Simone Mitchell smashed the course record at Nottingham’s Outlaw Triathlon and Joe Beech snatched victory in the final 600m of the long-distance race.
One thousand entrants faced ferocious wind and rain as they took on a 2.4mile swim, 112mile bike ride and a 26.2mile run around Nottinghamshire within 17 hours on Sunday 29 July.
Mitchell came to the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham as a clear favourite in the women’s race having finished second to Lucy Gossage at Ironman Lanzarote in May. It may well have been a ‘training race’, but Mitchell put on a classy performance from start to finish and took half an hour off the course record to finish in a personal best time of 9:15:44 and win £1500 prize money.
Having started with an aim of completing the course in around 9hours 30, she said: “It was really tough, it was windy, but it’s a great course, great atmosphere. I’ve actually done a lot of training this week. I wanted get some more race experience, so to come out with that is just amazing.”
Gill Fullen, the previous course record holder was in Nottingham and part of the crowd cheering Mitchell, who finished fourth overall, just three men were ahead of her. She now goes onto Kona hoping for Age Group success, and clearly has every opportunity to achieve professional success in the future.
Joe Beech ran a 2:55.42 marathon to work his way through the field on the run and eventually catch the leader, Gareth Hodgson with 600m to go. Beech was second at the Outlaw two years ago and roared with delight as he crossed the line in first place and a new personal best time of 8:54:14.
The Cowbridge, South Wales, native wore a Welsh running vest with pride as a nod to Geraint Thomas’ Tour de France victory. He said: “People were shouting me because of Geraint and the Welsh jersey.”
He added: “I was two minutes down with about 4km to go. With those sorts of gaps you just don’t think it’s possible. I had my mum and my dad and my wife shouting that I was closing, and I just didn’t believe them.”
Struggling at times, his mindset will resonate with everyone who finished: “No matter how bad you think it’s going, just keep going. If you’re having a bad time, you don’t know how bad the guy in front of you is doing.”
Hodgson was gutted to have lost the lead. The fellow Welshman finishing less than a minute behind Beech. Chris Cope, who has only ever competed in sprint distance triathlons previously, was shocked to hear he’d finished third after crossing the line with his two children.
Robbie Cooman brought his Havering Triathlon Club team over the line in first place in the Relay event. Like Beech, he also took the lead in the final metres of the race, overtaking S&J Haulage Ltd, but not realising what he’d done. He said: “I can’t believe it. Think I overtook the leader, where did we come?”
More history was made by Julian Swailes, the Outlaws first 70 plus finisher, who crossed the line with less than ten minutes to spare until the final race cut of time.
Six men started today’s race having completed every Outlaw since the event was launched in 2010. One fellow ultra-Outlaw decided not to start given the conditions and family commitments. All six that started did finish and now they look forward to the tenth anniversary event next year, acknowledging that Outlaw 2018 was the toughest to date.
Preregistration for 2019 is already open HERE.