improve his split times in each area of the race on 2014
l Ketton Panthers Junior Triathlon Club has run, biked and swam its way to securing an impressive third place position in the prestigious East Midlands Triathlon Series.
Competing against regional clubs from Loughborough, Lincoln and Leicester the third place finish represents a significant improvement in overall club achievement.
Head coach, Caroline Hattee said:“We are especially delighted by our podium finish in the East Midlands Series. Ketton is a tiny Rutland village and East Midlands is widely recognised as the strongest triathlon competing region in the country recently winning gold at the national championships. Well done Panthers.”
There was also success for Ketton School. Several pupils, all of whom are members of the Ketton Panthers Junior Triathlon Club, fought off fierce competition at the recent Oakham Triathlon to win the Leicester Racetime Schools Trophy for the third year running. Hattee said: “We are thrilled to have achieved first, second and third place finishes across many of the groups.”