Gruelling triathlon prompted marriage proposal

PUBLISHED: 15:39 18 July 2007 | UPDATED: 12:39 04 May 2010

Ian Green crosses the finishing line

Ian Green crosses the finishing line

IAN Green celebrated becoming the first Ely Runner to complete one of the world s toughest triathlons by immediately proposing to his girlfriend. Ian, 37, from Littleport, popped the question to Sharon Halls, 34, just 24 hours after completing the gruelli

IAN Green celebrated becoming the first Ely Runner to complete one of the world's toughest triathlons by immediately proposing to his girlfriend.

Ian, 37, from Littleport, popped the question to Sharon Halls, 34, just 24 hours after completing the gruelling Ironman Austria event in Klagenfurt last week.

The event attracted more than 2,000 of the world's best triathletes and comprised a 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a marathon run in the beautiful setting of the Austrian Alps.

The race began at 7am and Ian admitted that he was under pressure as he joined the other competitors on the lake shore.

He said: "I have never felt quite as nervous as I did when I lined up with nearly 2,500 other people at the start of the race.

"The swim was chaotic with people swimming over each other, grabbing ankles and elbows flying but I completed the swim in a reasonable time."

Ian reached the first changeover point in 1:18.38, which placed him 1,592th. He said: "I felt good after the swim and was looking forward to the bike ride.

"The early overcast conditions gave way to bright sunshine and by the time I had started the second loop of the course, the heat was starting to take its toll."

Each 90km loop was proving to be punishing for the competitors as Ian explains: "I think the course was more challenging than a lot of people were expecting and there were two major climbs on each loop."

However, things got worse for Ian when he suffered a puncture and was forced into trackside repairs.

Ian said: "It cost me quite a bit of time and when I reached the final climb of the day I started to feel the effects of the race in my legs and I knew that the run was going to be a real challenge.

"As I reached the changeover point I managed to exchange a few words with another guy who was competing in his first Ironman event and we both wondered what on earth we were doing."

The marathon proved to be just as punishing as Ian had predicted. He said: "To say I hit a wall when I began the run would be an understatement.

"All I could do was feel the pain in my legs, my heart rate rising and my breathing becoming shallow and harsh.

"My heart rate rose every time I ran but I was determined to finish and so I walked as quickly as I could and pushed on to the finish."

But the pain turned into elation when Ian crossed the finish line in 1,851st place and in a time of 14:20.04. He said: "To say finishing the race is a dream come true is not doing it justice.

"To approach the finish with people cheering you on is an amazing feeling and it felt like I was winning an Olympic gold medal."

Having completed the race, many people would vow never to do it again but Ian is different.

He said: "I have already signed up to compete in Ironman France next year. If anyone is thinking of giving one of these events I would say do it."

And there was also relief for Ian when Sharon, also from Littleport, said 'yes' to his marriage proposal. He said: "I waited 24 hours just to make sure that I was still sane. I don't think she was expecting it but having bought a ring, I was relieved she said yes.

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