Bex Rimmington has the chance to exorcize personal demons after booking a return trip to the World Ironman Championships.
The Melton athlete claimed her place at September’s world championships in Hawaii after finishing first in her 35 to 39 age category, and first women’s amateur at the Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire.
And in a hectic seven days, the talented all-rounder followed up her half-Ironman win with two gold medals at the British Masters Swimming Championships.
While the latter event was entered just for fun, claiming a return to Kone ticked off one of her two big season’s objectives.
A highly creditable mid-pack finish at last year’s world championships, when she took on the full ironman distance, left unfinished business for Bex after she hit the wall in the final marathon leg.
“I want to give it a really good crack and do it properly this time with better results,” she said.
“Last year I had 12 weeks between qualifying and the championships to recover and go again, but I wasn’t quite fresh and ready.
“I’ve stepped down a distance this year because I want to get more speed work and arrive fresher.”
She added: “Everyone wants to podium, but in an ironman, if someone is better than you, that’s something you can’t control.
“I’m not sure the course really suits me as it’s a mountainous bike course which plays into the hands of the smaller athletes.
“But once I know the course a little more I can focus on my individual performance and set some realistic times.”
At Staffordshire, the former professional cyclist had another hefty handicap to deal with over the 56-mile bike leg after strong overnight winds blew her bike off its rack, damaging the brakes.
“I had to ride with the brake stuck on for the majority of the ride so it was good to still qualify despite that,” she added.
She arrived at the event bang in form, having missed out by a fraction on qualifying a few weeks before at the Outlaw Ironman.
In Nottingham she had led the amateur women’s field right the way through until the final 5km when she was caught by a blistering run from eventual winner Claire Weller.
It also denied Bex her other season’s objective of an elite licence which required her to be the first amateur home at the Outlaw, one of just three qualifying events.
After a serious few weeks of competition, it was time to kick back.
And for Bex, whose earliest serious sporting exploits came in the pool, that meant a weekend of competition at the British Masters Swimming Championships.
“It was a fairly laidback week after the half so my coach told me to go and have fun,” she said.
“The last time I had swum in a 50m pool was back in 2004 so it was nice to be back.
“I really got into it as the weekend went on and by the last 400m race I was having great fun.”
Entering every distance she could at her favoured freestyle stroke, the former Melton Swimming Club star, won the long-distance double of 400m and 800m, and took silver in the 200m.
Bex also finished fifth in the 100m and an agonising fourth over the 50m sprint.
She added: “As a youngster I was national finalist over 50m so I was trying really hard to get a medal in the 50, but I guess as a triathlete I’ve converted to the longer distances now.”