The second edition of Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire on Sunday dawned still and calm, with the surface of Chasewater reservoir resembling a mirror.
Over 2,000 athletes set off in conditions that promised fast swim times, and they didn’t disappoint. Peter Kerr (AUS) was first out of the water in 22:50mins, closely followed by Brits Harry Wiltshire and Mark Threlfall. South Africa’s Matt Trautman was out in sixth place, 1:41mins off the pace of the leaders.
The lead changed several times over the course of the bike leg, with Threlfall, Markus Thomschke (GER) and Trautman all holding the lead over the course of the 90km bike leg. Harry Wiltshire was ever present, but it was Thomschke who reached T2 first with Trautman only a second behind. They’d a clear 2min lead at the start of the run over Threlfall and Wiltshire in third and fourth.
Trautman immediately surged ahead of Thomschke and the man known as ‘The Captain’ continued to build his lead over the run course. A blistering 1:14:29 run saw Trautman claim the Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire title in a time of 3:56:28. The battle for second was very close, with Wiltshire surging past Thomschke 500m from the finish line to take second.
In the women’s race, rising Brit pro Lucy Charles led Brits Nicole Walters and Kimberley Morrison out of the water. After a strong start on the bike, Morrison passed both Walters and Charles to take the lead by 39km, which she held for the rest of the bike leg. Meanwhile Lucy Gossage, sixth after the swim, was closing the gap on the leaders and moved into second place behind Morrison, with Nikki Bartlett in third place at the end of the bike leg.
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After overcoming a recent Achilles injury Gossage was keen to test her race legs, and eventually caught Morrison, pulling away to win by 2:26 in a total time of 4:33:21. Morrison held on for 2nd with 4:35:47 overall from the fast-finishing Bartlett who came home in 4:37:31.