Take a beautiful September day, 1850 Ironmen & women competitors and a large community of enthusiastic supporters and you have a recipe for a memorable day of endurance racing.
A beautiful dawn greeted the Ironman competitors and spectators who gathered at Tenby’s North Beach.
Over 1850 competitors crossed the start line at the Ironman Wales, diving into the waters of Tenby’s North beach as thousands and thousands of loyal supporters lined the headland and beachside to cheer them on.
Sea conditions were far from ideal with a big swell. The pro athletes are first out of the water and with the 2.4m swim under their belt, they leave the beach and head across Tenby to transition to the 112m bike ride. Official figures announce 1750 competitors make it from the swim through to the bike transition.
Carew Inn, like many pubs, cafes and private houses along the route joined in the event with music, breakfast and supporters lining the road to cheer on family, friends and strangers as the passed though the village at 20mph.
Tenby, Pembroke, Narberth and Saundersfoot rang to the sound of cowbells and cheers as people stepped out onto the street to cheer on cyclists.
Robert from Bolton said Saundersfoot was the highlight of his Ironman “Turning that corner and hearing crowds of people, five men deep, was incredible. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to being in the Tour de France!”
Transition to the marathon in Tenby and the largest crowd yet was there to witness and support the 26.3m marathon stage of the course.
Matt Trautman (RSA) wins the 2014 Ironman Wales title and the finish line the rollcall starts, as the he crosses the finish line in 09:07:28.
First woman home is Amy Forshaw (GBR), crossing the line in 10:57:26.
Oncoming nightfall saw competitors dig deep into their reserves to make their final laps. Elation on the faces of the Ironmen and women who have turned their last corner, down the finishing straight of Tenby Esplanade.
Spectators and supporters lining the streets of Tenby long into the night to cheer on marathon runners on one, two, three, four laps of route from Tenby to New Hedges. Runners had bands on their arm for each lap and the coveted pink band meant your next run through Tenby would be your last.
Long into the night the only sound from Tenby Esplanade was the rollcall of names of men and women as each competitor crossed the line and was told “You are an Ironman!”
On Monday morning Ironwoman, Claire Stubbs, was already at the Ironman camp in Carew signing up for 2015 Ironman – will you be joining her on the start line?
By Monday afternoon the only remnants of the event were signs of encouragement parked in hedgerows lining the cycle route. I think this picture says it all – Ironmen and women “You are an Inspiration!”