A day for the record books as Eimear Mullan from Portstewart in Northern Ireland wins Ironman UK, making her the first Irish triathlete to win an Ironman race. The talk all week has been of a quietly confident Mullan who could eclipse the previous greats from the 1990′s. A generation ago the late Anne Kearney was first over 40′s in the european Ironman championships and the great Gerard Hartmann got a top ten finish at the Ironman world championships, but no Irish triathlete has won an Ironman before today.
It’s probabely best captured on twitter by @michaelrossney, who tweeted “@the_e_m_u Congratulations on Ireland’s 1st IM WIN.Others may do it but nobody else can ever be the 1st!!Enjoy the glory!”
Full report thanks to Beyond Going Long
“In only her second outing at the distance, Mullan overcame a strong lead out from the American fish Amanda Stevens to take the win in a time of 10:08:44.
In truth, Mullan was the hot favourite and I expected the race to pan out this way, but that makes her achievement none the less and she should be incredibly proud of this performance. Read below for the race report.
This edition didn’t exactly boast the strongest of pro fields. Amanda Stevens is a crazy fast swimmer and decent enough biker but her run lets her down. Mullan was also the name to jump out and after winning Ironman 70.3 UK earlier in the year – was many commentators favourite for the win – not just partisan sites like this one!
If Stevens was to win, she would need a lead of at least 20 minutes on the run – such is the disparity in their respective strengths and weaknesses.
Stevens went into the water like a rocket and set the pace with the best of the men’s field. She swam alongside the likes of Wiltshire and Halksworth to finish her time in the water in 48:19. Mullan could do nothing about that – it’s an amazing swim leg in any race – and she posted a time of 1:03:19, giving Amanda the edge from the start. She had the time required, but could she hold on?
Now into the bike and there were 4 women making waves. Stevens wasn’t doing too bad and in the first three quarters, actually maintained the gap ahead of Mullan, who herself was pacing herself excellently. Ali Rowatt of Scotland was smashing the course and was going very well and then there was Rebecca Romero, racing as an age-grouper here, who was making her bike work for her.
The last 30 miles were revealing however, Mullan upped the pace and took minutes into Stevens. They went into T2 with ‘just’ 17 minutes separating them. Could Mullan close that gap? I thought she might but her bike leg was very fast and anything can happen 26.2 miles on the road. Ali Rowatt pulled out at T2. A real shame, but that was always the plan – she was racing injured.
Now that Rowatt had a DNF, Eimear was the proud owner of the fastes bike leg award – and on paper was the best runner. Stevens was going to have to do something special. This was to prove impossible. Mullan showed her class and speed by running Stevens down. The gap came tumbling until 20 miles in Eimear was in the lead for the first time and that was how it would stay. The two favourites finished in position and were joined on the podium by Annet Kamenz of Germany.
Congratulations to Eimear – who we will be hearing from later in the week“.
Ironman UK podium results