Ironman joy for Harriers triathletes in Exmoor

Bedford Harriers tackled the Ironman UK 70.3
Bedford Harriers tackled the Ironman UK 70.3

There were trophies galore for the 19-strong team of Bedford Harriers who tackled the Ironman UK 70.3 in Exmoor at the weekend.

Wimbleball Lake on Exmoor is the venue for the only Ironman 70.3 race in the UK and is one of the toughest triathlon courses in the world over this distance.

The 1.9k-swim takes place in the beautiful Wimbleball lake – this year a balmy 17 degrees; the cycle route covers 56 miles of very hilly road through the national park; and the 13.1-mile run course is mainly off road and once again tackles the hills around the lake.

The Bedford Harriers relay team were dealt a blow when runner Ian Hammet was injured at the last minute, so Marianne Williamson stepped in to take his place.

In the end the team of Simon North (swim), Justin Burrell (cycle) and Williamson (run) swept to victory over 38 other teams in 5.04 hours.

The second victory of the day came for Gill Fullen, who secured another age group win by coming first in her 50-54 age category in a time of 5:22:53 and also finishing as sixth lady overall.

Second place in the same age category went to a very happy Alison Cooper, who completed the course in 6:29:03.

Nora Haggart completed the ladies’ placings with a second position in the 55-59 age group in 6:21:21, while Richard Piron took third place in the 60-65 age group with a finishing time of 6:17:59.

Steve Gaunt was attempting his first half-ironman distance triathlon and completed the course in 7.47 hours, while other Harriers to take on and conquer the challenging course were Geoff Cooper, Alastair Fadden, Tony Parello, Ian Joyce, Simon Fisher, Jason Lee, Sean McGilligan, Keith Gray, Juliet Smith, Steve Crane and Eva Kovacs.

To add to the successes of the weekend, 14-year-old Billy Fadden was the clear winner of the Ironkids 2k race, over a similarly hilly off-road course.

Congratulations also go to Eimar Mullen, who won the overall ladies’ title in 4:52:16 to successfully defend her Ironman UK 70.3 title for the third time.

Mullen lived, worked and trained in Beford, before becoming a professional triathlete and her racing career is closely followed by her friends and fans in the area.