A new Wimbleball champion was crowned yesterday on Father’s Day – Britain’s Will Clarke held off nearest rival Harry Springall to cross the line in 4:18:07 and take the win in front of his seven-month-old son Freddie.
In the men’s pro field, a large leading pack emerged from the 1.9km lake swim including Mark Threlfall, Dan Halksworth, Will Clarke and Johann Ackermann followed by chasing athletes including defending champion Ritchie Nicholls, Paul Hawkins and Harry Springall over a minute behind.
As the lead pack headed off onto the 90km notoriously tough two-lap bike course that covers some 1190m of climbing, Clarke and Ackermann made their move, steadily pulling away as leaders and headed into T2 neck and neck.
Once on the run though, Clarke managed to build a two-minute cushion on his closest rival Springall over the first 7km. With Halksworth out due to injury, this lead increased to nearly 5mins by the time he crossed the finish line to take his first 70.3 win.
“It’s a great feeling to have won today,” said Clarke post-race. “It’s been a couple of years coming and I’m stoked to have won especially on fathers day with Freddie watching. I knew Ritchie was closing me down – a bit too close for my liking as he’s a hearty runner, so I’m really pleased.”
In the smaller women’s pro field, double 70.3 UK Champion Eimear Mullan proved too strong once again. Whilst age grouper Katie Henderson led the females out of the water in an impressive 25:58mins giving her a good two-minute lead, Eimear was quick to make it up on the bike.
Pushing hard with little pressure from the chasing pack, Mullan steadily built her lead up to over 11mins to cross the finish line in 4:52:16, posting a time of nearly 5mins faster than 2013 and taking her third consecutive win.
On crossing the finish line Eimear said, “This is my favourite race. It was totally different this year in terms of the weather and competition but that doesn’t take away my win at all. I pushed hard and really enjoyed it.”
Provisional Results Top 5 PRO Men
1. Will Clarke (GBR) – 4:18:07
2. Harry Springall (GBR) – 4:23:31
3. Ritche Nicholls (GBR) – 4:26:32
4. Rhys Davey (GBR) – 4:30:12
5. Hector Guerra (ESP) – 4:31:09
Provisional Results Top 3 PRO Female
1. Eimear Mullan (IRE) – 4:52:16
2. Jo Carritt (GBR) – 5:03:23
3. Amy Forshaw (GBR) – 5:23:44
Top 3 Age Group Males- Overall
1. Stephen Skates (35-39) – 4:40:06
2. Keith Sanders (30-34) – 4:44:48
3. Chris Nicholls (25-29) – 4:47:58
Top 3 Age Group Females – Overall
1. Nikki Bartlett (25-29) – 5:02:53
2. Vicky Gill (30-34) – 5:07:26
3. Katie Henderson – 5:08:53
For full results head here.
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