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Crowds praised for Ironman support

1-DSC_0163-001_2_tonemappedTHE 2013 Ironman has been described as a wonderful day by the County Council’s cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, Elwyn Morse.
Councillor Morse was full of praise for the event and said: “The only problem now is we have to wait 12 months for the next one.”
This was the third straight year that Pembrokeshire has hosted the event and although the weather wasn’t great, crowds lined the course to cheer on the athletes.
He went on: “The people of Pembrokeshire have taken Ironman Wales to their heart. They turned out in their legions to support the wonderful competitors.”
The men’s event was won by Scotsman; Scott Neyedli who completed the gruelling course in a time of nine hours, nine minutes and ten seconds completing a 2.5 mile swim, a 112-mile cycle and a full marathon.
The first lady to cross the finish line at Tenby’s Esplanade was Lucy Gossage, who beat last year’s winner Regula Rohrbach of Switzerland by 25 minutes.
This win is Lucy’s second in Ironman competitions after the Brit also won the Ironman UK event in August. The winning lady was gushing in her praise for the spectators. She described it as amazing. She said that she had never seen such wonderful support for an Ironman event before.
Although the event was staged in Tenby, the course was spread across Pembrokeshire and athletes had to navigate their way through Narberth, Saundersfoot and Pembroke.
The athletes set off from the shore at Tenby before making their way through the town to collect their bikes at the Rectory car park.
The ride took them through south Pembrokeshire, including an exhausting climb up Saundersfoot’s St Brides Hill.
Those who managed to survive the opening two stages then had to pick themselves up for four laps around Tenby for the 26-mile run.
Just as the athletes entered the water the rain poured down, it stopped for a brief moment only to start again during the bike race.
Heavy overnight rain made the town’s roads wet and slippery making conditions tough for the cycling leg of the race.
It is one of the toughest events to win and tests the endurance of those involved. Athletes will push themselves to the edge just to get over the finish line.
A 1675 strong field took part in the event, over 40 countries were represented and there were even 90 athletes from Pembrokeshire.
Those who finished the course can take great pride in their efforts having swum, cycled and run for most of the day.
It is estimated that the total spend for Ironman Wales in Pembrokeshire is just over £4 million.
Shops and businesses were booming as crowds flocked from all over the world to cheer on the athletes.
Councillor Morse added: “One hotelier I spoke to was taking bookings three months ahead of the event by competitors coming to train on the course and he could have sold out his establishment three times over during the actual weekend.”
For some, training will have already started for next year and the crowds will once again be looking forward to the event.
With the benefits that Ironman 2013 has brought to the county, it is likely that we will see the event return to Pembrokeshire in 2014.