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Sun 14th Aug 2022
Kona 2015: GB Age-Groupers excel
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Monday 12th October 2015

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Great Britain's Age-Group athletes excel at Ironman World Championships 2015

The Ironman World Championships. Kona. It's a truly epic weekend and an amazing race. And that's just if you were still up watching it at well past 5 a.m. in the U.K. and are still trying to recover from it! Let's just say this Editor's Sunday 'run' was even slower than normal after far too few hours sleep.

While Jan Frodeno and Daniela Ryf took the top honours, courtesy of classy performances which more than justified their pre-race favourite status, the Age-Group races behind them were as hotly contested as ever. The British and Irish teams were perhaps the largest we've ever seen in Kona - and quite possibly the most successful ever too.

It's not a cliche to say that for the majority of Age-Group athletes racing, simply qualifying for and making it to the start line on Dig Me Beach is victory enough - but for the best of the best, the lure of a World Championship podium in the most competitive race of the year is a fire that burns strongly. The goal of winning a hand-carved traditional Hawaiian bowl, the Umeke - the trophies given to the top five athletes in each Age-Group in Kona, is the ultimate award. It may look like (and be used!) as a fruit bowl, but for those in the know, it means a lot more.

©Paul Deen

Who stepped on to the stage to collect their Kona 2015 award on Sunday?

LUCY CHARLES - F18-24, 1st Place - 10:20:52

Lucy earned GB's only 'Gold', starting the day with a fanastic swim. Her 52:20 split was 2:44 faster than Pro women's leader Jodie Swallow from their wave, and was actually four seconds ahead of both Andreas Raelert and Timothy O'Donnell - the eventual Silver and Bronze medal winners in the Men's Pro race.

Proving she's no 'one trick pony', Lucy went on to win her category by almost 29 minutes, and with it added to her win at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Zell am See. What a sensational season.

ALISON ROWATT: F30-34, 2nd Place - 9:57:43

Another regular feature in reports like this - and also matching her Zell am See result at the 70.3 World's this year. The Team Freespeed member was the third fastest Age-Group athlete overall, finishing 6:33 back on her category winner Katrin Esefeld (GER). Her new Umeke will not be lonely either, as she was also second in the same Age-Group two years ago!

©Richard Melik

JANE HANSOM: F45-49, 2nd Place - 10:31:32

Another familiar name, and another British athlete who also made the Ironman 70.3 World Championship podium in August. Jane went one better in Kona though, adding an Ironman Silver to her 70.3 Bronze. The ERDINGER Alkoholfrei sponsored athlete and Black Line London member, this was only Jane's second Ironman start after winning her category at Ironman Switzerland to qualify. That also makes it a PB time too...

©Paul Deen

CAROLINE WHITTAKER: F50-54, 3rd Place - 11:16:40

A member of Hillingdon Triathletes and coached by Julian Nagi (who also coached Simone Dailey, GB's fastest female Age-Grouper in Kona last year), Caroline has had significant success over that Standard distance, winning two ETU Championships, an Aquathlon World Championship plus Silver medals at both ETU and ITU Champs in recent years. Like Jane, this was only her second Ironman having qualified by winning at Ironman Lanzarote in May. Caroline's preparations included extensive use of a cross-trainer/elliptical machine as a long-term knee injury severely restricted any run training. A 3:59:33 marathon after a solid swim and bike indicates that worked very well.

Caroline Whittaker

MAXINE MCKINNON: F55-59, 3rd Place - 11:52:33

Maxinne secured her Kona start by winner her category at Ironman Mallorca last year. The key to Maxine's day was a superb 3:41:40 marathon. 18th after the cycle, she moved up 15 places during the 26.2 mile run. Stunning.

LINDA ASHMORE: F65-69, 3rd Place - 15:11:48

What a great year for Linda. Winner at Ironman UK (15:19:32), winner at Ironman Wales (16:36:45) and now third place in Kona. Having won in Wales, she may well be back in Hawaii next year too.

REECE BARLCAY: M18-24, 5th Place - 9:50:07

It was quite a day for Reece, as he is engaged to Lucy Charles! A great swimmer himself (though almost a minute slower than Lucy...), Reece secured the final spot in the top five by just 23 seconds.

CHARLES PENNINGTON: M35-39, 2nd Place - 9:01:44

The fastest British Age-Group athlete of the day by some margin, Charles will go home both happy and yet very frustrated. We spoke to Charles earlier in the year after his incredible performance at Ironman Austria, where he told us "Yes, I want to podium. Austria was great and has given me a lot of confidence that I can peform well - but I recognise that Kona is a different prospect, but I do want to do well".

So why the (potential) frustration? After a fantastic 2:58:44 marathon, Charles closed on eventual winner, and also 2014 Champion, Daniel Stubleski (USA). Six and a half minutes back with ten miles to go, at the finish line on Alii Drive the difference was... six seconds. Like Alison Rowatt, Charles is a member of Team Freespeed, and that wasn't their final success of the day either.

©Richard Melik

RICHARD HOBSON, M50-54, 4th Place - 9:54:04

Known as 'Captain Quads' back in the day, the former Pro now runs Tri Living ( and Living France (, running Gite holidays, triathlon coaching and more alongside a busy family life. "I am ecstatic to have finished 4th and more ecstatic to have run down Alii Drive with 400m to go, my head held high, taking in the atmosphere." One of the original uberbikers, Jurgen Zack, finished less than a minute ahead of Richard in third place.

©Richard Melik

RAYMOND GRAY, M70-74, 3rd Place - 13:59:01

Raymond had Kona on his mind for more than year, qualifying at Ironman Wales 2014. Just six minutes separated 2nd / 3rd and 4th position in the M70-74 Age Group on Saturday.


Lucy Charles
Alison Rowatt
Jane Hansom
Charles Pennington
Caroline Whittaker
Maxine Mckinnon
Linda Ashmore
Raymond Gray
Richard Hobson
Reece Barclay

#GBKONA 2015 Coverage

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