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Interview: Ironman UK 2012 Champion Eimear Mullan
Next in the series of Ironman UK interviews is the ladies champion, Eimear Mullan. Her win writes her into the history books as the first ever Irish winner of an Ironman race!
Going in, Mullan was a clear favourite, although the American fish, Amanda Stevens, was going to put serious time into her on the swim.
What developed was a fantastic and exciting race that Mullan took on the run leg, finishing in a time of 10:08:44. I caught up with Eimear to find out how the race went from her point of view and whether it had all sunk in yet.
Hi Eimear – you did it! Congratulations on winning Ironman UK. How do you feel?
It feels amazing to be Ironman UK Champion! I couldn’t’t believe it and its something that I really wanted. When I was planning my season I thought how great it would be to win the 70.3 and Ironman UK titles. I wondered if it was a goal that might have been out of reach. I literally dreamt that it would happen but I’m not sure I really believed that it would.
With respect, it wasn’t the strongest of starting line-ups on paper and you were the favourite pre-race. How did this affect your preperations and your expectations of the race? And also, what impact did Amanda Stevens participation have on your race strategy given your respectuve strengths and weaknesses?
When I saw Amanda Stevens name on the start list I was quite happy. I knew that it would help to motivate me and to keep me going because I knew I would be chasing for a long long time.
Given my inexperience at Ironman I wasn’t’t really sure if I would ever catch her but a friend had said to me if she is within 15mins when you get of the bike you can do it!
I’ll admit that when I realised that Amanda was pulling away on the bike I had a miniature panic and went pretty hard for quite a while. I then totally died and was just wishing that the bike would end, at that point I had started to think I was racing for second until I heard a shout of ‘12 minutes’ which made me think I could do it!
Honestly I didn’t count myself as a favourite though I knew that if I had a good race I could be up there. As I prepared for the race I really felt like I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and that I would basically just be getting out there to see what would happen.
It was a historic day for Irish triathlon as the result marked you down as the first ever Irish winner of an Ironman race. Do you feel you have set a benchmark for your colleagues and Irish triathletes as a whole?
Making history as Ireland’s first Ironman Champion hadn’t even crossed my mind before the race so when I found out it was an extra bonus. Triathlon in Ireland is really growing and I think that the long distance races are becoming more and more popular. As for inspiring others, I really hope so, it would be great to think that I could help motivate others to take up the challenge.
Right now I am trying to plan the rest of my season. I have a few different ideas but it seems to change every 5 minutes so for now my next race will be Galway 70.3 and I will keep you posted on what the plan is after that!
(picture credited to James Mitchell Photography)