Bex Rimmington conquered a brutal course and even a close encounter with a jellyfish to complete one of sport’s toughest challenges on Saturday.
The Melton sportswoman was part of a global four-strong amateur squad chosen to represent the California-based ZwiftTri Academy at the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii.
She suffered jellyfish stings during the 2.4-mile swim in the Pacific Ocean, and then battled fierce winds during the 112-mile cycle leg before completing only her second-ever marathon.
It was only Bex’s second stab at the ultra-endurance challenge after her appearance at the UK Ironman Championships in July when she qualified for the global event by winning her 35-39 age category.
She crossed the line just outside the top half overall, finishing 1,234th out of 2,307 in a total time of 10hr 47min 36secs.
The performance also left her 191st female finisher out of 638, and 34th in the women’s 35-39 age group.
But the fiercely competitive athlete was disappointed with the result and left physically and mentally drained by the event.
“I came here to race well and unfortunately that didn’t happen,” she said.
“I have tried to put some perspective on it that 12 weeks ago I completed my first Ironman and, along with that, my first marathon.
“But maybe asking my body to do it again quite so soon was a big ask.”
Despite the jellyfish, the opening leg went well for the former European age group triathlon champion, completing the swim in 56min 58secs to lie second in her age category and 231st overall.
She averaged 21mph for the 112 miles on the bike to sit 12th in her age group and 83rd entering the marathon stage.
Having not run competitively since the end of her triathlon days in 2005, the marathon was always likely to be the toughest discipline for the 35-year-old.
Adding heat and humidity into the mix, the marathon did the damage as she clocked just outside of four-and-a-half hours, 37 minutes slower than her UK championship time.
Yet despite tears at the finish, her enthusiasm for the event remained undimmed.
She added: “Do I want to come back? Absolutely!
“I want to thank everyone back home for all the messages of support and for following the race, it really does mean the world.
“And also a massive thank-you to ZwiftTri for the opportunity to be a part of the Academy and all the support out on the course.”