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Sun 19th Sep 2021
Gomez, Gossage take 70.3 Staffordshire
Posted by: Press Releases
Posted on: Sunday 14th June 2015

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Today’s inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire started at Chasewater with the blue skies and sunshine hinting at more to come. Despite the cool conditions at the start, the atmosphere and energy between the athletes and crowds was electric.

As the pro field took the plunge at 7am to commence the day’s racing, it was Australian Nick Kastelein who quickly set the tone amongst the compact but talented men’s field, exiting the 1.2 mile swim in a swift 23m33s, with Javier Gomez and Will Clarke amongst the following pack.

Kastelein punctured, enabling Gomez to take over the lead with Romain Guillaume (FRA) not far behind, but the early big move on the bike was from Markus Thomschke (GER), who despite not being out of the water in the top ten, quickly moved into 5th place.

Markus set the fastest bike split of the day, covering 56 miles in a mere 2h14m43s on a challenging course, which saw him dismount first at the historic Shugborough Estate and set off on the run with a 2m41s lead over the chase group of Guillaume and Gomez.

Will Clarke dismounted in 4th place leaving himself a lot of work to do on the half marathon if he was to podium. Surely playing on Will’s mind was the two weeks of recovery after his first ever IRONMAN in Lanzarote.

Thomschke managed to hold his strong pace, which guaranteed him a podium place, but it was not a match for the leg speed of Olympic silver medallist and reigning IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Javier Gomez who passed him about 3 miles into the run. Gomez never looked back, cruising across the finish line with a 1h13m half marathon to finish in a superb 4h2m13s, much to the delight of the crowds, many of whom being local to Staffordshire, were lucky enough to witness the spectacle of an IRONMAN 70.3 finish for the first time.

The gap between 2nd and 3rd stayed constant, with Markus holding off Guillaume right to the finish line, finishing in 4h07m33s and 4h09m07s respectively. Exhausted local hero Will Clarke managed to hang on for a commendable 4th place, finish with the screaming crowds bringing a smile to his face.

On his win Gomez said: “The crowds were great – it makes such a difference to have the support and I love this kind of race. The bike course really suits me. I prefer smaller roads and hills rather than a fast flat motorway.”

The women’s pro field was GBR dominant suggesting a very high chance of an all British podium.

Recent full time pro Georgie Rutherford led the field out of the water and in doing so established a bit of a lead over the second group which included Jacqui Slack (GBR), Sam Warriner (NZL), and Eva Wutti (AUT).

Other UK podium hopefuls were Susie Cheetham and Lucy Gossage who exited the water between 90 seconds and 2 minutes after Rutherford, giving them a lot of work to do on the bike. Gossage quickly made up on her deficit and was working well with Eva to build a substantial lead 25 miles into the bike.

However disaster struck, first for Eva with a puncture that was irreparable and likewise slowed down the fast charging Suzi Cheetham, though fortunately without disaster, as she was able to repair it before returning to racing.

Lucy managed to capitalise on her lead, starting the run with a 9m30s gap over Rutherford and a further 12m12s cushion on known runner Cheetham. With Lucy running without any pressure she could run her own race, but the real race shifted to the balance of the finish positions. The big winners were Susie Cheetham and Sam Warriner who both produced strong runs to claim 2nd and 3rd place respectively behind the ecstatic Lucy Gossage, once again giving that trademark smile as she crossed the line first in a time of 4h31m09s.

On her win Lucy said, “I’m so pleased. I’m really really pleased. The crowds and support were amazing. To have all these people here that I started racing with as an age grouper really spurs me on. The bike course was pretty hilly but the run was absolutely stunning.”

Amongst the thousands of age group athletes, 58% of which were taking part for the first time in an IRONMAN 70.3, was celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his wife Tana, competing together as part of their GR100 fundraising team.

Gordon started the day with a solid swim and backed it up with a commendable 3h01m bike split. He managed to hold a steady run on a challenging course to just break the 2hr half marathon mark finishing in a time of 5h53m49s. It was obvious from his smile that he enjoyed the massive support he got from the thousands lining the red carpet at this inaugural event.

“The support has been amazing.” Ramsay said, “all credit to the local volunteers and an amazing turnout. I stopped for some amazing carrot cake. I’m very pleased to have broken my PB by 15 minutes, which was 6h37m at IRONMAN 70.3 Vegas. It’s stunning country side but there were too many lovely looking BBQ’s and pubs on the route - what a great day.”

As he greeted Tana into his arms as she crossed the finish line Gordon said: “The training has definitely paid off. To do a 70.3 for your first tri is really incredible. Tana’s been so focused and determined. She’s run 9 marathons but this is brilliant – I’m so proud.”

A beaming Tana on the finish line enthused: “That was incredible! I can’t believe I actually enjoyed it! I’m so happy to have completed it. Racing and training over 3 different disciplines breaks it up and I have to admit I enjoyed it a lot more than a marathon. I had to overcome swimming in open water but I absolutely loved it and am so pleased to have broken 7 hours.”

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy, said: “We were thrilled to be the host of the first ever IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire and the inaugural completion certainly didn’t disappoint. What a truly fantastic weekend.

The event was huge opportunity to showcase to people what a great county Staffordshire is and I am sure that IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire will be a firm feature on our tourism calendar for years to come. Thanks to everyone who has made the inaugural competition such a huge success… and roll on Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire 2016.”

Kevin Stewart, Managing Director of UK & Ireland, commented “We’d like to thank Staffordshire County Council and our partners for enabling us to stage our first IRONMAN 70.3 in Staffordshire and to all the athletes, spectators and volunteers who play such a key role towards the event and very much look forward to building on the success of this for 2016.”

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