On a beautiful day in Pembrokeshire three British athletes claimed half of the six medals on offer at Ironman Wales today, with Amy Forshaw and Amy Ogden taking gold and bronze respectively in the women's race, and Fraser Cartmell earning silver in the men's.
Tenby-based pro athlete Ollie Simon gave the locals plenty to cheer about in the men's race, leaving the swim in second place just over a minute behind the leader Peru Alfaro San Ildefonso of Spain, followed off Tenby's North Beach and up the 'zig zag' to T1 by South Africa's Matt Trautman.
Other British athletes in the top ten as they reached transition were Fraser Cartmell, Paul Hawkins and Thomas Hill, with Austria's Daniel Niederreiter arriving just a second ahead of Cartmell, winner of this year's British middle distance champs.
San Ildefonso managed to keep the chasers at bay for almost all of the first half of the bike leg, before being caught by a chase pack led by Cartmell, which also included Trautman – who has recently started working with renowned coach Brett Sutton – and Niederreiter.
With record-breaking crowds cheering them on, Trautman made his move around the 125km mark. Cartmell went with him, and together the two athletes arrived in T2 around 4:30mins ahead of their nearest rivals, Niederreiter and San Ildefonso.
On to the run and the two leaders were neck-and-neck as they finished the first run lap of four, while Spain's San Ildefonso clung on for third over 5mins behind. With spectators starting to wonder if the win would come down to a WTS-style sprint finish, Trautman made a decisive move early on in lap three, and eventually crossed the line in 9:07:28.
In the women's race, Andrea Mason (GBR) led out of the dip with Germany's Heike Funk and Sarah Hempenstall (GBR) close behind as they went up the 'zig zag' to T1. There were just two pro women racing – Amy Forshaw (GBR) and Julia Bohn (GER), with Forshaw reaching transition in tenth position. Mason turned up the pressure on the bike, building up a substantial early lead before being caught by Funk, racing in the 45-49 category.
Mason (racing in the 30-34 category) held on to second position as the women reached the halfway point of the bike, around 5:30mins down on Funk and less than ten seconds ahead of Forshaw, before conceding her spot to Forshaw with just over 70km to go of the bike.
Forshaw proceeded to close down the gap with the leader Funk and eventually managed to catch her before T2, leaving the bike 45secs ahead of the German age-grouper. By the time she left transition this gap had widened to over a minute, with Belgium's Caroline Devos overtaking Mason to head out on the run in third position.
With the sun beating down Forshaw increased her lead over Funk to 8mins by the 8km mark, then 12:40 by the 14km mark. The second half of the run then saw lots of overtaking manoeuvres, with Bohn, Ogden and Jill Cliff (GBR) all moving into the top five as they neared the finish. Forshaw held on to her lead and crossed the line for gold in 9:48:46, followed by Bohn and Ogden, with Cliff just edged out into fourth.
For full results head here.
(Images: Dirty Green Trainers)
Were you racing in Tenby today? How did you get on? Let us know in the comments below!