Triathlon star shines in Spain

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TRIATHLON hit the headlines this week after brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee claimed Olympic gold and bronze mdeals.

But they are not the only Yorkshiremen making an impression on the international stage.

Bridlington lifeguard Ryan Hepworth travelled to Spain last weekend for the Long Distance Triathlon World Championships and finished fourth in his age group.

Hepworth, the inaugural Bridlington Free Press Sports Person of the Year, tackled a 4km open water swim, followed by a 120km bike ride and a 30km run.

An extra hurdle was the fact he was stepping up into the more competitive 25-to-29-year-olds age group, despite only being 24, due to an oddity of the rules.

He said: “At the start of the season, one of my main aims was to finish top 10 in my age group in this race, so I was overwhelmed to hear that my time placed me fourth in the world in the 25-29s.”

Hepworth headed to Vitoria Gasteiz in Spain just a day after returning from the Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Antwerp in Germany.

Describing it as his most important race of the season so far, he was representing Great Britain feeling back on form despite a slight setback in training.

He said: “The swim gave me my first experience of a beach start, and after a bit of confusion the day got underway.

“Although coming out the water with the main bunch, I was at first slightly disappointed with my swim time of one hour 57 seconds.

“However after speaking to many athletes post race, whose GPS devices showed the swim to be closer to 4.7km, I was happy to know I was swimming at my goal pace.

“The two-lap 120km bike course around the Ullibarri-Gamboa lake was probably the most scenic place I have ever raced.

“The route was undulating, and after consciously having to stop myself looking around at the scenery, I was more than happy with my split of three hours, six minutes and two seconds, averaging around 23.5mph.

“The 30km run consisted of four 7.5km laps around the city centre.

“I was hoping this would make pacing easy, and aimed to maintain each 7.5km lap as close to 30 minutes as I could.

“After being told I was in fourth position in my age group coming off the bike, I was keen to try and chase down the leading athletes.

“My first two laps were within 30 seconds of my 30-minute target time, however as hard as I pushed, I struggled to maintain this for the final two laps.

“My eventual run split of two hours six minutes, gave me a finish time of six hours 17 minutes and 13 seconds.”

The next big race for Hepworth is the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas in just under six weeks time.

He competed in last year’s event in Hawaii and finished 13th in the 18-24 age group.