Triathlon ace strikes up gold in world-class field
Great British triathlete Eleanor Haresign recorded her best result to date when topping the podium at the inaugural Weymouth Challenge Ironman event
Haresign belied expectation to beat off eight other professional racers from across the world and bag herself the €8,000 first prize.
She had finished the 1.9km shortened swim 90 seconds behind Austrian Michi Herlbauer before launching a break on the bike leg.
By the end of the 180km cycle, she had established a 2.28 minute lead which she increased during the marathon run.
In only her second attempt at the maximum triathlon distance, Haresign completed the course in eight hours 54.41 minutes, more than five minutes ahead of Great British teammate Joanna Carritt.
The Harorgate athlete said: “I exceeded all my expectation. I didn’t go there thinking I was going to win it.
“I hadn’t raced any of the women before and they all had a far better track record than me.
“I thought, if I can just improve my race performance, and not be last of the professional women but beat all the age groupers, I would be happy.
The Weymouth course took competitors along the south coast and double-backed against each other, allowing the competitors to track how far they were ahead of their rivals.
“It was just quite surreal,” added Haresign, who won the Triathlon England National Duathlon Championships .
“I kept thinking, why haven’t they caught me up yet? Why am I still in front?
“I just maintained my pace better than them. I managed to keep a robotic pace going.”
Fellow Harrogate athlete Caroline Livesey also competed, and was in contention after a strong bike leg.
However, she had to withdraw in the late stages of the run, I think with a sore foot.
She is due to be competing with her husband Mark at the Ironman World Championships in Kona Hawaii next week.
Harsesign will head to Barcelona later this month to tackle another monster endurance race as she bids to qualify for the 2015 World Championships.
“I just hope this isn’t the only time I win an Ironman event,” she added.