France's Sylvain Rota won Ironman Wales this afternoon in 8:52:43, including a new bike course record and a 2:52 marathon, while Regula Rohrbach obliterated the course record with 9:45:09 – 20mins faster than the previous best.
Daniel Halksworth had led out of the water in 44:07, and there was a steep, long run to T1, inlcuding come quite gravely roads and so many competitors chose to put on trainers for the run. Harry Wiltshere was in a close second, and he was hobbling slightly after falling foul of the unforgiving surface.
But by the end of the bike, Rota had taken command of the race and taken a 4min deficit out of 1 and transformed it into a 5min lead by T2. He and Halksworth had been out front together for a lot of the bike, but Rota made his move about 80miles into the bike, leaving the British athlete behind.
By the time the run was underway, the weather had turned from overcast into light rain, but Rota maintained his lead and came home for a maiden Ironman victory. Daniel Niederreiter came in second, and Christian Ritter third.
In the women's race, Natalie Barnard was first out of the water with Hilary Biscay hot on her heels. Regula Rohrbach was out third with a few minutes to make up, and Eimear Mullan, looking for a hat trick of UK Ironman wins (to go with Ironman UK and 70.3 UK) was slightly further back.
Once out on the bike, Rohrbach started to build an unassailable lead, building up a lead of almost 22mins by the time she returned to transition.
Out on the run Mullan gave her all to chase down the Swiss, but to lead was too great and Rohrbach raced home in 9:45:09 to take the win. Mullan was second (10:01:32) and Joanna Carritt third (10:12:34).
1 Sylvain Rota (FRA) 8:52:43
2 Daniel Niederreiter (AUT) 8:55:20
3 Christian Ritter (SUI) 8:58:49
4 Daniel Halksworth (GBR) 9:02:13
5 Karol Dzalaj (SVK) 9:12:21
1 Regula Rohrbach (SUI) 9:45:09
2 Eimear Mullan (IRL) 10:01:32
3 Joanna Carritt (GBR) 10:12:34
4 Kristin Lie (NOR) 10:16:27
5 Hillary Biscay (USA) 10:18:57