Chrissie's on top of the world
New World Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington admitted she was 'humbled' by her latest record-breaking success.The 32-year-old, from Feltwell, clinched a third consecutive world title in the gruelling endurance event at the championships in Kona, Hawaii.
New World Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington admitted she was 'humbled' by her latest record-breaking success.
The 32-year-old, from Feltwell, clinched a third consecutive world title in the gruelling endurance event at the championships in Kona, Hawaii.
Wellington covered the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon in eight hours, 54.02 minutes - breaking the 17-year course record of Zimbabwe's former eight-time champion Paula Newby-Fraser.
The ex-Downham High School pupil refused to accept she can now be lauded in the same bracket as the one-time 'Queen of Kona' despite underlining her status as the sport's dominant triathlete.
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“I never thought I'd come here and break Paula's record,” said Wellington, speaking from Hawaii. “She's a legend, I feel guilty to have taken it away. It's the hardest Ironman I've ever done, I had to dig really deep. This truly was the toughest day in sport.
“I am so honoured and proud to now hold the course record. I was determined to race with all the fire and passion inside me and I am delighted to be able to take home the title once again.”
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The former Thetford Dolphins junior swimmer finished an improbable 19 minutes ahead of Australian rival Mirinda Carfrae to completely obliterate a world-class field around the stunning course set in the shadow of Mount Hualalai.
“I had a really good swim, for me, and I think that set me up for the rest of the race,” said Wellington.
“I was really happy when I came out in 54 minutes. I knew that the bike was the ace I had to play and I knew that I had to bike really hard - the conditions were really hot and windy.
“There was a headwind going out and also coming back. We battled the wind over the last 40 kilometres and the first kilometre of the run was difficult for me and then I found my pace, but I struggled towards the end.
“It was only until the last five miles that I changed my watch over to cumulative race time and saw then I was on track for the course record, but those were the most difficult miles of the race for me. I do hope that my course record will be broken. Thatthe benchmark and shows that we can get faster.”
Wellington revealed she pushed herself to the very limit to achieve a new ground-breaking mark.
“I don't think I could have pulled too much more out of the bag, whether there was someone on my shoulder or not,” she said. “I knew that I had to swim and bike my heart out or people like Rinnie (Mirinda Carfrae) and Virginia (Berasategui) would be on my shoulder. No-one has greater expectations on their shoulders than those I put on mine. Those that others have for me don't add to that. I knew coming in that my training had been going well.
“I felt strong and I was ready to race. This year's race was the strongest and deepest field ever assembled. I feel very humbled to have my name as holding the course record. What I think it does show is the growth of this sport and for women in this sport. I couldn't have done what I'd done without knowing that the other women were chasing me down.”
Wellington remains unbeaten in the endurance triathlon event at world level but the Norfolk champion has not ruled out a tilt at triathlon Olympic gold in London 2012.
“Olympic distance triathlon requires a completely different skill set,” she said. “That's not to say I won't give 2012 a shot, either in triathlon or another sport, maybe bike racing. I've got three years, at the moment I want to concentrate on Ironman, but if we think that there's a chance I could make it on to a British team of course that's something I'd go for. The Olympics is the highlight of any professional athlete's career but my Hawaii victory means so much to me.”