Gossage, McNamee win Ironman UK in tough conditions

Ironman UK

Over 2,000 athletes from around the globe took the plunge at 6am this morning in the inclement conditions for the 11th annual iconic IRONMAN UK, but it was 2013 Champion Lucy Gossage and maiden IRONMAN Champion David McNamee who crossed the finish line as winners of the IRONMAN UK 2015.

Despite the blustery winds and torrential downpours that descended on Pennington Flash for the 2.4 mile swim, it wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of the thousands of hardy British supporters that turned out to cheer the athletes on, who revelled in the success of the new rolling swim start format.

The wind chill combined with horizontal deluges were perfectly suited for Scotland’s Fraser Cartmell and David McNamee in the men’s Pro field, taking advantage of the more familiar conditions to quickly establish a substantial and seemingly defendable lead. Whilst Denis Chevrot and Victor Del Corral were amongst the podium contenders, they proved unable to cling on to the Scottish duo over the 112 mile bike course that incorporated 5,000ft of climbing.

Cartmell decided to test the relatively novice IRONMAN bike legs of McNamee and managed to gain a 3.5 minute lead into T2. It was a lead he held until about the 6 mile mark knowing that McNamee is a strong runner over the half but unknown quantity over the full distance. McNamee continued to push through the 26.2 mile marathon run in 2:51:49, some 8 minutes faster than Fraser, to cross the finish line with his maiden IRONMAN title in a time of 08:46:37

A speechless David McNamee on the finish line commented: “I knew there was an outside chance to make the podium but to come out on top is fantastic. I lost a nutrition bottle and one of my aero bars so struggled at the back of the bike, however found my run legs! I didn’t even expect to be doing an IRONMAN last year – I’m struggling to put it into words how pleased and proud I am”

Fraser said: “Everyone dealt with conditions as best they could. I came to the race wanting to win, but to podium is still fantastic. It a small but really good field on a really testing course. I’m really pleased for David – he ran exceptionally well. I love this race, people always cheer for me – that’s brilliant and you don’t get in other races which is a big plus and I really appreciate it.”

Meanwhile for pre race favourite Joe Skipper, despite the stellar season so far, the day didn’t result in what he was hoping for, yet he struggled on through the field from the rear of the swim pack, to take 3rd place finishing in a time of 08:55:38.

An emotional Joe Skipper who had his heart set on winning said, “All I wanted was the win, but I just suffered all day – it was horrendous. I was outclassed today and I’m just really happy to have finished it and just sorry my friends and family who came here today couldn’t see me get this win I wanted so badly.”

The competition that Michelle Vesterby (DEN) was looking to pose to Gossage (GBR) and the other UK favourites didn’t materialise in the women’s pro race, due to taking a wrong turn on the bike course, leaving Gossage to produce one of the best bike and run splits of her career.

On her win an ecstatic Lucy Gossage said: I’ve never wanted something so much. This was my goal – I wanted it so much and I’m so pleased. It was really tough and so so cold. I caught the girls quickly on the bike and I felt amazing on the run – probably my best ever. The UK crowds and support can’t beat any other race. Kona is my next goal but for now just savouring every moment – this has been an amazing year and I’m really happy.”

Caroline Livesey (GBR) confirmed her status as a pro athlete backing up her 3rd in Lanzarote with a brilliant second place finishing in 10:05:21.

While Alice Hector produced an incredible run taking her into 3rd place in the Pro Field, finishing in a time of 10:18:46. She worked hard to beat the 1st age group female athlete Kate Comber to the podium who had a stunning race crossing the line in 10:15:32.

Age Group athletes aged 18 – 71 with a whole range of ability were tackling this ultimate challenge made tougher by the full range of conditions thrown at them throughout the day. Fortunately the rains ceased and sun shined intermittently throughout the afternoon with the crowds roaring them all the way up to the 17 hour cut off just after 11pm.

Greeting many of the athletes with their medals across the finish line, Councillor Carole Swarbrick said: “It has been an amazing weekend of sport in Bolton and such a positive partnership we have with IRONMAN. All the locals and businesses have been fantastic to get behind the event and welcome the athletes and their supporters.”

Kevin Stewart, Managing Director IRONMAN UK, commented: It’s certainly been a day of British weather for the athletes but that has not affected their commitment and also the support from the spectators who have still turned out in record numbers to see the biggest IRONMAN UK to date. We are delighted to see a new male champion and be once again inspired by Lucy Gossage’s enthusiasm and a finish line celebration, second to none.

Full results can be found here: http://eu.ironman.com/triathlon/coverage/athlete-tracker.aspx?race=uk&y=2015#axzz3gPs0UB7x

1 David McNamee 8:46:37 Lucy Gossage 9:31:58
2. Fraser Cartmell 8:51:06 Caroline Livesey 10:05:21
3. Joe Skipper 8:55:38 Kate Comber (AG) 10:15:32
4. Victor Del Corral Alice Hector
5. Denis Chevrot Eleanor Haresign
6. Brad Williams Rachel Hallam (AG)
7. Dan Cobby (AG) Yu-Shiao Li
8. Thomas Christiaens (AG) Jo Carritt
9. Simon Oliver Lucy Charles (AG)
10. Brian Fogarty (AG) Angela Hibbs (AG)

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