Rutland Running and Triathlon Club athlete Zoe Smith smashed her World Ironman Championship personal best when competing in Hawaii.
It was Smith’s third time in the competition which was celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
And she returned a time of 10hrs 35mins 18secs despite having to endure temperatures which were close to 100 degrees.
Zoe enthused: “Going into the race I had a secret goal of going just under the 11 hour mark.
“Despite all of the curve balls thrown at me during the race I crossed the line in 10.35.18, taking nearly an hour off my previous finish time.”
The event started with a 3.8km swim which Zoe completed in one hour and five minutes.
She explained: “The swim was a straight forward right-handed loop in the Pacific Ocean.
“The main aim was to avoid being stung by the Portuguese Man ‘o’ War jelly fish which had taken up residency on the swim course in the week prior.
“My time was excellent for a non-wetsuit swim and even more impressive to have avoided the sting of the jellyfish.”
That was followed by a 180km bike race which Zoe completed in five hours 28 minutes despite encountering her first troubles of the event.
She continued: “I was coming out of the first transition and went for another gear on the rear cassette and nothing happened.
“Luckily the gears were left in the middle of the gearing so at the first opportunity I tried to repair them but to no avail.
“An official mechanic appeared at the top of the road. Unfortunately, after what seemed like an eternity, the mechanic also admitted defeat.
“This necessitated a third stop up the road where I tried to manually move the chain into an easier gear, but it wouldn’t budge. I had two choices – I either stopped now with a broken bike or carry on.
“I refused to give in without a fight and rode for 112 miles, just flicking between front two chain rings as all pacing and power parameters went out of the window.
“Someone was definitely looking out for me as, beyond my wildest dreams, I made it in the fastest bike split in any of my Ironman races.”
Zoe completed the final marathon in three hours 52 minutes to finish 26th in her category while being the first British athlete to cross the line.
She added: “The excitement of finishing the ride compensated for the tired legs and it was awesome seeing my overall time.”
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