WEXFORD’S ALAN RYAN led Ireland’s charge at the Ironman World Championships in Kona last weekend, taking podium honours when he finished in the third in the 45-49 years age group.
On a swelteringly hot day with winds topping 35mph, Ryan was prepared for the conditions having simulated the humidity by training in the sauna of a local hotel. The countless hours of training paid off as he completed the course in 9:33:34, just over 15 minutes behind category winner Preben Jacobsen of Denmark.
The swimming conditions were challenging with a considerable current making the return leg of the 3.8km swim tough going. Ryan exited the swim, his weakest discipline, in 1:13 and 121st place but soon went to work over the 180km bike and steadily made his way through the field as he averaged close to 36kph for a shade over five hours.
With pacing and energy management vital, Ryan had his tactics spot on and left enough in the tank to finish with a marathon time of 3:10.
The Irish Ironman record holder Martin Muldoon also lived up to his billing and crossed the line as the first Irishman home. Muldoon had a strong showing across all three disciplines but finished it off with a 3:05 marathon, passing Ryan in the final miles. His finish time of 9:29:51 was good enough for 19th place in the fiercely competitive 35-39yrs age group.
Also in the 35-39yrs age group was Limerick’s Ivan O’Gorman. O’Gorman lost time during the swim, but biked and ran strongly to finish just 10 minutes off Muldoon.
Ireland’s only female representative, Sharon O’Hara, completed the course in 14:04:43. That was good enough for 22nd place in the 18-24 category.
While many suffered severely during the full-day endurance challenge, the entire Irish team performed well with all of them managing to complete the course well within the 17-hour cut-off.
In the PRO Division, fast-running Aussie Pete Jacobs won in 8:18:37, followed by Andreas Raelert of Germany who managed to pull away from Frederik Van Lierde in the final kilometres.
In the women’s race, Britain’s Leanda Cave used a 3:03 marathon to chase down the leaders off the bike. She took the lead with just three miles to go, winning in a time of 9:15:54. Caroline Steffen was second followed by Mirinda Carfrae in third.