Triathletes brave the heat to take part in gruelling Ely event

MORE than 300 triathletes braved searing temperatures in Ely on Sunday to take part in the second annual Monster Middle race.

Widely known as a half-Ironman distance, the event tasked competitors with taking on a 1�-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13-mile run, all while the mercury rocketed up to 30 degrees.

The event started with Ely Riverboat Cruises leading the swim, with Matthew Smart from sponsors Eastern Counties Finance on board. The swim leg took in the picturesque route from the bottom of Pocket Park along past the Cutter pub to the Amherst Field.

Athletes benefitted from the fast bike and run routes and many achieved personal best times. Event winner in a time of 3hrs 59mins 41secs was Joe Skipper (Man Tri); female winner was Louise Collins (TFN Tri Club) in a time of 4hrs 29mins.

Many Ely Tri Club members also took part with some outstanding results achieved.

Out of a field of more than 300 athletes, Peter Foody came home in 10th place overall, winning his age group category in 4hrs 30mins 58secs putting him well and truly up there with the elite athletes.

Gary Wilberforce was 23rd overall in 4hrs 46mins 56secs; Dave Mansell finished in 52nd place in an impressive 5hrs 03mins 30secs; John McAndrew was 66th overall in 5hrs 12mins 20secs; Brian Emerson overcame a running injury to finish in 5hrs 22mins 10secs in 78th place; Chris Fulford was 110th overall in a PB of 5hrs 33mins 29secs; Carl Ward made his debut at this distance completing his first ever triathlon in 6hrs 13mins 05secs, crossing the finish line in 173rd place. Sandie Jardine, after stopping to help for a fellow competitor who later was taken to hospital, finished to a hero’s welcome in 8hrs 20mins 25secs.

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A spokesperson for Monster Racing said: “We have received extremely good feedback from competitors and supporters.

“We hope yesterday’s event has firmly placed us high up on the middle distance triathlon event calendar, for its organisation, it’s fast PB course and it’s beautiful setting.”

Monster Racing will be staging a duathlon day early next year as well as their Monster Middle again next year, scheduled for August 18.